I t depends on other factors whether Republicans
retaining control of Congress is, on balance, a
benefit or detriment to liberty. Congressional Republicans tend to resist foolish spending and regulatory schemes proposed by Democratic presidents. They roll over or up the ante when Republican presidents propose foolish spending and regulatory schemes.
Steve Moore, head of the Club for Growth, which backs candidates who favor low taxes and free markets, identified 10 races that mattered most to him. He believes Jim DeMint, who goes to the Senate from South Carolina, will remain a principled low-tax voter in the Senate. He thinks Tom Coburn, who won in Oklahoma, “will tie the Senate up in knots, if that’s what is needed, to stop the passage of fiscally reckless spending bills.”
A defeat of Tom Daschle in South Dakota could change the “effectiveness” balance, depriving Democrats of an experienced partisan warrior.
Will larger Republican majorities in both the Senate and House mean a stronger contingent determined to limit the growth of government we saw in the immediate wake of the 9/11 attack? They will have the votes to do so. The question is whether they will have the will.
There’s a split among Republicans between those who don’t worry much about deficits when a Republican is in the Oval Office and those who really want to control spending and bring deficits down. We hope the advocates of fiscal restraint win this one and demonstrate increasing independence from the White House. The kind of deficits projected over the next few years are hardly conducive to robust economic growth and restraint on the growing power of government.
Opera star Merrill was great treasure
T o those who follow opera, it was almost
shocking to be reminded that Robert Merrill
was “only” 85 when he died at his home in New York last week. It seemed as if he had been around forever, charming audiences in the opera house and beyond with the smooth, polished baritone voice that tenor Richard Tucker said was “the greatest natural voice that America had created.”
Beyond the Metropolitan Opera, where he was a star for 31 years, from 1945 through 1976, Robert Merrill sang with popular stars like Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra, on television and in the movies. Perhaps most memorably, he sang “The Star Spangled Banner” on opening day — and at Old-Timers Day and during playoffs — at Yankee Stadium every year since 1969.
His love of baseball was not a Bobby-come-lately matter. As a young man he paid for singing lessons with money earned as a semipro pitcher.
In an art form dominated, especially during his heyday, by European stars and traditions, Robert Merrill — born Moishe Millstein — was an all-American story. Even after being acclaimed one of the great interpreters of such roles as Rigoletto, Germont in “La Traviata” and Figaro in “Barber of Seville,” he never took the Met for granted. “At the old house, whenever I walked in, I had that marvelous feeling — what am I doing here, a kid from Brooklyn?” he said after his 500th appearance. He never stopped working to perfect his voice and critics said he improved every season.
He belonged, not just to the Met, but to America and to everybody who loves music or admires unpretentious excellence.