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The silver lining

| Sunday, Nov. 12, 2006

That's it. I'm moving to Australia.

Australia?

Yep. If liberals move to Canada when Democrats get creamed by Republicans, then I'm moving to Australia.

Relax. What happened Tuesday could produce some good.

Good! What can be good about Democrats taking control of the House and the Senate?

Because Republicans, as a whole, deserved to lose. It's simple. They promised smaller government and less spending in 1994, yet they doubled the size of government in only 12 years.

You got me with that one.

Poll results featured in James Taranto's "Best of the Web" tell the story. The poll was conducted in 12 swing districts that were held by Republican congressmen. You sure you can handle the results?

Break it to me slowly.

Forty-two percent of voters said Democrats would cut taxes for the middle class. Only 29 percent said Republicans would.

You're joking!

Forty-seven percent said Democrats would be better at cutting the deficit vs. 22 percent who said Republicans would.

I'm feeling ill.

Thirty-eight percent said Democrats would keep government spending under control vs. 21 percent who said Republicans would.

How the heck could big-government, tax-and-spend Democrats ever attain a reputation for fiscal responsibility?

Because the cut-taxes-and-spend Republicans were even worse.

What are Republicans going to do now?

It's long been time to get back to the basics: ideas. When America is at its best, elections are not about Republican vs. Democrat. They are about good ideas and principles vs. bad ones.

Your point?

Good ideas aren't the province of any one party. The Democrats have had their share of good ones over the years -- civil rights was certainly one. In my humble opinion, the more effective ideas at the moment are within the Republican Party -- low taxes, welfare reform, strong national defense, health-care reform. They have to articulate them.

But if ideas are so important, how did so many Democrats win without saying what theirs were?

That tells you how disgusted people were with Republicans. Democrats didn't have to win. They just had to sit back and let Republicans get creamed.

But what the heck are Democrats going to do?

Hey, maybe we'll be surprised. There are too many things at stake for America and the world. Let's hope politicians from both sides step up as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans.

You're more hopeful than I am. What about those on the fringe left who are frothing at the mouth?

There are those. In this great country, most every sentiment, right or wrong, good or bad, finds its home in one party or the other. The Republicans have their own kooks to deal with, but the Democrats' fringe wing has been growing in strength and, via the Internet, has raised a lot of dough. But let's be hopeful.

I'm trying here, buddy.

Look, Republicans squandered 30 years of work by many people who dramatically changed the political and economic landscape for the better. Did Ronald Reagan fell communism through strength or did he not• Did Reagan's overhaul of our tax system lead to the unimaginable wealth over the last 24 years or did it not• Ideas matter. Let's hope this loss forces them to re-embrace good ideas.

If you say so.

In the meantime, now Democrats will control the flow of ideas -- the flow of bills coming out of Congress. They hold the floor and they get to see how the country responds. They are responsible now. They will have to engage now. Perhaps we'll be surprised by some of the results. Now, you're not still planning to flee to Australia, I hope.

No, mate. I'll stick around and debate ideas. But something tells me I'll be needing more than one Australian lager.

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