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Ed Ross | Monday, January 30, 2012

"Seek truth from facts" (實事求是), a Chinese expression that dates from the Han Dynasty (206 BC to 25 AD) and used by Deng Xiaoping to reclaim China from Mao Zedong's destruction, should be the Republican Party’s campaign slogan in 2012.

President Obama and the leadership of the Democratic Party seek to create truth from campaign rhetoric, fear, and deception. If the Republican presidential nominee and candidates down the ticket simply and clearly present the facts and conservative policies they won't abandon in office, Republican candidates will win in a national landslide.

President Obama and Democrat leaders are not alone in their disregard for the truth, there’s a good bit of that going on in the Republican primaries as the top two candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich go after each other. But those distortions and untruths are about each other, not about the issues, on which they largely agree.

Republicans should stop the petty bickering and focus on President Obama and the Democrats that take the Political Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Pinocchio awards in all major categories that have to do with the issues the American people care about most. Let’s look at two glaring examples.

The first is making “millionaires and billionaires” pay the same tax rates as Warren Buffet’s secretary. Democrats insult voters’ intelligence at their peril. President Obama glosses over the difference between earned income (salary or commissions) and capital gains. Very wealthy people like Warren Buffet and Mitt Romney have large amounts of money in investments such as the stock market and real estate. Most of the money they’ve invested already was taxed at the higher earned-income rate. When they receive dividends or capital gains on their investments they are taxed again at the current 15 percent rate on capital gains.

As for secretaries, the average salary for a secretary in the United States is $47,500.00. If he or she is single and not filing a joint return, the effective tax rate for that individual is around 12 percent. Warren Buffet’s secretary (personal assistant) isn’t in that category. She makes between $200,000 and $500,000 annually. In her case the tax rate on her salary would be higher, but not the capital gains she no doubt earns from Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway stock she buys with her after-tax income.

President Obama is attempting to use this as a wedge issue, rallying people to vote for him so he can make wealth Americans “pay their fair share” in taxes. Never mind that the top 10 percent of income earners pay 70 percent of federal income taxes. By the time the election rolls around, Republicans and the conservative media can use the Obama ploy to educate new, young, and the less educated American voters that don’t already know this. There may be a growing class of Americans who prefer a nanny state that redistributes income, but most Americans understand that disincentives on investment kill jobs. One of the jobs it may kill is the one they have or were about to get.

The second issue where Republicans can help Americans seek truth from facts is President Obama’s stewardship of the national defense. As with all issues, the President and Democrats talk a good game that belies the truth. They tell us that President Obama has killed far more al-Qaeda terrorists with drone-missile attacks than President Bush, he approved the surge in Afghanistan, he got Osama Bin-Laden, and he rescued hostages in Somalia. He personally didn’t do any of these things, but as the commander-in-chief he made the decisions and gets the credit.

But let’s look closer at the facts. There was a shortage of drone pilots in the Bush administration and satellite band width necessary to operate more than a couple dozen simultaneously. Secretary Gates fought with the U.S. Air Force to train more drone pilots. Air Force leaders, none of whom grew up playing video games, argued that only experienced pilots could fly drones. Gates prevailed and President Obama was the beneficiary. The increased use of drone technology was a no-brainer—high payoff, low risk.

President Obama approved the surge in Afghanistan, but not as many troops as commanders in the field wanted. The President understood that nothing would kill his reelection prospects quicker than appearing to raise the white flag in Afghanistan. But he is pulling troops out of Afghanistan, as he did in Iraq, faster than commanders on the ground believe is prudent.

In short, President Obama’s goal has been to exit Iraq and Afghanistan as fast as possible so he can say, as he campaigns for reelection, that he fulfilled his 2008 campaign promises to end those wars. Public opinion may even be on his side; however, the likely result will be that U.S. blood and treasure sacrificed in Iraq and Afghanistan will have been for naught if we pull out too quickly.

What president would not have approved the SEAL Team 6 missions to get Osama Bin-Laden and rescue the hostages in Somalia? Our SEALS and Special Forces are the best in the world, they’re success rates are incredible. If you don’t use them, you might as well not have them.

More important, President Obama, as has been his intent since he took office, has set about to severely cut the U.S. defense budget, hamstringing the U.S. armed forces at a time when the world is increasingly dangerous. Iran is close to having nuclear weapons. North Korea already has them. The Arab Spring is becoming Islamist winter. Pakistan is on the brink. China’s military buildup is alarming. Russia seeks to reestablish its influence in Central and Eastern Europe. Al-Qaeda may be down, but it’s far from out. Why is President Obama cutting defense so deeply when he continues to seek billions for other programs?

These are just two examples, but you get the idea. Republicans also can seek truth from facts on energy policy, entitlement reform, and many other issues. Republicans will be tempted to launch personal attacks on the President as Romney and Gingrich have been doing on each other, but calling President Obama a socialist, incompetent, and a narcissist would be a mistake. The facts are powerful enough without name calling. As Joe Friday always said in Dragnet, give us the facts, just the facts.


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