Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?
Up From The Abyss - How does the Republican Party come back?
By Kevin Rex Heine, Section News
(Promoted by Nick for the sheer effort of it alone!)
Back in June of 2004, when I was taking class in Professional Ethics at Davenport University, I had to answer two questions (among eight that week) that caused me to reflect upon a man that I had not, until that time, realized had become a personal hero of mine. One question required me to identify a person that I would choose to use as a role model to emulate; the other required me to evaluate the question of character vs. conduct in politics. Now for those of you who were paying attention to the month and year, you may recall that this was about the time that Ronald Reagan's funeral ceremonies were being conducted. It was in reflecting on those two questions - while watching all of the memorializing of President Reagan's life and career - that I came to the surprising realization of just how much of his way of doing things I had incorporated into my own personal style.
In preparing for the Michigan Republican State Convention, to which KCRC has elected me as a delegate, I have been reviewing Ronald Reagan's speeches. There are good archives at Federalism and the New Conservatism, Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library, and the National Archives & Records Administration; he also has a really good Wikiquote page. In doing this, I picked up on something that I guess I always knew was there, but I now saw more clearly than I had before. In previous posts - specifically Recovering From the Wreckage, Random Thoughts, and KCRC Project 2010 Kickoff - I've stated a few arguments, mine or others', about what we need to do to rise as a party from the ashes left by the Obama-tsunami. Consider this post a refinement of my original arguments.
Ronald Wilson Reagan was a rare one. In an era when our nation was divided within itself, uncertain of its future, and questioning it own legitimacy, there came upon the scene one man firmly convinced of the correctness of his beliefs, the potential of his country, and the rightness of his cause. Contrary to popular belief, Ronald Reagan had an amazing mind for detail, but he was also a master of delegation. He was friendly and accessible, but refused to yield one step on his goals.
In realizing his vision, Ronald Reagan practiced a singularity of purpose that made the entire world stand up and take notice, though his opinions ran diametrically opposed to the conventional thinking of that day. In nearly every case, Reagan's decisions and actions were counter-recommended by his staff, or heavily questioned and criticized by his political opponents and the press. Yet, in each instance, his decisions were proven right by their results. This single-minded clarity of purpose and vision confounded Reagan's critics, united one nation, and brought about the demise of another.
This rock-solid character was not something that Ronald Reagan had crafted for the purpose of having a "public face" to sell to the voters. Indeed, the recollections of the history of our late 40th President clearly paint a picture of a man whose "core of steel" was built on a foundation consisting of a firm Christian faith, unflagging work ethic, perpetual accessibility, and an unquestioning belief in the potential of America. Only a man of such character could be expected to earn the respect, if not necessarily the favor, of opponents both domestically and abroad.
Whether it was 1957 or 1994 (or anywhere in between); whether he was speaking to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the 1988 graduating class at Moscow State University, our NATO allies, the United Nations General Assembly, the Republican National Convention, the State of California, the nation at large, or the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce; whether he was debating with Robert F. Kennedy, George H.W. Bush, John Anderson, Jimmy Carter, or Walter Mondale; no matter the time, audience, or opponent, his message never changed. They weren't always in equal measure in every speech, nor always stated the exact same way, but the "Reagan Talking Points" were always covered, as solidly and unchangingly as any other truth:
Freedom and liberty are fragile things, and never more than a generation from extinction. They're not ours by inheritance, and we didn't pass them on to our children in the bloodstream. They must be fought for, protected, and handed on for each generation to do the same, or one day we'll spend our sunset years telling our children and grandchildren what it was once like in America back in the day when men and women were free. Those who have known freedom and lost it have never known it again, for it comes only once to a people.
We are a nation with a government - not the other way around. There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts. Of course, the reverse of this is also true, but no government has ever voluntarily reduced itself in size. (Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see this side of the grave.) We have found that when people have the right to make decisions as close to home as possible, they usually make the right decisions. But as long as government has the power to tax, they can always take from the people whatever they need to keep government programs running.
The federal government did not create the states - the states created the federal government. Do we believe in our capacity for self-government, or do we abandon the American Revolution and confess that an intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves? The federal government has taken on functions that it was never intended to perform and which it doesn't perform well - in direct violation of the 10th Amendment - and those functions, and their funding sources, should be transferred back to state and local governments in a planned and orderly manner.
