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Inactivity is essential

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A man's reach should exceed his grasp, but not as much as Mark Darr's does.

Candidates for lieutenant governor seldom promise more than to stay awake while presiding over the state Senate — and some can't deliver on that — but Darr says he'll challenge the Congress and the president of the United States by filing suit to invalidate the new federal health-care law, the greatest advancement in public health since Medicare in the '60s. Maybe he'll go after Medicare also; evidently he believes Americans are too healthy.

This is a large bite for a man who doesn't even have a vote on state legislation, much less national. Where will he stop? Will he try to cause trouble between Palestinians and Israelis? Ramp up global warming? Jail Nelson Mandela?

Here's our advice, even more valuable than usual. If elected, Mr. Darr should do what all successful lieutenant governors have done: Be quiet and stay out of the way. Anything more would be an abuse of non-authority.

The Republicans' latest manifesto — Pledge at America, Pee on America, whatever they're calling it — is not just a reworded version of the Contract on America that Newt Gingrich tried to enforce a few years back. It's worse.

There'd been no health-care reform when Gingrich put the Contract forward. Thanks to Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats, America finally has the reform that was long needed and the Republicans want to repeal it. This is a remarkably cold-blooded scheme, even for the Grand Old Reptiles — to give poor families a chance at the health care they could never afford, and then snatch it away from them.

Most of the rest of the new Republican stream is similar to Gingrich's Contract, naturally. Republicans always want tax subsidies for the rich. They always say they want to cut spending and they're always vague about how they'd do it. They always want no regulation of corporations, and the very harshest regulation of what individual Americans do with their bodies, sexually and substance-wise. They're not big on going to church, but they want to drag the church into the schools, the football stadia and the halls of government. They like having a few little wars around, as long as they're profitable.

They're not telling everything they know, of course. The party now claims to be interested in a balanced budget and paying down the debt, but the last Republican administration turned a surplus into a huge deficit. And the last fiscally responsible president, the Republicans impeached.

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