Andrew Hemingway: We need more Freshmen Republicans

Editors Note: Due to vacation this is late getting published, but the thoughts are still relevant.

The debt-ceiling debate isn't just a budgetary concern. This debate represents a philosophical conflict about the size and scope of government.

The American people cannot be reminded enough that their government currently owes $14 trillion, and the budget deficit for this year alone is $1.5 trillion. The accumulated debt is both a moral and financial problem that must be addressed head-on.

The Democrats are so enthralled by big government that when they look at the budget deficit, they see a lack of revenue. They crave ever more government programs that require always higher taxation. Republicans try to play nice far too often, resulting in false promises like those during Reagan’s presidency. The tax increases always come, but the spending reductions rarely see the light of day.

In this debate, Democrats understand the stakes, which is why they refuse to make any structural changes to entitlement programs and simply demagogue the issue. Their aim is to force Republicans to compromise on their principles by making them sign off on a plan that would raise taxes during poor economic times. This has a twofold effect: it makes Republicans complicit in any negative economic consequences and it paints them as disingenuous to their constituents.

The desires of the statists must be met with equally vigorous force.

Fortunately, there are 87 House Republican freshmen who are showing the rest of the party the way. They are behaving in a way that few establishment politicians understand. They are actually adhering to principle and faithfully keeping their campaign promises. The freshmen must have missed the memo explaining how it is okay to say one thing and do another, as many of their senior colleagues know only too well. Astonishingly, it appears the freshmen Republicans believe that the next generation is more important than their next election. They are showing the kind of political leadership this country so desperately needs.

At the same time that the freshmen Republicans show their colleagues what it actually means to be a Republican again, several of the old guard Republicans are far more interested in political strategy than doing the right thing for the country. After all, they're the ones who helped get us into this mess to begin with.

Our very own Charlie Bass oversaw the massive spending increases under Bush, and has continued in his passivity and utter lack of seriousness as the debt crisis continues to drag on. Unlike the 87 House Republican freshmen, he has taken the easy road and backed Boehner’s ill-conceived compromise giveaway. Once the bill reaches the Senate, Harry Reid is sure to amend it, adding all sorts of tax increases making the Republicans look foolish once again.

Before we go the way of Greece, Americans ought to take the necessary steps to bring this nation back from the brink. We need leaders with the courage to stand up and do what’s right, in spite of the vicious opposition from the Democrats. This fight will not be quick and it will not be easy. That is why it is essential that principled conservatives hold the line and actively push back against the ever-growing federal behemoth.

As Americans, there are many things we can do to bring the federal government back to its constitutional limits and pay down the debt. A good place to start would be to retire Rep. Bass.