Please Sir, May We Have Our Party Back?
Another election come and gone. And those of us taken-for-granted conservatives have a question. If the moderates are done with the Republican Party, can we have it back now?
I’m absolutely serious. We watched in 2000 as George W. Bush redefined conservatism to include government handouts, intrusive government and a lax enforcement of federal law. But the conservatives held their nose and got out the vote, because he wasn’t too bad.
We convinced ourselves it would be ok. Now 8 years later, I think we were wrong.
To be fair, we got some decent judges on the Supreme Court, even though it we had to fight with the president to get them. We also managed to prevent more terrorist attacks on our soil. We limited some abortions. And we instilled some common sense tax cuts that allowed Americans to keep more of their hard earned money. But we also got huge government bailouts, increased government support of Planned Parenthood, porous borders, huge new welfare programs, and a government that spied on its own citizens.
And in 2004, the moderates convinced some of the conservative leaders to move to the center, because that is where they said victory was.
In Pennsylvania for example, in the U.S. Senate race President Bush and Senator Santorum abandoned conservative candidate Pat Toomey in favor of the liberal Republican Senator Arlen Specter. Toomey lost, Specter won the primary and the general, and then became the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee—and the judicial nomination process ground to a halt.
And the rumbling started. Conservatives in PA who had gone door-to-door for Santorum in 2000, stayed home in 2006. The base of the party was uninspired by this new centrist. And then Santorum refused to support the marriage amendment on the 2006 ballot in PA. And the base took note.
On Election Day, the marriage amendment passed. And centrist Santorum lost. The people spoke.
Fast forward to 2008. And you have McCain. A centrist. An honorable man, yes. But not a conservative. Not a pro-life advocate. Not a free speech advocate. Not a small government advocate. Another Bush.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. This time around, the base was not going to be fooled. Yes, most voted for him, but they were not inspired. It was more--rather McCain than Obama. No vision. No dreams. No grand ideas. No conservative principles of freedom, limited government and a strong America. Nothing to get excited about. Nothing to get people motivated.
And the Republicans lost again. After 8 years of redefined conservatism, the Republican Party is a shadow of what it used to be. The national party has the ability to filibuster bills it does not like in the Senate. And only if they are united. With a few liberal senators in the Republican ranks even that is not going to be a common occurrence.
We cannot pass laws, design national policy, appoint judges, decide on foreign policy, decide on domestic policy, nothing. We are powerless. We can influence nothing in the halls of government. And if things go bad, abortions will increase, talk radio will be censored, taxes will go up, our nation will be viewed as weak, and marriage will be redefined.
But it’s not too late.
Now, you are going to hear many of those in power in the Republican Party claim that the conservatives were the reason we lost. You are going to hear them say we need to go more to the left because that is what inspired people. Unfortunately, people do not vote Republican because they are liberal. If you are a liberal, you vote Democrat. You have no reason to switch parties. So, if you go left you end up with a party that loses, because liberals will vote Democrat, and conservatives will stay home.
The real answer is returning to what worked. Returning to the American spirit of independence. To allow American families to keep the money they earn. To promote the idea of a limited government that does not intrude into daily life. To speak of a nation that stands for freedom to the world. To reward success. To return to the principles of freedom and equality our founding fathers spoke of. That Martin Luther King spoke of. That Ronald Reagan spoke of.
Conservatism works. We just need conservatives running the Republican Party again to give it a chance.
Move over moderates. You had your shot, and lost big. It’s our turn again.