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Robert Bennett: What moderates have done for the U.S.

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  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 21, 2013 12:24 a.m.

    The Republican house has voted over 30+ times to repeal Healthcare reform.

    Filibustered any legislation or budget until literally HOURS before default.

    And offer zero alternatives.

    You want a Moderate? Then why would one vote for a Republican?

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    Jan. 21, 2013 6:59 a.m.

    Bill Clinton won because of Ross Perot. Reagan was no moderate. Hot or Cold get more done than moderates. All moderates do is alieanate there party base and few people know were they stand.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    Jan. 21, 2013 8:21 a.m.

    This article, once again, proves that Utah and the Utited States are much poorer because Utah's voters lacked the wisdom to re-elect Bennett (a rational and principled conservative) as its Senator and instead inflicted Mike Lee (a radical far right extremist . . . not a true conservative) on the country. Hopefully we will be more wise when Lee comes up for another vote, and send him packing by putting someone more like Bennett into office.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Jan. 21, 2013 8:31 a.m.

    Perhaps Mr. Bennett could remind us of the debate about the Interstate Highway system. Perhaps he could remind us how Ike pondered whether the Federal Government had the authority to undertake that project. Perhaps he could remind us that it was determined that the Interstate was built to facilitate military transportation during the cold war when Russia had the capability to destroy every airport in America.

    We sometimes look at "great projects" and then demand that the government undertake other great projects without regard to the authority used by Ike and other Presidents who loved and abided by the Constitution. He took his oath of office seriously.

    Perhaps Obama would learn much by studying Ike.

  • Wonder Provo, UT
    Jan. 21, 2013 8:33 a.m.

    Give me a moderate any (every) day and I will vote for them. We need more moderates. I am, at heart, an old fashioned Republican. I long for the days of Republican rationality. I think the Democratic party, right now, is closer to that ideal than the Republican party, so for now, I'm a Democrat.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Jan. 21, 2013 8:35 a.m.

    Thank you Senator Bennett. Good counsel.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Jan. 21, 2013 9:26 a.m.

    Re:higv

    The Democrats controlled the House 6 out of the 8 yrs Reagan was President.

    "Reagan signed off on Social Security reform legislation that, among other things, accelerated an increase in the payroll tax rate, required that higher-income beneficiaries pay income tax on part of their benefits, and required the self-employed to pay the full payroll tax rate, rather than just the portion normally paid by employees.

    The tax reform of 1986, meanwhile, wasn't designed to increase federal tax revenue. But that didn't mean that no one's taxes went up. Because the reform bill eliminated or reduced many tax breaks and shelters, high-income tax filers who previously paid little ended up with bigger tax bills.

    All told, the tax increases Reagan approved ended up canceling out much of the reduction in tax revenue that resulted from his 1981 legislation.

    Thanks in part to the increases in defense spending during his administration, Reagan also didn't really reduce the size of government. Annual spending averaged 22.4% of GDP on his watch, which is above today's 40-year average of 20.7%, and above the 20.8% average under Carter."
    (CNN money)

  • DougS Oakley, UT
    Jan. 21, 2013 10:26 a.m.

    If moderates deal in compromise, where is the democratic party compromising when it comes to spending and taxation? I think there may be a time for compromise, but not now...

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 21, 2013 10:30 a.m.

    Eisenhower would be considered a radical liberal Democrat by Republicans today. The top marginal tax rate was 91%, and he resisted numerous calls to lower it. Corporate taxes brought in 25% of federal revenue compared to 6% today. He thought that taxes had to bring in the a same amount of revenue as what was being spent, that was what fiscal conservatism meant to him.He said that anyone wanting to roll back the New Deal was "stupid".

    He resisted all calls to enter new wars, of which there were many. As soon as he ended the Korean War, not one single U.S. serviceman lost his life in combat. He actually tried hard to keep defense spending under control. He said future presidents who didn't have his military experience would get steamrolled by the Pentagon into buying all kinds of unneeded weapons systems.

    All these things and more would make Ike totally unelectable in today's Republican party. I always say I'm an Eisenhower Republican, and that sometimes makes me seem like a liberal Democrat in today's political climate.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 21, 2013 10:42 a.m.

    @Truthseeker: You are correct, spending under Reagan averaged 22.4% of GDP. The projection for federal spending this year is 22.9% of GDP. So the difference in spending between Reagan and Obama is 1/2 of 1 percent of GDP. Yet Republicans consider Reagan the champion of free market capitalism, while Obama is a socialist/communist/stalinist. Who know that 1/2 of one percent could be responsible for so much.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Jan. 21, 2013 11:28 a.m.

