If Republicans don’t like being out of power, it is time that we look at ourselves in the mirror.
Right now, Republicans are a minority party in this country. Democrats have a 60-40 majority in the United States Senate, and control the House of Representatives by a similar proportion. The Executive Branch has leader who was supposed to transcend politics, but in fact has been the darling of the liberals and progressives.
Hey all you Republicans! Hurts, doesn’t it?
Are you happy with how things are going right now?
Feeling good about the course of the country?
Only 4 years ago, Republicans had it all. What went wrong?
Answer: They lost track of their Conservative values.
The late Barry Goldwater, sometimes referred to as the “Godfather of Conservatism” said, “The conservative movement is founded on the simple tenet that people have the right to live life as the please, as long as they don’t hurt anyone else in the process.”
Former advisor to Ronald Reagan, the late Lyn Nofziger defined a conservative as one who believes in the constitution, the freedom of press, religion, the right to petition the government, the right to keep and bear arms, and the right to be left alone. He also believed in small, limited government at every level, a strong belief in individual responsibility, and taxes should not be levied for the purpose of redistributing wealth.
In a recent Gallup Poll, in every state, conservatives outpoll liberals. (Yes, even in Massachusetts!) Nationwide, 40 percent of American’s define themselves as conservative or very conservative, while only 21% are liberal or very liberal. There is hope out there.
It is time for Conservatives think about where their priorities lie. George W. Bush expanded entitlements and increased the size of government with the Medicare Drug plan, and the No Child Left Behind Act put federal mandates above local control of schools. Mr. Goldwater would not be pleased. Bush was certainly no conservative.
There are two issues that Republicans should get behind if they want to be in the majority again.
Regardless of how one feels about the recent health care town hall incivility, you can’t overlook folks who don’t want the government taking over such a large part of our economy. Just this week Obama hinted that the “single payer” option might no longer be on the table. This shows many Americans still have a firm belief in the concept of limited government.
The gay marriage issue I believe is the other biggest loser for the Republican Party. There is a difference between conservative and religious right conservative. If you look at it from a strictly Conservative point of view, it should not matter who consenting adults want to marry. Again, Republicans should look at this from a limited government point of view.
John Stewart of the Daily show said it best during a debate with Mike Huckabee, (and I am paraphrasing here) “my liking chocolate ice cream does not devalue the desert of those who like vanilla.”
If one is a religious conservative, and believes homosexuality is a sin, then so be it. Not the government’s business to get involved.
Only God can forgive sin, and only God can judge those who do so. It is not our place to condemn, so long as consenting adults are involved. Religions conservatives might not like it, but it is not their business either.
For Republicans to be anti-gay marriage is just as illogical as having a platform that devalues those who covet their neighbor’s wife, or those who have disrespected their parents.
A bonus for Republicans; President Obama has said that he opposes same sex marriage. Here is a chance for Republicans to peel of a piece of the Democratic coalition, and take an issue away from them.
My suggestion for a path to victory:
True Conservatives believe in limited government, and the right to be left alone. Start looking at money as belonging to the people and stop borrowing and spending as a solution to everything. If you ask a republican “what is the biggest threat to our nation?” and give them a choice between:
1) Stopping gay adults who love each other from getting married.
2) Nationalized health care, government bailouts, combined with higher taxes, and an exploding deficit.
I would certainly hope that we could make a prudent decision. If we can’t do this honestly, we deserve to be a minority party.
We have until November 2010 to figure it out.