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GOP Can Make And Show A Difference Latino Dems Fight Back; Raise Funds To Counter GOP Ads
GOP Can Make And Show A Difference
Deroy Murdock, Guest Columnist
September 13, 2004
NEW YORK - Now that senators and congressmen have returned from political conventions and napping at poolside, the Republicans who control Capitol Hill have one more chance to distinguish themselves from Democrats.
WHILE IRAQ and the war on terror differentiate the parties, on domestic matters, it has become nearly impossible to tell them apart.
Republicans champion programs that Democrats love, such as cheap drugs for seniors, often appropriating funds that exceed Democratic dreams.
The GOP actually unraveled the wool-and-mohair subsidy in 1996, but wove it back into 2002's $170 billion farm bill. The Heritage Foundation's Brian Riedl calculates that Small Business Administration funding has zoomed from $63 million in 1999 to $3.978 billion in 2004.
The GOP promise of regulatory relief vanishes into an ever- receding horizon. Sadly, Republicans last April made matters worse. By banning ephedra, the Bush administration became the first government of either party to prohibit a dietary supplement.
CONGRESS SHOULD take three steps to change this picture and show voters that Republicans are not just Democrats with a muscular foreign policy.
First, since it seems too much to expect Republicans to cut spending, the least they can do is spend more wisely.
Hurricanes Charley, Gaston and Frances have hammered Florida and nearby states. As usual, Washington will dedicate emergency funds to assist Americans who are suffering the storms' effects. While there may be a long-term answer to these perennial, weather-related expenditures - tax-free insurance savings accounts? - they won't help those who need repairs and brand-new roofs right now.
Congress should offer emergency funds only to Americans in presidentially declared federal disaster areas. Like loud, spoiled children in a taxpayer-funded supermarket, Republicans and Democrats in Congress use calamities far outside their own states as excuses to throw unrelated goodies into Uncle Sam's emergency shopping cart.
In July 2003, Citizens Against Government Waste reports, Congress took a $1.9 billion White House request for flood and forest-fire relief and larded it with $9.7 million for Michigan tree assistance, $20 million to fight the Mormon cricket in Idaho, Nevada and Utah, and much more.
ASSUMING REPUBLICANS still believe in fiscal responsibility, they should send President Bush an emergency funding bill devoid of money for communities that solely experienced these hurricanes via television.
Second, Republicans correctly chided a Clinton administration regulation that limits the quantity of water in new toilet tanks. Consumers complain that low-flow toilets only use 1.6 gallons per flush, vs. 3.5 gallons in traditional toilets. Dissatisfied with new models, homeowners actually have created a black market for older, Niagara-like commodes. Republicans complained that this was none of Washington's damn business.
But after much ballyhoo, the GOP Congress never dragged Uncle Sam out of the loo.
Congress should follow the advice of Rep. Joseph Knollenberg, R- Mich., and end federal intervention in this area. If Democrats object, let them get off their duffs and say so.
Finally, Republicans should remind Americans that their party routinely cuts taxes, while Democrats maintain and, too often, increase them.
While a karate chop to marginal tax rates is always a good idea, such a maneuver would be politically tough right now. However, eradicating a small but onerous levy would show voters which party lives and breathes tax reduction.
THE FEDERAL telephone excise tax still appears on American phone bills.
Congress imposed this 3 percent levy as a temporary tax on the rich, incredibly, to fund the Spanish-American War. With the help of Rough Rider Teddy Roosevelt, America defeated Spain in 1898, thereby acquiring Guam, the Philippines and Puerto Rico.
It's high time Americans enjoyed the peace dividend from a war that ended more than a century ago. Ditching the federal "talk tax" finally will let citizens forget this 19th-century conflict and instead focus on the future. Surely, Democrats agree with Republicans on this. If not, let them tell American taxpayers why they should keep financing a war that ended 10 years before Henry Ford produced his first Model T.
If Republicans cannot enact these modest measures - or similarly dramatize key domestic differences with Democrats - voters might as well flip coins to choose which party to support for Congress on Nov. 2.
Latino Dems Fight Back; Raise Funds To Counter GOP Ads
Samara Kalk Derby The Capital Times
October 4, 2004
The Capital Times & Wisconsin State Journal
Members of Madison's Latino community came together Sunday to unite against what they say is a Republican smear campaign aimed at presidential candidate John Kerry and fellow Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold.
Republicans have been airing more than 100 advertisements per week on the Spanish radio station La Movida, WMLV/AM 1480. Ads have also been appearing in La Voz Latina, one of Dane County's Spanish newspapers, basically calling Kerry and Feingold baby killers.
Tim and Diane Osswald decided to combat the negative ads and began raising money in their west side neighborhood. The couple took in $1,000 in three nights last week going door to door in just a two- block radius.
They kicked in another $1,000 personally, and then hosted an open house at their Madison Street home Sunday that raised an additional $4,000 from the more than 200 friends and neighbors who stopped by.
In fact, they've raised enough money now that they intend to begin advertising on Milwaukee stations as well.
Tim Osswald said that when he first became aware of the ads he was concerned that nothing was coming from the Democrats.
"Not having anything from the Democratic side would kind of tell Latinos that they didn't matter," said Osswald, a professor of mechanical engineering at UW-Madison who is from Colombia.
"What we wanted was to get a well-balanced set of commercials that also represent the Democratic side, and that way get Latinos fired up about the election and to get out and vote," he said.
The money the Osswalds raise is going to the New Democrat Network ( www.newdem.org), which produced the TV ads - adaptable to radio - that began running on La Movida last week.
A $30 donation pays for a 60-second prime time slot. For every $1,000, the Osswalds can put on an ad a day from now until Election Day, Nov. 2. (To donate, call 257-1925.)
Latino voters, who are expected to number 7 million in the United States next month, could provide the swing vote in several states. There are 25,000 Latinos living in Madison and another 5,000 to 10,000 in Dane County.
Teresa Tellez-Giron, a social services specialist and activist in the Latino community, calls the Republican advertisements disgusting.
"It's amazing how they choose issues that affect the Latino community right now," she said.
For instance, some ads say that when George W. Bush gets re- elected he will give legal status to temporary workers. This proposal would give rights and health insurance to large numbers of Hispanic immigrants.
"But the bottom line is he hasn't done that since he became president. He keeps promising things to the Hispanic, Latino community and he never gets anything done," said Tellez-Giron, who is organizing members of the Latino community to get voters to the polls. (Call 446-4603.)
"Obviously this is a strategy that was thought up somewhere outside of Madison," Francisco Scarano, a professor of Caribbean and Latin American history at UW-Madison, said of the Republican ads.
"I'm wondering if the Republicans are underestimating the Latinos in Madison intellectually. It would appear the people who run these ads think this is a community which for a lack of education will not see through the misrepresentations," said Scarano, who is originally from Puerto Rico.
"I kind of have to give it to the Republicans. They seem to know how to really simplify issues. That is their biggest strength," said Frank Martinez, 38, whose band, El Clan Destino, played at the Osswalds' party.
A lot of the ads aimed at the Latino community seem to have a religious component, Martinez said, painting Democrats as pro- abortion or as "baby killers."
"I think it's important to provide a balance, another viewpoint," he said.
School Board member Juan Jose Lopez said the onslaught of ads provide inaccurate information intended to brainwash people.
"The Republicans are very slick in the advertising, targeting the Latino community because they know that there are more of us who are registering to vote and more that will actually come out and vote," Lopez said.
"Our community is smart. They are going to decipher through the distortions and inaccuracies. They will vote Democratic."