Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ben Lange: "Restoring the Generational Compact"

Ben Lange, candidate for U.S. Congress (IA-01), recently had an op-ed piece at the Iowa Republican titled "Why I'm Running: Restoring the Generational Compact."  In it Lange, who seeks to unseat liberal Democrat Bruce "Clunkers" Braley, was definitely speaking my language.  He quoted extensively from the founding fathers and kept hammering away at fiscal issues.

Far from just quoting dry econ-class statistics, Lange makes them personal in a way that hits home with those of us who are parents.

"[T]he current generation of political leadership has permitted and tolerated our national debt to skyrocket to more than $15.5 trillion, one-third of which is held by foreign governments whose national interests are not our own.

"Politicians now borrow 40% of every dollar spent by the federal government on the backs of my three little girls – ages 1, 3, and 5 – indebting them to the tune of $150,000 before they can even ride a bike.

"We are witnessing one of the most profound moral failures and social injustices in American history – perpetrated not by one race against another race, nor by one class against another class, but by one generation against the next.

"The current generation of political leadership, guided by vision that extends no further than their snouts and marked by a grade of cowardice foreign to the American experience, has all but declared war on the next generation.

"In this war, however, the invaders face no resistance from a population who cannot yet know and cannot yet speak of the atrocities being committed.

"Who will be their voice for justice? Who will speak truth to power?"

Of course it is politics, so Lange pointed out some of the "highlights" of Bruce Braley's record in congress:
  • Voted for trillion dollar deficits that have nearly doubled our national debt.
  • Voted to increase the national debt limit seven times without cuts.
  • Voted against a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
  • Voted to bailout big corporations on the backs of the working class.
  • Voted for a de facto government takeover of health care.
  • Voted against free trade agreements to increase domestic exports.
  • Voted against energy exploration to increase supply and lower gas prices.
  • Voted for cap-and-trade to impose unnecessary costs on small businesses.
Finally, Lange touched on some "common sense solutions" that he believed were required:
  1. "A balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution that requires Congress to limit projected expenses to projected revenue, with reasonable exceptions.
  2. "Restructuring federal entitlement programs that are fiscally unsustainable for the benefit of future generations.
  3. "Replacing Obamacare with a patient-centered model that addresses rising health care costs by reducing market distortions and providing greater transparency, competition, and choice for patients."
I liked his op-ed enough that I perused his campaign website.  According to it, "Ben Lange’s political philosophy is derived from the founding documents of the United States, among them the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States, and the Federalist Papers."  I like the sound of that.

It also says that his top priorities are: 1."Restoring the Generational Compact: Solving our nation’s debt crisis" 2."Rebuilding the American Enterprise: Growing and streamlining the U.S. economy" 3."Reviving Humility in Governance: Refocusing government and repealing Obamacare" and 4. "Reclaiming Public Education: Empowering parents and expanding school choice."  No mention of Bush-era Republican staples like expanding the war on terror or a federal marriage amendment.

In 2010 Bruce Braley beat Lange by only two measly percentage points (which was about the amount that the Libertarian Party candidate got).  If Lange can stick to a message of cutting government (and really sound like he means it) and steers clear of derisive social issues he may be able to pick up enough libertarian-leaning voters and Tea Party-type independents to topple Braley in the general election.  But he has to get his party's nomination first and competition may be fierce.

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