Michael Steele is the Republican National Committee chairman and lieutenant governor of Maryland from 2003 to 2007.
"When the people fear the government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty." This quote, attributed to Thomas Jefferson, embodies the unique American relationship between citizen and state and is as relevant today as ever. It's almost as if Jefferson had 2010 in mind.
Traveling the country on our Fire Pelosi bus tour, I faced a public suspicious of Washington and wondering why they should trust Republicans in November. It's a fair question; the answer is simple. We stood against the job-killing policies fueling the voter wrath that has the chattering class predicting an electoral tsunami.
When Democrats insisted growing government was as good as growing the economy and passed an almost trillion-dollar "stimulus," GOPers united against it, insisting that recovery must come from the ingenuity and innovation of the private economy, not from bloating big government. When they used every backroom, vote-buying deal and procedural trick to force a government takeover of healthcare, we stood with most Americans opposing this European-style system of government control over life and death. When they criticized us for the air we breathe, seeking to impose budget-busting taxes on energy needed to heat homes, fuel vehicles, and power businesses, we stood with Americans against a cap-and-tax scheme.
When Nancy Pelosi insisted that the best way to create jobs was to increase food stamps and unemployment assistance, we stood with America in calling for an end to bailouts; stopping the tax hikes coming in January; and reversing a job-killing, energy-drilling moratorium and every other policy that has kept the world's greatest economy on its knees.
Being in the minority meant that standing up for the American people entailed standing against the economy-choking Pelosi/Reid/Obama agenda. But that doesn't mean that we lack a positive agenda to get America back on track.
We stand for your keeping the money you earn, so you can make it work for your family and the economy. We stand for cutting the red tape crushing small business. Congress should vote on costly regulations invented by unelected bureaucrats before being foisted on America's job creators.
We stand for bailing out taxpayers, not big business, by shrinking the government and paying off the national debt. We stand for saving Social Security and Medicare for future seniors, without undermining these programs serving today's seniors. We believe in making healthcare better and more affordable with competition across state lines, not unconstitutional mandates that rob Americans of their freedom and coverage. We believe life-and-death decisions should be made by families and doctors, with big government out of the way. We believe the people's will is worth listening to, worth fighting for, and worth incorporating into every bill issued out of Washington. We have listened—and learned.
From Tea Parties to town halls, from the Contract With America to the Pledge to America, we seek to restore the people's confidence in our leadership by returning to the wisdom of our founding documents. America is responding. From Massachusetts to New Jersey, from Virginia to Hawaii, the freedom agenda is carrying the day: shrink government, lower taxes, cut red tape, strengthen families, and empower job creators, not the political class.
Our time in the wilderness helped us remember what the party of Lincoln is about. We have recommitted our faith in the power and ingenuity of free people to shape the legacy of our nation and achieve the American dream. Come November, America will win.
Read why Democrats should retain control of Congress, by Tim Kaine, Democratic National Committee chairman and governor of Virginia from 2006 to 2010 .