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Dissecting the debate

By By Craig Ziemba / special to The Star
Aug. 4, 2002
I was one of the flies on the rafters at the pavilion during the debate this week and couldn't help but notice a stark difference between the messages of Shows and Pickering. Both candidates claimed to be pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, and committed to Mississippi values, but there were some glaring inconsistencies in Ronnie Shows' comments that I just can't ignore.
Shows claimed to be an independent thinker who doesn't tow the party line but rather casts each vote on the merits of the issue at hand, just as we would expect all of our representatives to do. But when asked whom he would support for Speaker of the House, Shows promised to vote for whomever the Democrats nominate, even though he knows full well that any Democratic nominee for Speaker will be for abortion, gun control, and against just about every other Mississippi value you can think of. The assembled crowd instantly rewarded Shows' hypocrisy with a rude but well-deserved chorus of boos.
Shows then showed where his loyalties lie by parroting the liberal Democratic campaign theme that he represents the working man while Republicans represent the rich corporate elite. That Marxist class warfare routine is not only old, it's not even true. I'm a Republican because I want less taxes and less government. I also work two jobs, drive used cars, and live in a middle class home. Am I a corporate elite or a working man?
Let's be honest: the Democratic Party's class warfare doesn't benefit working people, it benefits lazy people by taking money away from hard working, productive citizens and giving it to slackers. Democrats capitalize on class envy to keep their voters energized, and in a tight race, Ronnie Shows is shrewdly appealing to the baser political instincts of those he falsely calls the "working man."
There is no example or model from history where a nation ever prospered by taking money away from those who are productive and giving it to those who are not. Our failed welfare state has ruined a generation of Americans and caused them to look up to Washington, rather than into the mirror, for their next paycheck. And that, ultimately, is the difference between a fiscal liberal and a fiscal conservative.
To be fair, fiscally conservative Republicans have some inconsistencies of their own. The prescription drug benefit just passed by the House (with Chip's support) is a well-intentioned but unconstitutional use of tax dollars and will open a Pandora's Box that we won't be able to shut. It's all election year politics, I know, but that won't make the bill any easier for the working man to pay. We'd rather be taxed less and buy our own insurance.
In the end, though, the election between Pickering and Shows this November will decide more than just a single congressional seat. When you cast your ballot you may very well choose whether we have a pro-life or pro-abortion majority, take a turn toward socialism or free enterprise, and affirm the values of George Bush or Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Now would be a good time for all of us to stop towing the party line and vote on the merits of the issue at hand.