The Norman Transcript

Opinion

December 8, 2012

In defense of conservatism

NORMAN — If all your friends jumped off a fiscal cliff, would you do it, too? The answer from Sen. Tom Coburn and Representative Tom Cole is no.

Though staunchly opposed to increasing tax rates, both men recently made national headlines; Coburn for his willingness to increase receipts by eliminating loopholes and preferential tax treatments and Cole for suggesting Republicans accept a compromise solution ensuring 98-percent of Americans avoid a tax hike.

Grover Norquist claims both positions defy the anti-tax pledge, the revenue-neutral standard for tax policy changes made famous by his Americans for Tax Reform advocacy group.

Until now, ideology-based conservatives like Norquist have defined conservatism by their own terms. Absurdly, yet expectedly, the conservative credentials of both Coburn and Cole are under fire. Such reality-based conservatives who dare step out, or in it, get branded with the M-word to be thrashed about in the public square clothed in the “moderate” label regardless of the fit.

Norquist lambasted Coburn saying, “he lied his way into office.” Coburn struck back by defining the difference between cheap and courageous conservatism, stating the former is that of rhetoric, pledges and pandering while the latter is that of truth, action, solutions and sacrifice.

Oklahoma also has ideologically-driven interest groups that seek their own definition of conservatism.

One such group, the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, has upped the ante on the Norquist gold standard where anything short of complete elimination of the state’s largest source of revenue is deemed not conservative.

Is it not conservative to be cautious in our approach to needed income tax reduction, to protect the state credit rating, to pay our debts and to ensure sufficient funding for core services with a diversified and dependable revenue structure?

In Oklahoma, those who say cuts in tax rates should be offset by cuts in spending and by broadening the base — ironically the very position heralded as conservative at the federal level — are burnished with the moderate brand.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • Noting a life well lived

    James Garner never intended to be a movie and television star. He just kind of lucked into it, he would tell those who asked. If you have the itch to act, get a good-paying job and spend your free time at your local community theater, he ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Recount that really matters

    Americans have been hearing a lot about Congressional elections, but there’s another one halfway around the globe that will matter far more....

    July 22, 2014

  • Runoffs get no respect

    The Aug. 26 Republican runoff election for the Cleveland County District 3 commissioner post is one of only 18 races on ballots around the state. Only two races are statewide — the Democrat contests for U.S. Senator nominee and state ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Change some lines

    Editor, The Transcript: Looking at how our elected Republican friends are reacting to the refugee children crossing the border and now being housed in Lawton, I have a suggestion. Let’s edit the Christian Bible in several places to reflect ...

    July 21, 2014

  • New health care system demonized

    To the Editor: In October 2013, soon after we were asked to take over management responsibilities at our family business, we were visited by the company’s health insurance agent. She explained that a decision needed to be made regarding ...

    July 21, 2014

  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • The longer the wait, the higher the cost

    Editor, The Transcript: Thanks for the great article of July 3 on the Norman chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby group that recently went to D.C. as citizen lobbyists, working to get a revenue-neutral carbon pollution fee, refunded in ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Make gun safety a health issue

    Quick, are you more likely to die by a bullet or in a car crash? Common sense would seem to suggest the latter. Cars are everywhere. We are an auto-obsessed nation. To be American is to drive — everywhere. Teenagers itch to get behind the ...

    July 20, 2014

  • They just want to be free ... maybe

    Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region, rattled many cages this month when he announced in parliament that the KRG would be moving ahead soon on a referendum on independence from Iraq. If Kurdistan goes ahead ...

    July 20, 2014