Darrell Issa: Here’s the difference between Republicans and Democrats
One of the reasons why I’m a Republican and not a Democrat is because in the Republican Party we don’t believe that a person’s past defines his or her future.
We don’t believe that the condition and circumstance you were born into is a permanent one, and we don’t believe a big, centralized government should dictate your destiny.
My story began in Cleveland, Ohio, in a family of that didn’t have much – but, like so many, believed in the American ideal.
I grew up in a working-class family, the grandson of a Lebanese immigrant who ran errands for a rabbi and a kosher butcher. It was an upbringing really not much different than the condition of so many hardworking Americans today – people who, quite frankly, could care less if you have an “R” or a “D” next to your name. They just want a better way of life – a chance to realize their own dreams.
I left high school in my senior year to join the Army. I was a private who earned his G.E.D. and went to college on an ROTC scholarship and left the Army as a captain. Out of the Army and back in Cleveland, I invested everything I had and took a chance. I worked hard, eventually moved my small business to California, and with help of a lot great employees grew a little company into the leading maker of auto security and convenience products.
As a young business owner, it was the first President Bush who drew my attention and ire to government with a broken promise and an ill-considered tax hike. President Clinton’s tax hike just a few years later was a bad second act, and his class warfare rhetoric was worse.
It was time to get involved.
Just as we’d achieved success in our business, after a decade of determination and toil, job creators were being vilified in the media and targeted for a new punitive tax scheme – to fund a president’s personal agenda.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? They never seem to run out of ideas on how they want to spend your money.
And that’s the biggest difference between Democrats and Republicans – we have a fundamental difference on what the proper role of government should be.
What we need in America is a fundamental rebalancing of power back to the states, back to local governments, back to the people.
The only way to make government work better is to restore genuine accountability. That is the role I have played in Congress as chairman of the House Oversight Committee over the last few years.
While President Obama has been an egregious offender of executive over-reach, this is an ailment that is chronic throughout the entire history of our government.
Every president jealously guards and gathers power.
Executive power may be the most efficient when it is dictatorial, but our nation was founded on the principle of avoiding dictatorial power – today’s reality is that countless unnamed and unknown bureaucrats yield tremendous power over people’s lives.
The separate branches of government were established to resist the growth of power of the executive with the idea that most governance would flow from the states – that the exercise of democracy at its best would be found in small towns and cities – with only limited responsibilities given to the federal government.
There was a belief that government closest to the people would be the most responsive – that belief still holds.
Yet, as time has gone by, more power has been taken from those closest to the people. And it is my belief that as this continues to happen, as Washington continues to grow more powerful, liberty has suffered the most.
With every new regulation and executive order, we lose a little more liberty, our right to make our own decisions and to make mistakes.
The preservation of our liberty today relies on resisting the expansion of government.
That’s why it is for the Republican Party to stand with Americans to check the growth of executive power and the growth of government.
Democrats will tell you we need to devote more resources and more dollars toward government, but we all know differently. For the trillions of tax dollars spent every year on government-run programs, how well are they really working?
Has big government solved poverty?
Are things in America better?
Will opportunity in this country be the same for our children as it was for us?
It’s in that spirit that President Abraham Lincoln charged us with the responsibility of always being the Party of Liberty, saying, “Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as a heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors.”
(Republican Congressman Darrell Issa of California will be the keynote speaker for the Concord Republican City and Merrimack County committees’ annual Lincoln Day Dinner tomorrow.)