by Lone SharkIn the wake of last week’s General Election defeat at the hands of President Barack Obama, many Republicans as well as those in the conservative movement are apoplectic, still in shock from the defeat and searching for answers. Many notable establishment conservatives such as Sean Hannity, Bill Kristol and others are already caving to Democrats, as the former now supports amnesty for illegals and the latter doesn’t have a problem with hiking taxes on the so called “rich.”
Many others are advocating that Republicans “move to the center” on social issues like abortion and gay marriage and finally embrace some form of amnesty for illegal immigrants- only these steps, they say will enable the Republican Party to reclaim the White House and by shoring up their base, broadening their appeal to independent voters and minorities and attract Libertarians back into the the “right” coalition.
Some deep breaths are in order please. Yes, the Republican party needs to refine its message and run better candidates, but it also must recommit to the principles that it is supposed to be espousing without apology. We outlined what those principles were over three years ago in this very space. Caving to the Democrats on amnesty for illegal immigrants will not only win us any votes, it will effectively end Republicans’ prospects for ever returning to the White House.
Libertarians are right to point out many places where Republicans have gone adrift, and moving forward, it’s essential that Republicans get back to basics and stress our core principles. That means stressing the virtues of the free market and ending cronyism- Republicans must talk the talk and walk the walk when it comes to earmarks, subsidies, and corporate welfare.
We’ve also got to get serious about federalism and delineating just what issues rightly belong under the proper purview of the states. Rather than getting tripped up on or compromising on issues of abortion, contraception, gay marriage, etc., how about reminding voters that these are issues that either state legislatures should be deciding or individuals should be responsible for rather than the federal government? Much more consistency is needed from Republicans on this front.Bringing an end to the “war on drugs” and drug prohibition is another area where Republicans and Libertarians should find common ground. With state referendums for marijuana legalization gaining steam in the states, Republicans should remind folks that this again is a matter reserved for the states even as they discourage drug use. At minimum, Republicans need to bring an end to the war on drugs and allow the states to decide questions of crime and punishment pertaining to the intrastate commerce of drugs either for medical or recreational purposes.
One area where Libertarians are deficient is in articulating a coherent foreign policy. For all of Ron Paul’s valid points about quantitative easing and runaway domestic spending, the Republican party’s standard bearer must have a credible foreign policy- knee jerk isolationism and threatening to summarily cut all foreign aid isn’t going to cut it.
While a more realistic appraisal of our defense commitments abroad is in order, many Libertarians including Paul harbor a lot of naivete about the growing threat of radical Islam as well as the increasing international security threats that we’re now confronting. We can’t have the Democrats running as the more credible, hawkish defenders of legitimate American interests overseas- that’s traditionally been our advantage.
That’s not to say that the Party should continue to espouse some of the unrealistic visions of certain alleged “neo-cons,” but we most certainly need to shore up our legitimate interests abroad and credibly project power- we can be more intelligent about choosing where and how much our commitments should be. On this front, perhaps Rand Paul will remind us that not only can we not afford to keep many of our current defense commitments, but also that we do have legitimate interests abroad that must be defended and that there are credible and evolving threats that must be confronted.
It truly is a shame that many Libertarians are more content to register protest votes than they are to actually influence the direction of the country. If we’re going to return this country to center-right status, forging a new political alliance is necessary. Ron Paul’s efforts, particularly with younger people have turned many of them on to a set of ideals and principles where default liberalism once dominated. Republicans have to reform the Party by getting back to first principles, and Libertarians have to be animating that conversation within the Party.No one, whether you’re a movement conservative, rank and file Republican or Libertarian has “clean hands” as it pertains to why we are in the predicament we are in- folks must begin to put egos aside if we’re interested in restoring constitutional precepts to their rightful place. We did not author these time-honored principles, we inherited them- that fact alone should breed humility amongst us all before we start pointing fingers at each other. It’s well past time to Unite or Die, as they say.
As we prepare to bear witness to another four years of economic destruction, government intrusion, naked cronyism, obscene spending and bureaucratic inertia at the hands of Barack Obama, how serious are we about bringing these to an end and restoring our republic? Time is quickly running out, and Democrats are playing for keeps while we’re fighting in the sandbox on the sidelines.
It seems inevitable now that we’ll be witnessing the collapse of our Republic in the not too distant future through a sovereign debt crisis- when exactly is anyone’s guess, but it’s coming. Is our nation irretrievably lost? What then will rise in its ashes? These are questions we all need to be seriously contemplating with the frankness and honesty they deserve. Obama supporters may be gloating in the aftermath of their electoral triumph, but what lies ahead will hardly be an outcome worth celebrating.