Thingish Things

Why I’m Bullish on the GOP

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - May• 22•11

Mitch Daniel’s decision not to run for President is admittedly discouraging – a lot of people saw him as the perfect alternative to President Obama in political philosophy and demeanor – but I cannot help but remain sanguine about the Republican Party’s future.

I realize that puts me in the minority.  All I heard after Daniel’s decision became known today were eulogies for the GOP’s chances in 2012. Indeed, Taps was the empathic tune of the day for my side of the aisle, with both civilians and seasoned Republican operatives I spoke with blowing it.  But an item in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal murmured a catchier tune, and I’ve been dancing to it in my head since yesterday morning.

New Hampshire, The Journal reported, is on track to become the 23rd state in the union to become a “right to work” state, meaning no Granite State worker would be forced to join a union.  New Hampshire would be the first state in a decade to become right-to-work, with Oklahoma being the last to set its workforce free in 2001.  The vast majority of right to work states are in the southern and western U.S., to which hundreds of thousands of jobs have migrated from the Northeast and Midwest in recent years.

Right to work would benefit both employers and employees in New Hampshire.  Companies wouldn’t face an automatic union shakedown  at every turn, but, at the same time, they would have to compete for the hearts and loyalties of their employees who could still choose to join a union if they believed they were not being properly compensated for their labor.

More importantly, though, it would be a boon to New Hampshire’s economy — and a challenge to its neighbors’.  It would become the only state in New England – indeed, the only state in the Northeast – to have such workplace freedom, and, coupled with its lack of a state income tax, it could set the region afire with competition.

“Passing right to work on top of not having an income tax could make us the Hong Kong of the region,” New Hampshire House Leader Bill O’Brien told The Journal.

If the measure becomes law, O’Brien very likely will be proved right, but not for long.  And that’s the best news:  If New Hampshire dramatically reduces its cost of doing business – and the cost of living for its workforce – it will have an immediate domino effect on the neighboring states of Vermont, Massachusetts, and Maine.  Businesses operating near the New Hampshire border or considering locating in New England will naturally be lured into the state with the best business climate– unless neighboring states ante up with reforms of their own. If Massachusetts follows suit to recruit and retain business, then won’t Connecticut have to do the same, and then, even, dare say, eventually, New York and New Jersey?

Just a few years ago things in New England were moving in the opposite direction.  Even conservative New Hampshire had become bluish.  There was not a single Republican congressman in New England, the birthplace of the Party of Lincoln, following the 2008 elections. And there seemed to be even fewer Republican ideas.

But now, the pressing issues on the horizon are custom-suited to the Republican Party – high income and property taxes; public service union over-reach; public pension debt, excessive business regulation; prohibitive business costs, and redundancies in government.  These all fall squarely into the conservative wheelhouse.

Conservative reforms already are occurring in the Midwest, because they have to.  That region’s economic decline has exceeded even the northeast’s, so states like Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania are doing something about it by changing union work rules and downsizing government.  They have tired of watching their jobs move south and west where taxes are lower and regulations are less onerous.  And now, in New Hampshire, with right to work, we see these basic conservative tenets spreading north and east into the heart of liberal America.

If this increasingly is the conversation in New England and the Midwest, the future for the GOP is bright.

It’s way too early to predict what will happen in the 2012 election, but it’s impossible to miss New Hampshire sounding like New Hampshire again — by necessity.  Live Free or Die, indeed.


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  1. Your Friend says:

    New Hampshire is sounding a lot like Newt Gingrich to me. The Hong Kong of the Northeast? Excuse me while I choke to death on the massive size of their hubris.

    Same domino effect that we were expecting from Romneycare.

    I’ll concede something again (clearly I have something in common with Obama, I’m always conceding things that you don’t even ask for). Unions will die in America (maybe not such a huge concession, since they are mostly dead already, contrary to the hew and cry of the GOP). But here’s an important distinction for you to consider on the subject — they will not die for political reasons and their death will have less of an impact on the Democratic party than you imagine; they will die because corporate America already owns the country and unions are not good for that ownership.

    But finally, let’s think about those pensions you’re always complaining about. Do you really think that a lobby of less than 7% of the nation (those in unions) could really push those pensions through corporate America? Why are they such a problem now? Who benefitted from the creation of these pensions? The name of the game was residential mortgage-backed securities. It was the biggest scam in the history of the world. The fallout will be continuing for the next twenty years. The market for these securities required the cover of vast public financial support, which was gained by the existence of the very pensions you decry. Sounds like conspiracy theories, I know. Look deeper. It’s not a conspiracy when every piece of the game is in plain sight.

  2. cede says:

    I thought the birthplace of the party of Lincoln was Rippon, Wisconsin, no?

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