The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principle upon which it was founded. This idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the governed, still the newest and most unique idea in all the long history of man's relation to man, makes its first, last, and greatest stand in this nation. Proliferating government bureaus, with their thousands of regulations, have cost us many of our constitutional safeguards - to the point that our natural, inalienable rights are now increasingly considered a dispensation of the government. (For example, private property rights are so diluted that "public interest" is almost anything that government planners decide it should be.) Accepting as necessary greater government involvement in the citizens' everyday affairs is to be thoroughly rejected.
Outside of its legitimate functions, government does nothing as economically or as effectively as the private sector. Governments don't control things, especially the economy; they control people . . . and must use force and coercion to accomplish that. Government is not the solution to problems - government either rearranges problems or is itself the problem, and government is never more dangerous than when our desire to have it help us blinds us to its power to harm us. Government should uphold and not undermine those institutions (religion, education, and family) which are custodians of the very values upon which every free civilization is founded.
Peace Through Strength - deterrence is essential to preserve our way of life. War is probably man's greatest stupidity; unfortunately, it doesn't take two to make a war; it only takes one, unless the other one is prepared to surrender at the first hint of force. Americans are certainly a peace-loving people; we resort to force infrequently, with great reluctance, and only after determining that it is absolutely necessary. But our enemies must know that there is a price we will not pay, and a point beyond which they may not advance. Accommodation in pursuit of peace is appeasement, and gives no choice between peace and war, but only between fight and surrender. The safety and security of the American people must not be successfully threatened by a hostile foreign power (without fear of overwhelming reprisal), because war comes not when the forces of freedom are strong, but when they are weak - they begin when governments believe that the price of aggression is cheap.
The United Nations has its uses, but American interests shouldn't be subordinated to its agenda. We are for an international organization where the nations of the world can seek peace. But we are against subordinating American interests to an organization that has become so structurally unsound that today you can muster a two-thirds vote on the floor of the United Nations General Assembly exclusively using nations that represent less than 10 percent of the world's population. And we should never subordinate American military forces to the command of an organization whose own Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 29-3) subordinates all human rights and freedoms to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
The key to restoring the health of the economy lies in cutting taxes and eliminating the waste in government spending. A punitive tax system must be replaced by one that restores incentive for workers, businesses, and industries, rewarding initiative and effort, and encouraging thrift. You and I, as individuals, can, by borrowing, live beyond our means, but for only a limited period of time. Why, then, should we think that collectively, as a nation, we're not bound by that same limitation? The government cannot just print money or raise the debt limit every time it faces a spending shortage; government bureaucracy must live in the real world - which means that it must spend realistically, streamline its functions, and be accountable to the people it serves.
We cannot diminish the value of one category of human life - the unborn - without diminishing the value of all human life. The real question today is not when human life begins, but, what is the value of human life? Regrettably, we live at a time when some persons do not value all human life; they want to pick and choose which individuals have value. The cultural environment for a human holocaust is present whenever any society can be misled into defining individuals as less than human and therefore devoid of value and respect. Infanticide flows inevitably from permissive abortion as another step in the denial of the inviolability of innocent human life. Abraham Lincoln recognized that we could not survive as a free land when some men could decide that others were not fit to be free and should therefore be slaves. Likewise, we cannot survive as a free nation when some men decide that others are not fit to live and should be abandoned to abortion or infanticide. As a nation, we must choose between the "sanctity of life" ethic and the "quality of life" ethic - it is not for us to decide who is worthy to live and who is not.
The trouble with liberals and socialists isn't that they're ignorant, but that they know so much that isn't so. The problems currently facing us are not so complex that they are beyond our comprehension - and the answers to those problems are simple, but they are neither convenient nor easy. We accept without reservation our obligation to help those who, through no fault of their own, must depend on their fellow man - but there is neither humanity nor charity in destroying the very substance of moral fiber by using a permanent dole to perpetuate poverty. Conservation is desirable, efficiency should be promoted, and both waste and pollution must be eliminated to the extent possible, but this is not anything remotely resembling a sound energy policy - domestic production, within appropriate safety protocols, is the obvious answer (and cleaner sources should be developed by the private sector as they become feasible). There is no good reason that this nation must resign itself to inevitable and irreversible decline, renounce its high standard of living and production, and join in the sharing of scarcity.
