Sunday, July 15, 2007

Why I am a Republican, Part II

Second half from Pullen is up -

My fellow Arizonans, my fellow Americans, I believe our state and our nation stand today at a crossroads in history. The rhetoric in the media of recent years describes us as a politically divided nation, almost equal in number of Republicans and Democrats, with our party nominees (and in fact our parties themselves) competing for those few undecided voters remaining in the middle.

Today I reject that notion because two very important things have happened.

First, our next generation of Republican leadership from city halls to court houses to state houses to the White House has largely united in one voice behind our belief in both America and the American people. We have shown our faith in the American dream for all, and we are putting forth real, common-sense ideas on how to transform those dreams into reality.

Though our Democrat opponents and many of our liberal friends in the media often ballyhoo when Republicans disagree, this much is true: today’s Republican Party has refocused itself as the party of ideas and courage, and as the party of a bright future for Arizona and for America.

Here in Arizona, our leaders have said with unwavering resolve that it is no longer acceptable for our state’s brave veterans to suffer under a system of neglect and incompetence. We have not just exposed the wrongs of our government but are busy crafting solutions to protect our veterans and honor their past service.

Our Republican leaders have identified the failings of our state’s bureaucracy charged with protecting our most vulnerable children. We have confronted an unwieldy and defensive bureaucracy and demanded accountability and change – which now seems clear will come because of the resolve of our Republican lawmakers here in Arizona.

We have, and continue to, reach out to community leaders and business organizations to seek real-world ideas and innovative means with which to further spur Arizona’s economy to create new jobs, new opportunities and new futures for families in every county and corner of our state. We confront head-on the environmental challenges of water, effective land use, and responsible growth to protect the natural wonders of our state and the quality of life of our neighbors and friends.

And our Republican elected officials at the local and state level are leaders in education, seeking to transform our schools to places of true learning where the hopes and dreams of children may be nurtured. Arizona is a leader in education innovation with charter schools, performance testing, and tax credits; all Republican ideas. Each step we take for education reform promises a brighter future not just for our state, but for each individual child whom we are determined to serve as if he or she were our own.

Our Republican leaders today do these things not simply because of the jobs they have been elected to, or the oaths of office they have taken, but because of the tremendous dedication they have for the positions they have been elected to hold and the commitment they share to the people they serve. They are men and women with ideas working closely with doctors and teachers, parents and small businesspeople, senior citizens, veterans, families and individuals from every walk of life in a great partnership toward a stronger Arizona.

Second, I reject the equally divided notion put forth because of the direction taken by today’s Democrat Party. Special interests and 15-second sound bytes now take precedent over governing, where politics impedes progress at almost every turn for Democrats.

A recent Gallup Poll showed the Democrat majority in Congress has now driven public confidence in Congress to an all-time low of just 14-percent – lower than before Republicans wrested Congress from the Democrats in 1994 and lower than during the Watergate era. One would have to go back to the Continental Congress in 1780 to find a lower confidence level.

Today, the Democrats in Congress have no charismatic president to lead them off on quixotic journeys into misguided domestic policy. Today, they have achieved their 14-percent approval rating all by themselves. Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi proudly negotiates with state-sponsors of terrorism, placing in jeopardy not only Israel (our closest democratic ally in the region), but undermining nearly single handedly America’s diplomatic efforts in the Middle East in our crusade to stamp our terror. Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid routinely declares that America has lost it’s war against terror in Iraq, giving aid and comfort to the enemy while our brave men and women in uniform fight to protect a fledgling democracy from brutal Islamic fascists and keep their reach from extending to America’s shores once again.

The new Democrat Congress has already called for the largest tax hike in American history, has broken it’s promise on ending the secrecy behind the practice of spending billions of dollars on “earmarked” pork-barrel projects, is set to repeal the Bush tax cuts (that have spurred strong economic growth for six years), have broken their promise to address skyrocketing gas prices, and are set to introduce massive new tax hikes that will reduce investment and cost thousands upon thousands of jobs across America.

While Republicans have learned the lessons of mistakes made in the majority (and, mind you, there were many, many victories and achievements to be proud of, as well), Democrats have reaffirmed their allegiance to the Liberal Left. Not only in matters of Iraq and the war on terror, but in domestic and economic policy, as well. Those who bought and paid for their campaigns and election efforts in 2006 are being handsomely rewarded – only it isn’t the American people, it’s the liberal special interests, which will ultimately reap the benefits.

The Democrat leaders in Congress are banking their entire political fortunes on the defeat of their own nation, and the Democrat candidates for President have become pessimistic naysayers with poll-tested scripts and no original ideas. Republicans, on the other hand, continue to show why we are the party of ideas and principles. We offer better choices to a greater number of voters – a majority of whom we believe will find a home within our ranks.

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