    Didn't Ezra Taft Benson believe Eisenhower was a closet communist even though he served as Eisenhower's secretary of agriculture?

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Jan. 21, 2013 11:33 a.m.

    @Mik.... unfrotunately 200 years of US history doesn't share your view on the Constitution. There is precedent after precedent that contradicts your point of view. No where in the constitution was the Louisiana purchase enumerated..... and yet it was done and was the foundation of this nations future growth and greatness. Much of the this countries agriculture was kept alive through the TVA which extended a life line to small town America. The railroads west were largely funded through land grants. Huge sections of the middle of this country were settled via the homestead act... again the authority of doing such never once enumerated in the constitution. The list goes on and on and on. Purchase of Alaska.

    So lets stop with the revisionist interpretation of the Constitution or US history.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    Jan. 21, 2013 11:58 a.m.

    To
    DougS 10:26 a.m. Jan. 21, 2013

    If moderates deal in compromise, where is the democratic party compromising when it comes to spending and taxation? I think there may be a time for compromise, but not now...

    -------------------------

    They tried -- remember their offer of a $10 cut in spending for every $1 of increased revenue. They tried but the far right Republicans refused to comprmise. Put the blame whre it belongs -- on the far right Republicans who would rather play party games than work for the benefit of the country.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 21, 2013 12:22 p.m.

    The Republican House has voted to pass the LEAST amount of legislation than any in American history.

    3%.

    Again, I ask, if I wanted a Moderate, why would I vote Republican?

  • RichardB Murray, UT
    Jan. 21, 2013 12:21 p.m.

    Eisenhower deported illegal aliens by the boat full (literally). I doubt the liberals would call him moderate. And Jane Wyman and Reagan were liberals. After his divorce, Nancy's family convinced him to become a Republican. Eisenhower had nothing to do with it. Twisting facts to arrive at your opinion, questions your motive, are you still mad at the tea party?

    A little more than half of the money going for hurricane Sandy made it to those people. The rest went to congressmens pet projects. With the shape this country is in, Obama should have stopped it. Instead it was the Republicans who tried, but gave in with people in need.

    In the past few days Reid and Obama have told us "my way or the highway". I think you are talking about the wrong party. Obama needs to compromise, something he seems incapable of doing.

  • RichardB Murray, UT
    Jan. 21, 2013 12:23 p.m.

    Eisenhower deported illegal aliens by the boat full (literally). I doubt the liberals would call him moderate. And Jane Wyman and Reagan were liberals. After his divorce, Nancy's family convinced him to become a Republican. Eisenhower had nothing to do with it. Twisting facts to arrive at your opinion, questions your motive, are you still mad at the tea party?

    A little more than half of the money going for hurricane Sandy made it to those people. The rest went to congressmens pet projects. With the shape this country is in, Obama should have stopped it. Instead it was the Republicans who tried, but gave in with people in need.

    In the past few days Reid and Obama have told us "my way or the highway". I think you are talking about the wrong party. Obama needs to compromise, something he seems incapable of doing.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 21, 2013 12:32 p.m.

    Obama should have stopped it.

    So, then are we acknowledging by omission, that Obama is the moderate?

    While some claim he is to extreme?

    You can claim one.

    But not both, at the same time.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Jan. 21, 2013 12:34 p.m.

    History is complicated so it's hard to put Eisenhower or Reagan or even Clinton in a box. It is safe to say all three are right of Obama, and left of W.

    Eisenhower warned of the military-industrial complex and opposed the dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan. But he lived in the real world and developed nuclear energy and fully engaged in the space race. He supported France in Vietnam. He supported many aspects of Civil Rights sending in troops to Arkansas to integrate the high school there and went toe-to-toe with segregationists, yet he wasn't too keen on illegal immigration or amnesty. He was probably conservative on other social issues.

    Reagan was a conservative economically but would drive the tea-partiers nuts on many levels. He was an interventionist and gave amnesty to illegal aliens.

    Clinton worked to the center and like many southern Democrats is more conservative than the CA, New England types. He knew how to build bridges in leading between the two parties, probably a skill he learned by leading a conservative state as a Democrat. He is much more pragmatic than Obama.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Jan. 21, 2013 12:40 p.m.

    Bennett is wrong about Ike. He didn't change the country, he let it slide. His lack of courage on civil rights led to the problems of the 1960s. It was JFK and LBJ who showed the courage to change America. I was there, too, Bob, and I remember it as well as you do.

  • Jack47 Sandy, UT
    Jan. 21, 2013 1:21 p.m.

