Last Monday, in a post titled “Elephants vs. RINOs“, I discussed the need for the GOP to abandon the “Republicans In Name Only” and get back to the core values of the Republican Party. Ostensibly, the GOP promotes conservative values, and limited government. Unfortunately, the actions of some party representatives have led many Republicans to the conclusion that the GOP has lost touch with its base. It’s one thing for Republicans to call for internal reform, but without enumerating these “core values” there is little hope for progress and no rubric to measure the response of congressional leadership.
The leadership of the modern Republican party has fallen prey to to the false notion that it must define a party line for every issue. This simple belief denies all freedom to the legislators, and forces them to choose between their party and their constituents. Because there is no leeway within the party, congressional Republicans are almost guaranteed to vote against the party on some minor issue providing fodder for claims of internal disunity. The policy also allows RINOs to claim they vote with the party as consistently as non-RINOs, even though the former group betrays the GOP’s ideology when the votes are most critical.
Instead of bickering over each and every minor decision, the Republican Party should pull back to focus on major principles. By focusing only on major policy decisions, the GOP leaves room for legislators to more accurately support their constituencies while pushing a consistent national ideology. Minor differences of opinion no longer appear to the public as Republicans caving on their principles. The principles the GOP should focus on can be consolidated into two closely related ideological positions: reverence for the U.S. Constitution, and pursuit of limited government.
The United States currently craves a political organization that will actively defend the Constitution. The founding fathers never envisioned a government with a “tax day” several months into the year. Our current rates are far beyond the incredible burden they fled in England. They did not design a government intended to provide health care or other social services for its citizens. Their government existed to defend the nation from foreign enemies, and to defend our constitutional rights; it was never intended to run an entitlement bureaucracy. Republicans should promote an agenda that will return our government to its constitutional responsibilities.
When the constitution does not provide specific guidance, the Republican Party should promote a philosophy of limited government. It’s worth noting that almost no government-run program has ever finished on-time or under-budget. Meanwhile, the private sector has an excellent track record on both. The primary difference is that businesses play with their own money, not funds they have “appropriated” from the citizens. Unlike our current government, businesses actually face immediate consequences for budget deficits and debt, and they don’t want to develop a reputation of lackluster customer support or frequent product failure.
Businesses have, and always will run programs more efficiently than the government. Just look at the proposed health care legislation. Even with all the subsidies for the government plan and mandated rate hikes for private programs, the CBO’s analysis still shows that premiums in the Public “Option” will generally be higher than those of their private sector counterparts[1. Politico. “CBO: Public Option Premiums Higher than Private Plans. http://bit.ly/2Izpb1.”]. That the entity writing the rules can’t manage to undermine the competition is a testament to its systemic incompetence and impracticality as an engine of progress.
The American people desperately want a political movement that will return the government to its proper role; though liberals currently control Washington, almost twice as many Americans hold conservative political views[2. Gallup. “‘Conservatives’ are Single Largest Ideological Group.” http://bit.ly/48C5Sb.]. If the GOP can once again fill this role by committing to the principles the party already professes to support, then it will once again return to political dominance. If not, the GOP will become a permanent minority.