How Much Further to the Left Do We Move Before Becoming Democrats?
Gen. Colin Powell suggested last week that the Republican party moderate in an attempt to expand our tent and attract more voters? To this I say, we have tried this Mr. Powell and the American people hated it. In the midst of an economic crisis the media insists was created by the deregulation and tax relief provided by the Bush administration (which is completely false), we forget the reason the American people threw the Republicans out of office in droves in 2006 in the first place. The first, of course, was the war. The American people were tired of hearing about climbing death tolls and it didn’t help that we had the Democratic leadership and the media, sans Fox News, openly advocating and cheerleading American defeat for their political benefit. The second reason the GOP got it’s proverbial ass kicked in 2006 was because of their out of control spending and both sides of the immigration reform debate. Yes, believe it or not there was a time when Nancy Pelosi spoke of the importance of fiscal responsibility. My how times change. The truth is the GOP has been on a downhill spiral after the since 1996 and it’s because we abandoned Conservative Principles. We have not had success since 1994 and we have not had golden days since the 1980s.
In 1994 Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich lead Republicans to a massive victory and take over of Congress, Speaker Gingrich picked up 54 seats for the Republican Party, to put this in perspective Speaker Nancy Pelosi picked up 31 seats in the 2006 election, which was considered a massive victory for the Democrats. As the new class of Republican Congressmen took office in 1995 and began work on bringing forth the Contract With America, with President Clinton’s numbers weak and an energized conservative base, there was nothing stopping another conservative candidate from winning in 1996. This did not happen.
In 1996, we ran snooze-fest Sen. Bob Dole of Nebraska. You know you’re in trouble when you’re so old you’re telling people you can be a bridge to the good ol’ times they remembered as kids….. in the 1930s. This lead to Clinton telling people that while Dole was a bridge to the past, he was the bridge to the new millennium. Dole, a typical moderate, didn’t really stand for much, wasn’t too hot on launching any sort of substantive critique on Clinton’s policies. With a dispirited conservative base, Clinton won re-election easily in 1996 and the Republicans lost seats in the House and picked up a measly 2 seats in the senate. It was a similar story in 1998, we lost 5 seats in the House and neither picked up or lost seats in the senate. We had Clinton and The RINOs to blame for trying to destroy the career of Newt Gingrich.
In 2000, we ran a candidate who talked like a conservative. George W. Bush convinced people he was the best of their conservative values, and the best of Bill Clinton as well. A “compassionate” conservative, he believed both in tax cuts as well as an expansion of federal education programs and prescription drug benefits. We were all so desperate to find a candidate with any kind of charisma to help us win. We barely won the electoral vote in the Presidential election, lost the popular vote, lost seats in the House, and lost four seats in the senate.
Things changed briefly in 2002 and 2004. With the nation still reeling from 9/11 and wanting robust national security, and with Bush still talking like a conservative he was able to bring the Republicans House and Senate wins in 2002. We picked up 2 senate seats, regaining the majority in the senate, and 8 House seats. In 2004, Bush won reelection, this time with the majority of the popular vote, a gain of four Republican seats in the senate and three seats in the House. This was not terribly difficult considering the Democrats ran their worst candidate in years, Sen. John Kerry.
During their time in power, Republicans passed massive budgets, passed the largest entitlement package in our history since The Great Society, the senior citizens prescription drug benefit program. The party that once called for the end of the Department of Education passed the No Child Left Behind Act, which expanded the federal government’s role in education to unprecedented levels. Then came the advocation of Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill of 2006 and Americans had enough. It was a toxic cocktail mind you, the conservative base hated the idea and the media made out like the conservative base were racists against Hispanics. This ruined any gains the GOP made with the Hispanic vote in 2004. There is of course a happy median. Conservatives want the borders secure and laws enforced, the first people that would be hurt by a comprehensive immigration reform scheme are law abiding Hispanic immigrants. Americans were tired of the Republican Party, and who can blame them?
In 2008, until Fred Thompson joined the race for the Republican Presidential nomination, it was “pick your poison,” we had a group of moderates. One acceptable moderate, Rudy Guiliani didn’t seem to care about any state except Florida. A man who talked like a conservative, Mike Huckabee’s populist past was coming back to haunt him. The thought of Mitt Romney trying to take the mantle of Reagan was almost laughable because of his convenient election year conversions on key conservative issues and his RomneyCare Health Care system in Massachusettes which was failing as bad as anyone who knows anything about Universal Health Care might expect. The lone real conservative, Fred Thompson, just didn’t seem to care. It was the devil Repupublicans knew, John McCain, vs. the devil they didn’t know. And they chose the ultimate moderate and the rest is history. We took our biggest blow since 1964.
With all due respect to Mr. Powell, I think we’ve tried the moderate track for quite a while and it has not worked. What we need to do is go back to that blue print of winning land slide election. We need to talk about core principles and we should not be afraid to challenge President Obama on key issues that would change our country forever. We need to go back to less government, not more. Less interference in our lives, not more. We need to be the party of fiscal responsibility, national security, energy indepenence. We need to the be a party that inspires people, that sees the potential in every individual and wants America to succeed. At the risk of offending Gov. Jeb Bush, we need to be the party of Reagan once more. Until the Republican Party gets that, expect the downhill spiral to continue and get worse and worse.