Why Republicans should vote for Democrats …and vice-versa

Alfred "Pappy" Brunet
July 30, 2009
Joseph Henry Elkins
August 3, 2009
Alfred "Pappy" Brunet
July 30, 2009
Joseph Henry Elkins
August 3, 2009

The best way to foster a Republican agenda may be to elect a Democrat. History has shown that some of the most effective presidents have been effective by fostering the agendas of their opponents.

Ronald Reagan is remembered for cutting big government and cutting taxes. In reality, Reagan was responsible for inflating government spending and creating huge budget deficits. He also proposed the largest tax INCREASE in U.S. history, after it became apparent his tax cuts were too deep.

A Democratic president would have faced extreme criticism for making such moves, but history barely mentions the Republican president who raised taxes and spent too much in the 1980s. Instead, history remembers Reagan as the man who won the Cold War and re-established America as the leader of the free world.

He was not the only Republican to achieve what was unattainable for a Democrat.

Richard Nixon is known for his visit to China and his meeting with Mao Zedong, chairman of the Communist Party. The meeting opened China’s doors to America and the rest of the world.

In the context of the Cold War in the 1970s, a Democratic president would have been criticized for simply initiating dialogue with Mao Zedong. He would have been accused of being soft on Communism.

However, Nixon was successful because it was not expected from a Republican.

Democratic presidents have also achieved success by fostering Republican goals.

It was Bill Clinton who declared that the “era of big government is over.” Clinton curtailed government spending and accomplished something that has not been seen since – a budget surplus. He also proposed sweeping welfare reform – something a Republican president would have had trouble selling to Congress.

Now it’s Barack Obama’s turn.

Last year, Republicans in Congress called for George W. Bush to allow General Motors to declare bankruptcy and reorganize into a more efficient company. He refused. It took a Democrat, Barack Obama, to orchestrate such a bankruptcy – which was filed Monday.

Obama is also calling on Congress to pass a “Pay-Go” bill that would prevent the government from approving new spending without equally increasing revenue or cutting spending elsewhere.

While some Democrats may accuse Obama of breaking campaign promises, his adoption of key Republican issues could help him achieve what most people want – positive results.

I remember having a conversation with a friend on a plane during the presidential campaign. He was supporting Obama because he felt like the Illinois senator would help foster the black agenda.

He was taken aback when I shared my opinion that Obama may not be the best person to accomplish such a task.

If Obama were to propose entitlement programs for minorities, he would be criticized for allowing race to influence his presidency. In contrast, it would take the right, white conservative president for such efforts to have a chance.

History shows that it is sometimes better for Republicans to vote for Democrats, and vice-versa, if they want to accomplish the seemingly impossible.

In presidential politics, it is not the president you elect that really matters … it’s the president you get.