Republican ‘change’ merely a partisan ploy

Editorial Board

After being thoroughly manhandled in 2008, the Republican Party seems to be counting on a nationwide case of amnesia come Nov. 2.

This is, after all, the same Republican Party that promptly squandered the only budget surplus in the past 50 years. Not that they’ll ever own up to that — they’re too busy pointing fingers across the aisle and screaming hysterics about Obamacare.

Which, obviously, was the cause of the recession, right? Oh …

What about that stimulus that didn’t work? Hard-working Americans — is there ever any other kind? — are losing their jobs to illegals! Some people got to keep the mortgages they couldn’t afford, where’s our handout? Cut our taxes, we say! No more bailouts!

Two weeks ago, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduced a measure to permanently extend the Bush-era tax cuts, keeping money in the pockets of every “hard-working American.” After all, we can’t afford socialism shoved down our throats. Let the insurance companies deny coverage to sick people! Tax cuts save money, right?

Actually, no. With the tax cuts in place, the country comes up $3.9 trillion short — in the next 10 years. Add $950 billion in interest on the national debt, and the numbers get downright obscene. How obscene? If you add the cost of the stimulus package to the cost of Obama’s health care plan, you’re only a quarter of the way there.

But why would Republicans suggest such a thing if it’s so detrimental to the nation? So we can hear the words “tax cuts” during an election year?

You probably heard about the “Pledge to America” made by House Republicans last week. It’s a 21-page plan spelling out how they intend to govern, should they win back the majority of votes. Highlights include the aforementioned tax cuts, a federal hiring freeze, a reduction in government spending, repealing the Democrat health care law and a 20 percent tax deduction for small business.

If you’re inclined to think this plan was crafted to catch the wave Republicans think the tea party is riding through D.C., you’re probably right. In an attempt to distance themselves from the “Washington Elite,” they held their conference at a Virginia lumberyard, complete with rolled-up sleeves and missing ties, talking about new ideas and new leadership.

Most news organizations were quick to point out that this ruckus rang eerily similar to the 1994 “Contract for America.” How similar?

If you’d like some perspective, we’re linking the online version to a segment “The Daily Show” ran, where they point out some of the, um, similarities between the two ideas. The clips featuring House Minority Leader John Boehner — bay-nur, not … never mind — are particularly hilarious, or sad, depending on how you approach the situation.

We don’t encourage voting on party lines, but we’d really like to see Republicans come up with tactics that differ from the same spin and rhetoric. It’s hard to endorse folks obscuring facts and touting failed policy as “change.”

Speaking of change, we’re still fans of the president. Considering his current approval ratings, we’re of a mind to think people disapproving of the job he’s doing forgot which side of the aisle he inherited this mess from in the first place.

We know the Republicans sure hope so.