Big government. Those two words were the centerpiece of speeches given by retired Missouri U.S. Senator John Danforth and current Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder to more than 120 people in attendance Tuesday night at the annual GOP watermelon feed.
Those two words were the centerpiece of speeches given by retired Missouri U.S. Senator John Danforth and current Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder to more than 120 people in attendance Tuesday night at the annual GOP watermelon feed.
The crowd gathered at Big Spring Park on an unseasonably cool late-July evening and listened to the heated addresses given by Danforth and Kinder — both targeting Democratic President Obama and his administration for bringing “big government” into the lives of the American people.
Danforth served as U.S. Senator from 1976 to 1994, and traveled to Neosho from his home in St. Louis for the event and to campaign for the GOP cause in Southwest Missouri. Danforth has been out of the national political arena since serving under President George W. Bush as his representative to the United Nations, but he said he felt a calling to speak out on the current state of the nation.
Danforth stated his view early in his address that the direction taken by President Obama’s administration is not the direction he believes the United States needs to be taking. Not surprising, the addresses of Danforth and Kinder were met with applause from the Republican-heavy crowd.
Danforth said it is important for Republicans now more than ever to deliver the party’s message to Americans.
“During the campaign when Barack Obama ran for president, he kept saying I am for change, and I am going to bring about change, and it is change we can believe in. He kept using that word over and over again — change, change, change,” Danforth said. “Who can disagree with that, because if all you are using is that type of open-ended word it is like a blank slate and they can write anything they want on it. He never really defined what change was, and now that he has been in office for six months we know what he was taking about.”
Danforth said Obama was talking about the most dramatic change in government the U.S. has ever seen — “big government in the extreme.”
“We need to ask Americans whether this type of change is what they bargained for, and whether it is good for America to continue in this type of direction,” Danforth said. “The change Obama had in mind was doubling the national debt in the next five years, and tripling the national debt in the next 10 years. The kind of change that he had in mind was for the federal government — you and me — to own General Motors, to own financial institutions, and to be able to fire boards of directors and CEOs of corporations.”
Prior to his retirement from the Senate at the end of 1994, Danforth ranked 21st in seniority among the 100 senators and served on three key committees: the Committee on Finance, Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and the Select Committee on Intelligence.
In his speech Tuesday, Danforth touched on President Obama campaign to push for a national health care platform. Obama is seeking legislation to extend health insurance to millions who lack it, at the same time he has asked lawmakers to slow the growth in the skyrocketing cost of medical care overall.
According to the Associated Press, a bipartisan group of senators agreed tentatively Tuesday on a plan to squeeze an additional $35 billion out of Medicare over the next decade and larger sums in the years beyond, according to congressional officials, a step toward fulfilling President Obama’s goal of curbing the growth of health care spending.
Under the plan, an independent commission would be empowered to recommend changes in Medicare annually, to take effect automatically unless Congress enacted an alternative. In addition to saving money, the proposal is aimed at turning the program for those age 65 and over into one that more clearly rewards quality, officials said.
“There is one message that unites Republicans that are alive today, and those who have ever lived, and that is all Republicans believe in limiting the power of government,” Danforth said. “That is our message. It has always been our message. I think we have to stay on our message, and take it to the people of our state. We have to hang together as a party.”
Danforth urged the Republican supporters in attendance to “hang together” because the GOP is currently viewed as the “down ticket” on the national political landscape with Democrats holding 59 out of 100 seats in the U.S. Senate.
“Do you really want the same federal government that has done a number with Amtrak and the Postal Service running health care in this country?” Danforth asked. “Is it not enough that we have 60 Democrats in the Senate, so people say there will be 64. I think if all of us need to take the responsibility of explaining to people of this country what is the best role, the appropriate role of the federal government.”
Prior to Danforth’s address, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder said it was time for the country to “make a U-turn with our national purpose and a U-turn back to sanity and common sense.”
Kinder said it was time to say no to piling on debt with money “that has not been earned.”
Kinder believes the most fundamental issue right now in Missouri and America is the assault by the federal government on freedoms for American citizens.
“It is time to say no more, and it doesn’t matter what issue you are talking about,” Kinder said.
Kinder, who could be a GOP candidate for Missouri’s top post in 2012, closed by saying “if you care about America … you can not wait another day to get involved and take back our country.”
Neosho Daily News