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Democratic Voices

Posted: August 19, 2008 8:51 p.m.
Updated: October 21, 2008 5:02 a.m.

What are the essential ingredients to successful governance?

For starters, in a republic it's important that elected officials understand the needs of their constituency, recognize that conflicting interests are inevitable and create policies that are equitable as well as effective.

In today's highly partisan campaigns, the divide between Republican and Democratic ideologies couldn't be sharper.

I find it amusing to read the opinions of die-hard Republicans who are attempting to derail the election of Democrats in the November election.

With the economy in a tailspin, job insecurity at an all-time high and the cost of the war not even figured into the annual budget, I find it absurd that most of the conservative columnists I read can't focus on anything but the dreaded "tax and spend" policies they believe are the work of the devil (in this case, all Democrats).

My, my. Have they forgotten how many tax dollars have been spent under the Republican mantle, and for that matter, how little we have to show for it?

If we measure wasteful governmental policies, I'm sure the last eight years would embarrass even the most loyal Republicans. One only has to mention the mobile homes sinking in New Orleans or the atrocious costs Halliburton is charging taxpayers to make me fume!

By cutting the taxes of the wealthiest in America, by protecting the tax loopholes that benefit the richest corporations, and by attempting to eliminate the inheritance tax permanently, the most privileged
Americans are getting richer, while the average worker must dog paddle to stay afloat.

The security of owning a home, having affordable health insurance, supporting the needs of one's family should not be pie-in-the-sky dreams.

Why do you think so many young people support Barack Obama? They know that the elders are not looking out for their best interests. If they didn't get burned in the latest housing debacle, they might be paying off school loans, credit card debt, or paying enormous monthly rental rates.

Forget about health insurance. Unless they have a decent employer, most young people go without.

I'm not so sure most workers believe a Sacramento bill that would pay sick leave is really a "job killer." In an economic market that depends on many part-time employees, it's difficult for many people who work two or three jobs to make ends meet.

Even part-time employees get sick, and I don't think the average employer would go broke offering a few sick days per year.

In my experience, especially in the Santa Clarita Valley, many small businesses that have gone out of business have stated that the increase in "Big Box" stores (great tax revenue for city government) and high rents have hurt their bottom lines. After eight years of a Republican in the White House and a Congress with a strong Republican presence, this administration's report card on economic, foreign relations, environmental and social policies is embarrassing.

For Republicans, Bush's fiscal record must be causing them one continuous headache.

If conservative Republicans believe that "the government that governs best is the government that governs least," I would like to point out that doing their least has been a disaster!

At this point in time, I would like to see a diversity of voices and ideas in both Sacramento and Washington. Certainly there has to be a level of respect and tolerance for opposing points of view because only then can negotiation and compromise be accomplished.

If we elect people who stubbornly act like mules, pledging to stand firm against any increase in taxes or some such nonsense, then we can expect more of the same.

If, however, we take a serious look at candidates who offer a vision that promotes the well-being of the people, the environment, and the economy, then I suggest you voice your beliefs on your ballot.

Leigh Hart is a Santa Clarita resident. Her column reflects her own views,and not necessarily those of The Signal. "Democratic Voices" appears Tuesdays in The Signal and rotates among several local Democratic activists.


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