Are Republican politicians up to the task ahead?

If a plan to balance our state’s or the federal government’s budget doesn’t really balance – or doesn’t realistically set a date for it to balance within a few years – then it’s a plan that should be rejected. Kicking the budgetary can down the road is not leadership.

Politicians might as well forget the game of putting certain items “off budget.” The Institute for Truth in Accounting and the Peter G. Peterson Foundation are on to that trick. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and state-level pension “promises” must be factored in to make any proposal credible.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday was celebrated on Monday, and here’s a MLK Jr. quote thatGlenn Beck used last week on his TV show:

“Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation.”

If America is going to be a better nation – a big part of that will require electing better political leaders that won’t bankrupt the treasury and leave an immoral debt load (in any form) to future generations of taxpayers.

Forget the Democrats. We need to elect better Republicans because they’re the ones claiming to run on a platform of fiscal responsibility.

Barack Obama took office a year ago today. President Ronald Reagan said this 29 years ago today in his first Inaugural:

“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem…It is no coincidence that our present troubles parallel and are proportionate to the intervention and intrusion in our lives that result from unnecessary and excessive growth of government.”

Jonathan Slevin, The president and publisher of the Washington Times, referred to a recent polland noted this today as well:

“While the principles that we advocate – individual liberty and limited government – do not change with the winds of public opinion, the focus of our work should be determined by the concerns of the people. And we hear Americans speaking. And we hear that most are not happy. And you have told us why.

It is because the size and scope of government have grown in recent years and, in the past year, have grown at a pace that is horrifying to most Americans. Government is growing so quickly it threatens the quality of your life and threatens to take control of your life. The Washington leviathan threatens to eclipse the light of freedom.”

“Admittedly,” Thomas Sowell writes in his column today,

– “the Democrats have an easier case to make. It takes no great amount of thought, nor much in the way of persuasive powers, to sell the idea of government handing out benefits hither and yon. It is only when you stop and think about the consequences, for this generation and generations to come, that some grim questions arise.

But if Republicans don’t raise those awkward questions, and don’t take the trouble to explain what is wrong with government playing Santa Claus, then the Democrats can soar on a cloud of euphoria. Sometimes it doesn’t matter that you have a better product, if your competitors have better salesmen.”

The Democrats have better salesmen because they have more politicians who truly believe in the Democratic Party’s agenda. Too many Republican politicians aren’t believable because they’re only faking support – or pretending to know how to – roll back the size of government.

Columnist Terry Jeffrey writes this – also today:

“A great cultural and political battle is underway in America between people who want government to take care of them and people who want to take care of themselves.”

Whether enough of our GOP candidates and office holders have the ability to take the right side in this battle is one of the big questions facing us in 2010.