The Right Answers to the “Party of No” Accusation Against Republicans

Is the Republican Party these days just the “Party of No”? While many of us wish the erstwhile GOP majorities in Congress had lived by the equivalent of a fiscal and regulatory chastity pledge and just said NO in its spending heyday, that’s not quite what I’m getting at.

I’m referring to the knee-jerk retort one gets these days from certain quarters whenever justly denouncing the radical, government-expanding proposals coming from the Obama administration and Democratic leaders in Congress. It goes something like:

Well, yeah? Where’s your solution? You just want things the way they are. The Republicans are just the party of NO.

Next time you encounter that knee-jerk response, I have an article for you to bookmark to throw back in their face…. It’s today’s Human Events cover piece by Jed Babbin titled “The RIGHT Alternatives.”

Babbin does a good job chronicling alternative proposals brought forward by Republican officials — many formally introduced as legislation — in the areas of health care, energy, economic stimulus, federal spending, and business.

Are the ideas all perfectly unimpeachable? Of course not. But as a whole they are considerably better than the status quo and much better than the direction Obama, Pelosi, Reid and company are seeking to take us.

But, someone may object, why have I never heard of these proposals before? Perhaps because they are too chained to traditional media sources for information consumption. The old journalistic guard has little incentive to cover bills brought forward by the minority party that the majority will never let see the light of day — especially if those bills are introduced by principled Republicans and rooted in ideas of liberty, limited government, and fiscal sanity.

Three years ago, five years ago, even 10 years ago, I wish the GOP had been the chaste “Party of No”. Instead, on many issues they squandered their chances as the lazy “Party of No” by letting numerous opportunities go to advance commonsense, conservative, free market reforms.

Now the Democrats have worked to shift the deficit-growing, government-bloating agenda up a couple gears. The middle of America has grown uncomfortable, and often angry, at the way things are going. Should you support the Republicans to go in and clean house? Are they committed to promoting leaders who advance the sorts of ideas Babbin has highlighted?

If they can fully shed the lazy “Party of No” and embrace the chaste one, well, I’ll tell you that I’m much more likely to give them a chance.

But conservatives need to look beyond the short-term electoral victories of 2010 to the longer-term health of America and the meaning of conservatism. To that end, I commend to you the intense but important debates going on at The Next Right, led by:

Food for thought. Much digestion required.


  1. says

    I spent 10 years as a republican state legislator in NH and was proud to have the liberal press calling me “Senator NO!”

    I voted against every new tax that came up, against new and increased regulation on businesses and citizens, against increasing the size and scope of government and against increased spending.

    I also made sure that I had read every bill to come before us – often times irritating even my own caucus by standing to oppose a badly written bill at the last minute because I continued reading them until the vote was called.

    In those 10 years 1996 to 2006 the legislature turned back an income tax, general sales taxes, increased gambling (a tax on stupidity in my opinion) and managed to keep the lid on general state spending.

    When a vote is taken in the legislature there are only two choices (unless you consider the simply being “absent” voting). Once the question was put we could vote yes or no. There was no gray area – we could not abstain. We could not even leave the room. There was no hiding.

    Senator NO!

  2. says

    In this sense of the word NO, I heartily commend you for standing up on these important issues. If only we had more elected politicians of your stripe.

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