As 2013 comes to a close, the GOP finds itself in the enviable, if somewhat unexpected, position of commanding the political high ground in a mid-second term election year. With the generic vote showing the GOP with a 5 point lead over the democrats, a pickup of more than a dozen house seats is more than likely and the 7 needed to gain control of the senate, while not as likely, very much achievable. Yet we saw in 2012 the right GOP coalition of conservatives, libertarians and right of center moderates is more than capable of seizing defeat from the jaws of victory. Remember, we allowed a president who presided over the worst economy in half a century, imposed a widely unpopular government takeover of health care and implemented a disastrous foreign policy to be reelected. Controlling the high ground means we have the advantage of defining the agenda, but it also presents the opportunity for spectacular defeat.
For those of us who believe in free markets, limited government, equality of opportunity and personal responsibility, the imperative is to stop the Obama left in 2014 and set the groundwork for a Republican to take back the White house in 2016. We can play “could have, would have, should have” over missed opportunities in 2010 and 2012, or we can seize the moment and begin to right the course of the nation in 2014. The words here are not a policy prescription for renewal but rather a wish for the right to unite in its pursuit of a single shared objective, to stop the leftist drift we have been on since 2006 and begin the restoration of America by releasing the potential of the American people. It is my hope that as we move forward in the battles that will define 2014 we keep these few guiding principles in mind.
- The American People Seek Solutions, Not Opposition. Obamacare represents the greatest threat to the America economy of any government policy in half a century. Almost since it was adopted the majority of Americans have opposed the takeover of our health care by government. To the frustration of Nancy Pelosi, the more Americans have come to know Obamacare, the less they have liked it. While it is well and good that we on the right hang the O-Care albatross around the necks of the democrat left that shoved this down the throats of the American people with zero bi-partisan support, 2012 showed us that is not enough. The GOP and the right coalition have failed to present a single cohesive and comprehensive free market alternative to Obamacare. People want to believe in something, not simply oppose the wrong. Health care does need reform, free market reform. While some have tried to propose alternatives, no single viable plan has emerged. If Washington conservatives stop simply screaming “Repeal” and propose reforms that will truly improve healthcare, they will be embraced. The American people want to believe again.
- Shout Less, Think More. I am tired of idiots claiming to be conservative guiding lights. Growing up in the Goldwater, Reagan and Gingrich era’s, the right were the ones proposing the innovative and effective policy alternatives to the challenges and future of America. Somehow we lost that and have allowed those who simply scream no at increasingly loud volumes to take the helm. The left is still peddling the discredited neo-socialist ideology that they pushed for the last half of the 20th century. The American people have not moved left, but they will only follow the conservative/libertarian right if we demonstrate we are in fact the grownups in the room and are ready to lead. We have no right to power in 2014/16; leadership must be earned. Ideas and words matter, it’s time we think before we speak, they will listen.
- The Media Establishment Will Never Be Balanced, Take The Message to the People. The media establishment, particularly in the New York/Washington corridor will never give the GOP fair coverage, nothing new here. Get over it. In the early days of the internet it was conservatives who initially effectively embraced technology. Those days are gone. For the right to successfully regain control of government, we must bypass the media and take our ideas directly to the people. Forget converting viewers of MSNBC, they are the extreme left who wallow in their hate and envy. However, we must also stop talking to ourselves about how right we are and take our intellectual arguments directly to the people. Obsess on those who seek solutions and alternatives and forget the leftist screamers.
- Purity in Martyrdom is for Suicide Bombers. Those were the words of former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and with which I could not agree more. We must once again not only accept but embrace the diversity of ideas of the coalition of the right. Moderate is not a bad word, but rather a friend who needs support and encouragement to support you. Fight for your ideas based on their merits, rather than against those who do not agree totally with you. The conservative movement can never allow the ideological perfect to become the enemy of the politically achievable. In 1980 Ronald Reagan ran on a promise of an across the board 30 percent cut in personal income tax rates. Once in office in 1981 when the democrat controlled congress passed the Kemp-Roth Tax Cut which only contained a 25 percent cut, he did not veto it and issue an all or nothing demand. Reagan embraced victory and signed the bill before they changed their mind. Embrace those who are inclined to support, trust in the virtue of our beliefs and ideals.
- Be Aware of Motivation of Those Who Seek to Lead: Each of us needs to consider the motivations of self promoters who put their personal advancement ahead of advancing the cause and national interest. An idiot with a large following on Twitter is still and idiot. Presidential ambition can be admirable unless it is put ahead of the nation’s interest.
- America Cannot Afford Even 2 More Years of Obama Unchecked. With Harry Reid exercising the nuclear option and abandoning senate traditions to force through more leftist judges and appointees, we need to check mate Obama with effective, if not our right, GOP control of the senate. And don’t take 2016 for granted. The media establishment is ready to put Hillary in the White House in 2016 and never underestimate their ability to get what they want. That which advances our cause is virtuous, all else is working for the left.
- Embrace Reagan’s 11th Commandment, “Thou Shall Not Speak Ill of a Fellow Republican”. We have come to confuse high follower counts on Twitter with wisdom. Many cheered when moderate GOP senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) did not seek reelection in 2012. They celebrated the departure of a moderate who was not as conservative as most of us. What they got in exchange was a leftist senator, while declaring himself independent he caucuses with the D’s and is to the left of all but few in the senate. In what idiotic logic was this an improvement? Snowe supported every Republican Presidents Supreme Court nominations and most proposals. Most important, she voted for the GOP leadership in the senate and not Sen Reid. Think about this one long and hard. An 80 percent friend is better than a 100 percent advisory.
History is on our side and the apatite of the people for change is strong. Barack Obama has produced the worst economic record of any two term president in 75 years. Harry Reid and the do nothing Democrat Senate has produced one budget in his 7 years as Majority leader. Nancy Pelosi consumed so much leftist cool-aid that she is self delusional in her pursuit of an extreme left wing agenda which is supported only by the left wing of the democrat party. The political high ground is truly owned by Republicans in 2014, yet I wonder will we again let victory slip from our grasp. Only in victory will we stop the leftward drift in America and begin to restore the personal and economic freedoms we cherish.
To one and all an outstanding 2014, and let’s make 2014 the year Americans take back our freedoms.