Senator Jim DeMint: The Democrats Say Anything – Do Nothing Agenda (January 30, 2006)

After the cloture vote on Alito, I was still watching C-Span when Senator Jim DeMint came on and gave one heck of a great speech. Unfortunately, it wasn’t available online, so I called DeMint’s office and they emailed a copy of his remarks out to me.

It would be great if more Senators were willing to unleash the sort of deadly accurate barrage that DeMint fired at the Dems in this speech:

“Mr. President, today the democratic minority leader, Harry Reid, gave what was billed as a prebuttal to the president’s upcoming State Of The Union. I am frankly astounded that he would criticize a speech so harshly that hasn’t even been given yet. I’ll let the president speak for himself when he addresses the nation tomorrow night but this misleading partisan rhetoric put forth on this floor by the Senator from Nevada cannot go unanswered, rhetoric that unfortunately further proves Democrats will say anything but do nothing.

Today we heard many of the same tired cliches from the minority leader. He talks about a credibility gap. Well, the largest credibility gap in american politics is between what Democrats say and what they do. Democrats promised months ago to bring forth their own legislative agenda, but the nation is still waiting. Day after day the Democrats launch attack after attack on republicans and our agenda, but how are we to take them seriously when they cannot articulate a clear plan of their own?

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(The presiding officer: The Senate will come to order. The Senator may proceed.)

Thank you, mr. President. They will say anything to get a media…sound bite, but when it comes to solving today’s challenges, Democrats do nothing. It has been four years since 9/11, and after all their rock-throwing, Democrats still have no plan for victory in the war on terror. In fact, they have undermined the war effort with partisan attacks on the president. They’ve complained about the economy since President Bush took office, but almost everything they do makes it harder for american businesses to compete. Democrats spent the last year criticizing Republican efforts to strengthen social security, but still offer nothing to fix this system in crisis. They even refused to guarantee benefits for today’s seniors and blocked a bill that would have stopped Congress from spending social security dollars on other government programs. They have decried looming deficits but offer no map to a balanced budget, instead calling for higher taxes and more spending programs. How are we to take seriously a party that has no legislative agenda, that has no solutions or ideas to solve americans’ greatest challenges? In stark contrast to the Democrat’s invisible agenda, the republicans have clearly articulated and delivered a bold agenda to secure america’s future. And while we’ve had some victories in recent years, the truth is that Democrats have fought bitterly to block progress for America every step of the way. Then these same Ddemocrats come to this floor and…blame inaction on Republicans.

To give one example, Republicans have been working for decades to secure America’s energy independence. However, Democrats at the behest of extreme environmental activists oppose real solutions to high energy prices like increasing production of domestic oil and natural gas supplies and removing barriers to oil refinery investment, such as onerous permitting requirements and the proliferation of fuel blends. Just last month Democrats blocked energy exploration and production on the coastal plain of the arctic national wildlife refuge which would provide millions of barrels of oil a day or about 4.5% Of the current U.S. Consumption with no significant environmental impact. And it’s not just in Alaska where Democrats oppose efforts to access our nation’s energy resources. It had been estimated that enough natural gas lies under the outer continental shelf and in the interior western states to supply 27 years’ worth of natural gas consumption, the primary fuel used to heat Americans’ homes. Yet, Democrats support policies that have closed these areas to exploration and production. The administration has attempted to cut regulatory red tape, reduce regulatory costs and streamline regulatory processes to allow more sensible use of the nation’s energy resources while maintaining environmental standards, efforts that have been largely rebuffed by Democrats in Congress. The obstacle to america’s energy independence is clear: it is the blockade formed by the Democratic party in seeking to appease far-left interest groups. Democrats have blocked republican efforts to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and have needlessly allowed energy prices to climb higher and higher for american families.

Senator Reid likes to say Democrats can do better. I think he’s right. Democrats should do better. They have been conducting a war of rhetoric for years without offering anything positive to the public debate. Americans are rightly frustrated with the Democratic Party that will say anything but do nothing. Now let me address what has become the favorite sound bite of the Democratic Party. Senator Reid said it today and many times over the last week what he likes to call the culture of corruption. Apparently Democrats believe that this media strategy will carry them to a sweeping electoral victory in November. Well, I’ve got news for my Democratic colleagues. The problems of outside influence on Congress is not a partisan issue. This is a bipartisan problem and requires a bipartisan solution. And for those hoping to usher in a new Democratic majority in Congress on a media sound bite, history teaches us that elections are won on ideas, not rhetoric.

Americans are far too smart…and today’s challenges are far too serious for Democrats to expect they can coast to a victory in November with no solutions and no ideas. Republicans learned this lesson long ago from one of our greatest teachers, Ronald Reagan. President Reagan always talked about ideas that still resonate with Americans today — limited government, personal freedom and responsibility, and peace through strength. Republicans did not win on rhetoric in 1994. We won because Americans agreed with our solutions — lower taxes, fiscal responsibility, traditional values and strong national defense. President Bush has connected with the American people because he has run his campaigns on ideas. He promised to lower taxes and he has. He promised to aggressively fight the war on terror to protect American families and he has. He promised to nominate judges that will follow the law instead of creating it and he has.

Yet as Senator Reid demonstrated today, Democrats still do not understand that Americans want solutions, not more partisan rhetoric. I know there are some Democrats who do have some good ideas and desire to work together to improve the lives of Americans. I’ve talked to many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who do seem to understand the reality, but their leadership refuses to allow them to break from party line. I urge the Democratic Party to think long and hard about the war rhetoric they’re waging. It is poisoning the atmosphere in the United States Senate, and it is turning off Americans from the public debate. The consequences of these actions will be fewer and fewer Democrats returning next year. This has been proved out during the last elections. As and my fellow Republican freshmen Senators can testify to. If Democrats want the opportunity to lead again, they have to abandon the say anything-do nothing stance and put forward some ideas and solutions. Regardless, the Republican Party will not wait around. We will continue to secure america’s future with a bold positive agenda.”

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