    The last moderate Republican to win two terms as president was Richard Nixon.
    1. Every moderate Republican candidate since Nixon has lost (Gerald Ford, Bob Dole, John McCain, Mitt Romney) except for George Bush Sr.-- who rode on the coat tails of Reagan for a single term then lost re-election.
    2. Both conservative Republican candidates since Nixon won two terms (Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush) -- but Bush governed as a moderate in his 2nd term with disastrous consequences for the Republican party.
    If the American public has to choose between progressive vs. progressive-lite (like John McCain) then they will choose the real thing every time.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Jan. 21, 2013 3:31 p.m.

    @DougS “If moderates deal in compromise, where is the democratic party compromising when it comes to spending and taxation? I think there may be a time for compromise, but not now...”

    Where have you been since 2010? Obama was agreeing to 3-1 and even 4-1 spending cuts to tax increases in order to get a grand bargain debt reduction deal. The Republicans not only (insanely!) refused that deal, but when all their candidates were asked about it during the primary debates (the question was even asked with respect to a 10-1 deal) every one of them said “no way.”

    America rightly saw them as nut jobs and so now we’re stuck with not only divided government but a much weaker Republican party because they continue to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

  • wingman Lindon, UT
    Jan. 21, 2013 7:58 p.m.

    Moderates and liberals have at least one thing in common; They are elitists.

    If you disagree with them you are just stupid. You do not have to be very smart to be in the middle politically, but you do have to eliminate almost any position based on principle. Principles, both of the left and the right, cannot be negotiated away without weakening the core principle involved in any given debate.

    For example, a liberal cannot disagree with a "Woman's right to choose", in a debate about partial birth abortion, without erosion to its core principle - "A fetus is not life".

    A conservative cannot agree with losing the right to bear arms, even "assault rifles" (especially so) without the same slippery slope because "the right to bear arms, without infringement" is required to protect against tyrannical government. Much better to have an assault rifle (a machine gun would be even better) for this purpose than a pistol.

    In the case of the former, moderation causes one to accept, in some form, that fetuses are "life". In the latter, moderation causes one to defend gun ownership for hunting.

    Moderation is wise with vice, but unprincipled in politics.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Jan. 21, 2013 9:21 p.m.

    Wingman,

    So conservatives are never elitist?

    Disagreeing with conservatives does not get one labeled as stupid?

    I thought there was a book that taught conservatives how to argue with (one would assume) liberal idiots. Is that not true?

    If I assume another is stupid or an idiot just because they disagree with me, would that make me elitist?

    Cannot moderation, consensus, and civility be principles of governance?

    Is consensus (hence some degree of moderation) always wrong in politics?

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Jan. 21, 2013 10:36 p.m.

    I read Jack47's comments.... and I wonder what the heck the definition of a "conservative" really is. Reagan was open and willing to compromise.... compared to today's definition of a conservative, he would absolutely fall into the RINO column. He was willing to work on immigration, and was hardly worried about the national debt as it ballooned under his administration.

    George Bush II was hardly a hard core conservative. He never once tried to balance the budget. In fact he lowered taxes, all the while needing to do two stimulus rounds.... government checks actually sent to people... except people like me who made too much. If that isn't a conservatives definition of redistribution of wealth.... I don't know what is.

    There never has been this mythical conservative president. There is no such thing as this "conservative" politician.... each and everyone makes exceptions to the dogma in one way or another. The problem is there is the group of people who actually believe someone can fit into their nicely defined box... and we have all these politicians trying to fill this role as the second coming of conservatism... but it is completely unrealistic.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Jan. 22, 2013 11:38 a.m.

    Very thought-provoking column. Robert Bennett is in a good position to offer these views considering how his own political career ended when he was challenged for not being conservative enough. I always saw Bennett as a solid conservative. Orrin Hatch faced a similar challenge which he managed to survive. It wasn't just Utah. It was happening in other states across the country. It makes one wonder if Abraham Lincoln or Teddy Roosevelt would be ablt to recognize the Republican Party of today.

    I guess Republcans never got over the anti-establishment era of the 1960s. Something had gone terribly wrong with America and the Left was to blame. The only remedy was restitution to get us back on course.

    Maybe that's too simple. But it's the only explanation that makes sense to me for how and why the Republican Party became so hardened along rigid ideological lines.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Jan. 23, 2013 7:21 a.m.

    @wingman..... if I understand your comments, what you are saying is that if people don't agree with you, they are unprincipled. Really? And you don't find this to be an elitist attitude?

    I think you did an excellent job of proving an example of elitism.