ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, former U. S. senator
2009 -- Time magazine this week had a special issue, "The Year in
Pictures." Now we should take the picture of this year in politics.
People, places, and politics are never the same, so a snapshot in words
forbids exceptions for a quicker and better understanding of the politics.
are for spending and understand that you have to pay the bill with taxes.
Regularly responsible, the Democrats instituted the budget process, and
according to President Reagan supported Gramm-Rudman-Hollings to "end
deficit spending." In 1993, the Democrats raised taxes on income,
tobacco, gasoline, liquor, even Social Security, for the eight years of
the best economy in the nation's history. This gave President George W.
Bush "surpluses as far as the eye could see."
Republicans are against spending and against taxes. In fact, a controlling
number of Republicans come to Congress having pledged to Grover Norquist
and Americans for Tax Reform against all taxes. In 1993, the vote for
cutting spending and raising taxes that gave us the best economy was opposed
by every Republican in the House and Senate. The 1993 tax increase caused
the Democrats to lose the Congress and the snapshot today shows both Republicans
and Democrats are against taxes and increasing the national debt.
President Bush cut taxes and approved every spending bill but one. It
was vetoed mainly for the stem cell research provision. President Bush
increased the national debt by $5 trillion. Increasing the national debt
by $5 trillion, Republicans can no longer be called conservative.
Republicans are for war and Democrats are against war. Obama ran for President
pledging to get out of Iraq. After a year, President Obama still has 124,000
troops in Iraq and it could be years more before we are out. Marc Sageman,
a former CIA officer, briefed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee recently
to the effect: "There's no Qaeda in Afghanistan and no Afghans in
Qaeda." Even the former NATO Commander and now Director of the National
Security Council, Four Star Marine General James Jones, said that there
were no more than a hundred Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
filibuster allows both Democrats and Republicans to take a position
without losing votes. We could easily return to democracy by the
majority by changing the 60-vote rule in the Senate to so-many hours
to deliberate and debate an issue."
Ernest F. Hollings
years of war in Afghanistan and ending up with a corrupt government, a
corrupt election, and desertions from its army, with warlords in charge
of the country growing poppies, we have yet to change the Muslim culture
to democracy. Calling it a "necessary war" to continue force
feeding democracy creates as much terrorism as it eliminates.
Democrats and Republicans used to be for international trade. We passed
several trade bills only to be vetoed by Presidents, both Republican and
Democrat. When we lost the Congress in 1994, President Clinton panicked.
For re-election in 1996 he kicked over his labor support and put the white
tent out on the White House lawn for the Fortune 500, who came with the
campaign contributions. Now both parties refuse to compete in globalization
and stop the off-shoring of jobs in order to keep the contributions coming.
Corporate America was always concerned about the nation's economy because
their investment, development and production were in the United States.
But Jack Welch of GE made it kosher to oppose the nation's economy by
stating at the annual meeting of his stockholders in the early 1990s that
subcontractors for GE had to move to Mexico or else would no longer be
considered suppliers for GE. More jobs have been lost to off-shoring than
to the recession. In globalization any company facing off-shore competition
has to also off-shore to survive.
reality is that with off-shore competition you can't produce for a profit
in the United States. But both Democrats and Republicans ignore this reality
when it comes to jobs. So does the media. I watched the weekend shows
from Meet the Press to, finally, last Sunday's Sixty Minutes with President
Obama. All the programs were on jobs, but no mention of trade or the loss
of jobs to off-shoring. Regardless of stimuli, we'll continue to lose
more jobs to off-shoring.
Former Senator Phil Gramm told me twenty-five years ago in the Senate:
"When the Democrats give up labor, the Republicans will give up the
money." Now both Democrats and Republicans have given up labor and
gone for the money. The Congress is in a marathon fundraising for the
campaign. It's morning, lunchtime and evening. It's Mondays, Fridays and
on the weekends. It's all six years. Policy committee meetings are canceled
to fundraise, and both the Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate
earmark for the candidates up for re-election. The Senate Chamber is no
longer for the country. It's just one grand campaign headquarters for
Democrats are for government, but Republicans oppose government. Ever
since Ronald Reagan, Republicans feel that government is not the solution
but the problem. Republicans campaign for office on getting rid of the
government. Democrats elected to office feel that you've got to get something
done. But with the filibuster rule of sixty votes prohibiting anything
being accomplished, Harry Reid can't call up anything in the Senate to
be passed unless it's approved by the minority.
was intended to cool passions and for issues to be deliberated. We Southerners
corrupted the filibuster rule to prevent civil rights. With the Senate
on TV, a Senator can't get home before his phone is ringing with somebody
bitching. With the internet and instant communication worldwide, the filibuster
rule today is used not to deliberate but to kill. The cardinal rule of
pollster politics is not to divide the voters. Never be for. Never be
against. Merely comment on both sides of an issue and tell of your concern.
allows both Democrats and Republicans to take a position without losing
votes. We could easily return to democracy by the majority by changing
the 60-vote rule in the Senate to so-many hours to deliberate and debate
an issue. But now we suffer the embarrassment of a leading Republican
Senator following the President to Copenhagen, telling Copenhagen not
to listen to the President because the minority controls in America. Next
time, the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee better pick a bunch of
losers so we can get into the minority and take control.
The United States is a democracy with minority rule. Nothing gets done.
of South Carolina served 38 years in the United States Senate, and for
many years was Chairman of the Commerce, Space, Science & Transportation
Committee. He is the author of the recently published book,
Government Work (University of South Carolina Press, 2008).
Ernest F. Hollings. All rights reserved. Contact
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Ernest F. Hollings served
the public for 56 years -- 38 years in the United States Senate and as South
Carolina's governor, lieutenant governor and a member of the S.C. House of
Today, Hollings continues
to be influential in public affairs and offers this Web site as a compendium
of current and past positions on public issues. Learn
more about Fritz Hollings.
Hollings receives French honor
France honored retired
U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings on in 2013 by awarding him the Legion of Honor for
his World War II service. More.
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the new book
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