What We Want From The Republicans

The Republicans have been pretty quiet while the Democrats self-destruct over their health care power grab. The angry citizens confronting imperial Democrats at town-hall meetings have been doing a fine job of expressing themselves so far, but eventually their anger will fade, and it will be time for the G.O.P. to step up and offer them an alternative to the Obama nightmare. They would be well advised to develop a clear understanding of what their constituents want, and what the country needs.

We need more than just a slight discount on the insane debt Obama has saddled the country with. It takes nothing away from the magnitude of the Obama failure to acknowledge that he doubled a deficit that was already far too large. We need a Republican leadership that can address the basic immorality, and inevitable disaster, of Big Government spending sprees, rather than just offering a few adjustments to spending priorities and calling it “compassionate conservatism.” The Republican electorate is not simply waiting for its chance to toddle up to the federal vending machine, stuff a trillion-dollar bill in the slot, and order its favorite snacks.

Republican candidates must recognize the Obama disaster as a unique opportunity to explain the fundamental flaws in the statist model our nation has pursued for generations. Obama was not a transformational figure. He merely jumped liberalism ahead by a few election cycles, and demonstrated the final, fatal absurdity of its philosophy. Republicans should take this unique opportunity to attack the horrendously mistaken, supposedly invulnerable assumptions which have guided the devolution of our federal government since the New Deal. Obama was the inevitable product of machinery that has been groaning and clanking in the American basement for decades. We don’t want Republicans to tell us how they could deliver the nanny state for a bit less money than Obama wanted to spend. We don’t want to hear the 2008 Democrats portrayed as well-meaning reformers who just over-reached a little bit, or handled the marketing effort for their programs badly. We need leaders with the courage to head down into the basement with sledgehammers, and start knocking Roosevelt and Johnson’s nightmare machine to pieces. It’s not enough to just roll the current madness back a little, then let the whole tragedy play itself out again, with our children as the captive audience.

Every politician runs on a platform of “change.” We want change in 2010… but, for once, we want the government to change. We’ve had enough of people like Obama trying to use the government to change us. We’re tired of being slammed with thousand-page bills that tell us what we have to sacrifice, and what we’re not allowed to do. We want to see some one-page bills that list things the government is not allowed to do.

We reject the assumption that virtue is the exclusive province of the State. We’ve had enough of being told we’re morally obligated to hand over our fortunes to thieves who squander it on fleets of luxury jet aircraft and endless foreign junkets. We see nothing moral about giving the State a dollar, so it can give a nickel to someone it finds deserving of our compulsory charity. We see the State as a necessary expense to secure our safety, and like all expenses, it should be kept to a prudent minimum.

We know that opportunity dies alongside risk and responsibility. America remains a land of incredible possibilities, populated by a brave and resourceful people. It is not well-served by an arrogant, power-hungry government that sees itself as the stern nursemaid of a dying nation, whose pain it seeks to manage by spreading misery as evenly as possible. We don’t need politicians to hold us down in our hospice beds, until we stop thrashing around.

We demand leadership that recognizes our virtue, instead of insulting us for daring to question theirs. We expect them to propose clear, carefully drafted laws that citizens of good faith can follow, without relying on an arcane priesthood of lawyers to manage every aspect of their lives. We expect politicians to cheerfully submit their proposals to public debate… and when those laws are ratified, we expect politicians to obey them. We elect representatives, not rulers. Self-government means the political class is obliged to live in the world their legislation creates.

We’re looking for political competence, as well as intellectual ability. It does little good to vote for people who have the right ideas, but no clue how to implement them. Political campaigns are not undergraduate lectures, revival meetings, or accounting seminars. The rules for Republican candidates are bitterly unfair… and extremely well-known. We don’t want to see any more deer-in-the-headlights expressions from candidates who can’t believe their “friends” in the media have betrayed them. We don’t want candidates who hide below decks while staffers run their campaigns aground. We absolutely do not need any Republican politician stupid enough to think he can get away with something just because Barack Obama did. The last Republican leader who should have been surprised by savagely dishonest Democrat attacks was Barry Goldwater, and he’s been dead for ten years. Conservatives are attracted to candidates who seem like “ordinary folks.” Well, there is nothing the Washington power elite despises more, and understands less, than “ordinary folks.” Every conservative candidate should be ready to deal with it.

We need confident leaders who draw strength from their conservative convictions. We don’t need any more candidates who internalize the Left’s caricature of Republicans, and begin their campaigns by drafting their concession speeches. We don’t need candidates who spend their time telling the voters what a fine upstanding statesman their honorable opponent is – the Democrats have a dozen television networks, and hundreds of newspapers, to handle that task. Republicans should have the fortitude to remind the voters about the bottomless corruption of the Democrats, and make the case that the horror show chronicled in Michelle Malkin’s new book is an inevitable result of Big Government, not a perversion of it. That means we don’t need any more clowns from the G.O.P. angling for a spot in the paperback release of Michelle’s book. For a conservative candidate, sincerity is strength, and cynicism is cancerous.

We don’t need opportunistic politicians who think the path to power involves carving a tasty slice from the Republican electorate, then tossing the rest to the wolves. The fiscal and social sides of conservatism are not warring camps to be played off each other. America needs both of them, for capitalism and freedom are both powerful and just, and they deserve an argument that is both logical and passionate. We don’t need candidates who see the 2010 campaign as their audition for a lucrative job as a CNN consultant in 2012. Our leadership must have higher ambitions than becoming the Left’s new favorite pet.

We ask our candidates for the faith to return control of our lives and wealth to the people. We ask for the determination to battle the inevitable wave of voter fraud that will be deployed in the next few elections. We ask for the humility to trust the people of a free nation over its ruling class. We ask for the vision to see that thirty-year-old bad ideas are not permanent fixtures that must be accepted forever. We ask for the wisdom to understand that all of this will be incredibly difficult… and the spirit to go ahead and do it anyway.

We are the great-grandchildren of the patriots who brought that spirit into the world, with the birth of our nation. We have heard the case from those who believe that nation should be dismantled, and witnessed the vile tactics they deploy to achieve that end. Americans have seen enough of Barack Obama’s party. Soon, they will turn to the loyal opposition, and ask if they have anything better to offer. The Republicans should have their answer ready, and be prepared to read it from memory, without the aid of a teleprompter.