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Tim Kaine

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A Response to Michael Steele: What Do Republicans Really Stand For?

Posted: 10/27/10 11:06 AM ET

Yesterday, RNC Chairman Michael Steele and I published competing Op-eds, each making our case about why our party deserves the support of the American people in the November election. I used this as an opportunity to explain Democrats' vision for America and to talk about our accomplishments and efforts to restore our country. Chairman Steele chose a different path.

My GOP counterpart chose instead to mislead American voters with baseless talking points and empty rhetoric. With only seven days until Election Day, voters deserve the truth.

So I ask: Mr. Steele, what do Republicans really stand for?

In your article, you belittle the Recovery Act as "job killing" and bloated "big government. Would the roughly 3.5 million folks who now have jobs because of the Recovery Act be better off if Republicans had successfully blocked the bill?

GOP opposition to the Recovery Act, by the way, hasn't stopped your members from attending ribbon-cutting ceremonies for projects they opposed.

You claim to stand for "saving Social Security," but Republicans fought hard in 2005 to privatize Social Security and currently support a candidate who believes Social Security and Medicare should be "phased out." Would our nation's seniors be better off now if Republicans had successfully phased out or privatized social security?

You claim to believe in "making healthcare better and more affordable." But the GOP united against the Affordable Care Act that reduces the deficit, decreases health care premiums for all Americans, extends coverage to nearly 32 million people, and ends the worst insurance-company abuses -- including the practice of denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. Would all Americans be better off with higher health care costs and greater insurance-company control if Republicans had successfully blocked health insurance reform?

You claim to believe in "keeping the money you earn," but Republicans opposed the Recovery Act, the third largest tax cut in American history, which reduced payroll taxes for 95 percent of American workers. Would these families be better off today with higher taxes if Republicans had successfully obstructed that bill?

You claim to stand for "shrinking the government and paying off the national debt." But during the Bush administration, government spending increased from 18.4 percent of GDP to 20.3 percent in 2006, the national debt nearly doubled from $5.7 trillion to $10.6 trillion, and the annual budget exploded from a $128 billion surplus in 2001 to a $1.4 trillion deficit in 2008. Where were the GOP's convictions about small government and fiscal responsibility during the Bush administration's spending spree? And why did all Republican Senators, including six who have cosponsored the exact same bill, vote against establishing a bipartisan commission that can help fight the deficit?

You claim to believe that "life-and-death decisions should be made by families and doctors, with big government out of the way." Where was that conviction in 2005 when the GOP intervened on national television in the family affair of Terri Schiavo?

In seven days, voters across America will cast ballots to choose their leaders and determine the future of our country. While the economy still has a long way to go and our policies may not be perfect, I'm proud to stand by Democrats' vision for America and what we've done to move our country forward.

The stakes in this election couldn't be higher - too many families are still hurting, and they need leadership focused on their future instead of just reclaiming power. It's time to cut the rhetoric and tell voters the truth about what you believe.

This post originally appeared at the DNC Blog.