My Turn: Democrats are the party of we, Republicans the party of me
Re “Here’s the difference between Republicans and Democrats” (U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, Sunday Monitor Forum, Feb. 16):
Whenever my nieces ask about my job or why I am a Democrat, I explain Democrats are the party of “we,” while Republicans are the party of “me.” There are few individuals who epitomize this stark contrast of values more than the Republican State Committee’s guest this week, Congressman Darrell Issa.
Issa is a member of the Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, where instead of working to give more Americans the opportunity to succeed, Republicans have spent the past three years voting nearly 50 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act – while pushing no alternative of their own.
These Tea Partiers have opposed equal pay for women and protections for LGBT Americans against workplace discrimination. They have threatened a disastrous default by compromising the full faith and credit of the United States, and they followed their party’s de facto leader, Sen. Ted Cruz, by voting – several times – to shut down the federal government.
If these themes sound familiar it is because our own New Hampshire Republican candidates, Frank Guinta, Marilinda Garcia, Dan Innis and Gary Lambert, have voiced many of the same out-of-touch positions themselves.
When I served in State House’s Democratic minority in the 1990s I worked with Republicans to raise the minimum wage, to fight for equal pay. We had bipartisan support for concrete initiatives to strengthen the middle class. Sadly these are values the New Hampshire GOP and its candidates no longer believe in.
Beyond real issues, Issa’s antics, like the shameful stunts from many of our local Tea Partiers over the past few years, have divided our country and hurt people’s faith in their government. As chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Issa has launched ideological witch hunt after ideological witch hunt, from Benghazi to the IRS, that focus more on attracting headlines than getting to the truth. When independent reports on both provided fact-based assessments of what actually happened, they were ignored – as Issa, Sen. Kelly Ayotte and others instead chose to double down on the paranoia and fear-mongering that keeps them on Sunday political talk shows and in Fox News headlines.
Ignore the hollow platitudes about accountability and government intrusion that will inevitably come from Issa this week. Today’s Republican Party has become the party dead set on pretending ethical scandals within their own ranks don’t exist while simultaneously trying to shrink government just small enough to fit it in our bedrooms.
What possible rationale could the chairman of the Oversight Committee offer for campaigning with disgraced former congressman Frank Guinta, who is still under investigation by the FEC?
So, Issa is welcome in New Hampshire anytime – but let’s be clear: Granite Staters know the difference between Democrats and Republicans.
Democrats – including our hardworking public servants here in New Hampshire – fight every day to expand opportunity for Granite Staters and folks across the country. From supporting a higher minimum wage and equal pay for women to expanding Medicaid coverage for our state’s most vulnerable, we are focused on the kitchen table issues that affect everyday Americans. Democrats are not pushing divisive social issues or ideological games that threaten responsible governance and the reputation of our country. They’re building consensus, representing their constituents, and helping solve our nation’s problems.
That’s the core of what we do as Democrats. We aim to make government more responsible to the people – focusing on their needs and hopes, not their fears and prejudices.
(Ray Buckley is chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party and a former state representative.)