“No” is vastly undervalued. It is a complete sentence. It does not require, although it allows, explanation (“No, because … “). And sometimes “no” has been precisely what the moment required at critical junctures in American history. No, the South cannot secede. No, the Soviets cannot place missiles in Cuba. No, we will not trade away missile defense. “No” has come in very handy.
The Congressional Republicans have been struggling to define themselves as not simply the “no” party. But at this particular moment, with an extraordinarily irresponsible budget in the offing, Republicans, and centrist Democrats as well, might be wise to embrace their inner “no.”
Senate Mitch McConnell did his best on CNN this weekend:
“What we ought not to be doing is passing the budget that they propose we pass in the Senate and House next week that doubles the national debt the next five years and triples it in the next 10,” he said. A massive tax increase, an energy tax of up to $3,100 per person. An effort we believe the nationalized health care, that has nothing to do with the economic dilemma which we confront at the moment.”
McConnell said that he didn’t think any Senate Republicans would vote for the Democrats’ budget proposal. He suggested it’s more likely to see Democrats vote against the budget plan.
“I think they have serious concerns on their side about this budget which is completely disconnected to and unrelated to the current economic crisis in which we’re facing.”
Republicans’ mantra has been that the budget “spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much.” If so, the appropriate answer is “No!” or more precisely, “Are they mad?”