Tuesday, August 22, 2006

On Terrorism and Taxes

There is certainly no shortage of “surrender” Democrats running this year, including Ned Lamont in Connecticut, Jimmy Carter’s son in Nevada, and former Secretary of the Navy James Webb in Virginia. All of whom are running primarily on anti-war platforms. They have stands on the other issues, but it’s the noise they make about running and hiding from terrorists which drives their campaigns.

And it’s their stand against fighting terrorists which has garnered them the support of their party. I give you Ned Lamont over Joe Lieberman for example.

It’s safe to say that the isolationists and weak national security crowd are currently dominating their party, either by number or volume.

Each Democrat elected to Congress, whether they claim to be conservative, liberal, or none of the above, empowers this group which dominates their entire party; that loud contingent which simply won’t accept or can’t comprehend the threat we face from Islamic extremists.

By affiliation, Ben Nelson also empowers those who would have us cut, run, and hide from the very real threat of terrorism, whether he believes the same or not.

In an effort to retain his power while empowering that loud group of isolationist McGovernites he has clearly misrepresented at least one position of his opponent, Pete Ricketts.

Ben Nelson would have us believe that Pete Ricketts’ tax plan includes a 30% increase in the tax burden for 95% of us (including me). He is trying to establish the notion that Pete Ricketts wants to add a consumption tax to the federal income tax we already pay. This is absolutely not true.

Pete Ricketts, from day one, has run on a platform of lower taxes and less government. So, the characterization of Pete Ricketts as a tax increase guy is wrong from the start.

One of the problems we face today is our federal income tax system. Setting himself above the politicians who like to talk about things, but never come up with solutions, Pete suggested that all options with regard to fixing the tax situation be on the table and open for consideration and discussion. He knows, from experience, that if we have an open, honest discussion and debate all potential solutions to difficult problems, like the tax code, we stand a good chance of coming up with outstanding solutions to those problems.

One of the many options he simply listed for discussion only was getting rid of the federal income tax and replacing it with a consumption tax. This was only on the list of ideas up for discussion, not presented as his tax plan. He was not advocating the addition of a consumption tax on top of our already burdensome federal income tax. He was not advocating that we pay more for everything with the consumption tax (30% is the number Ben likes to use) and pay federal income tax as Senator Nelson would have us believe. It was only an option to consider and an “either/or” option, not an “and” option at that.

I know from personal experience, both in the military and civilian world that the best groups, when faced with difficult problems, have honest, open, sincere debates of integrity about those tough situations. They always start with a “brainstorming” type session to get all ideas on the table. The ideas aren’t debated; they’re simply put up for consideration. And then, after all ideas are on the table, each one is discussed. From that courteous, respectful debate on all the options, amazing solutions are delivered.

I’ve also served in units and worked for a company where the opposite was true. When the “brainstorming” started the attacks began. Each idea floated was immediately derided and shot down. In the end, the solution delivered was not the best one, it was simply the one submitted by the loudest man in the room. Each time it turned out to be a poor solution. Everyone suffered accordingly.

Ben Nelson’s approach to taxes, attacking and misrepresenting Pete Ricketts’ position which is a simple and honest assessment of all options for solving this tough problem is truly reminiscent of those poor experiences, unsuccessful units, and faltering company.

Not only is it unfortunate that Ben Nelson has clearly tried to misrepresent and mischaracterize his opponent’s position, but it also goes to the heart of how likely he is to solve the problems we face. Congress.org already has him listed as the 88th most effective Senator, meaning there are 87 who are more effective than he. This type of approach and attitude shows us why that may be.

If that’s the kind of problem solving we have in Ben Nelson, it’s time for a change to someone who is willing and able to look at all options to make our lives better, whether the subject be taxes, agriculture, or fighting terrorism.

Nebraska deserves better than 88th, someone willing to honestly assess all ideas, and who doesn’t empower those who won’t or can’t face the reality of terrorism.

Pete Ricketts provides us that option.

By slogan, Ben Nelson has tried to portray Pete Ricketts’ ideas as good for Pete, but bad for Nebraska. I’d say the best portrayal is “Pete Ricketts, good for Nebraska, bad for Ben Nelson.”

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