America as a shining city upon a hill - the last, best hope of man on earth. An informed and well-grounded patriotism is what we should want, and it used to be a way of life in America. We used to be taught very directly, through schools and entertainment, what it meant to be an American, but some things have changed. We need to reinstitutionalize an unambivalent appreciation of America based not on what's in fashion but what's important. If we forget what we did, then we won't know who we are, and we'll begin an eradication of the American memory that could result, ultimately, in an erosion of the American spirit. All great change in America begins at the dinner table, with parents teaching their children what it means to be Americans.
If we're looking to communicate a message, then we can have no better one than to repeat the truths that Ronald Reagan retaught this entire nation. And we shouldn't worry so much about sounding stale or tired; remember that Reagan spoke essentially the same message for 37 years without it getting old. The truth about what really makes America great is the truth about what makes America great. And frankly, sticking to our core principles, which are based on that truth, cannot be a bad thing.
So let's think about what any true Republican (whether Libertarian, Centrist, or Conservative) will agree upon. In Random Thoughts From the Relative Privacy of a Bar, I posited that those principles would be these - in no particular order:
Some of us wonder how we might come up with another Reagan to counter the current tide of Obama-guided Socialism currently threatening to drown our country. I have an idea; how about we seek out someone who does what Reagan did, someone whose public image is a true reflection of their inner character, someone who understands what the legitimate functions of government are (and is committed to getting it back in line). In other words, we shouldn't look for a Reagan clone, but for someone who already embodies these principles (and can be counted on to adhere to them), and can communicate them to the public in a plain, common sense, easy-to-remember way so that the entire electorate will know not only what conservatism is, but why it's a good thing.
It is worth noting that John Boehner (R-OH-8), a member of the drafting committee of the Contract With America, is already being viewed as the second coming of Newt Gingrich, and perhaps he is. He would certainly be a fitting leader for a potential Republican comeback in the House of Representatives, and a solid choice as Speaker of the House. The current opinion is that Mike Huckabee is the most-likely nominee for the 2012 Republican Presidential candidacy, with either Sarah Palin or Ron Paul as the VPOTUS candidate. Quite frankly, I think either pairing would do this nation a great deal of good.
Ultimately, as Mike Volpe has suggested, rather than rolling over and playing dead, giving up anything and everything to escape the rout, or launching blunderbuss reactionary attacks to any and every Obamanation that we disagree with, instead the Republicans must retreat strategically in order to win in 2010. (Military guys will know what the term "strategic retreat" means.) And if I recall my tactical and operational training correctly, then there are some keys to successfully conducting a strategic retreat:
I don't know if this is a good thing, but I was watching some of the hubbub about the "Government Stimulus Bill" over the weekend, and I gathered pretty quickly that President Obama's burned up quite a bit of political capital in getting it passed. Seriously, it seems like he's going to govern the way he campaigned. Really, the reason that it had to get done right now was so that Speaker Pelosi could jet over to Italy to meet with the Pope and receive an award from the Italian Legislature. The ego-trip couldn't wait until Tuesday?
But evidently, as has been mentioned elsewhere on this site, the Democrat-Socialists are convinced that their 2008 electoral tsunami entitles them to do things in Washington as they see fit, abandon any pretense of "bi-partisanship," and screw "We the People." The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was drafted with zero Republican input, conferenced with zero Republican input, given to K Street before Congress ever saw the compromise version, and moved to approval (pending The Chosen One's signature) so quickly that no reasonable person could expect that Congress understood what they were voting on or for. Maybe we should be on the lookout for a Venezuela-style attempt to overturn the Twenty-Second Amendment.
Dick Morris' prediction was that Obama's name would be mud by the time that the 2010 elections rolled around, but I don't think that he expected it to occur this quickly. Sure, Porky 2009 will be law before the month is over, but the economy isn't going to get any better anytime soon. In fact, the signs of recovery that we were seeing are now going or gone; the private sector doesn't trust this thing, and is responding accordingly.
But let's bring this back to state issues (this being Right MICHIGAN and all). How does this apply to what we're doing at the 2009 MIGOP Convention? Well, as I addressed in Recovering From the Wreckage, several Kent County GOP legislators are actively working within the Lansing GOP Caucus to pick three issues - and only three issues - and start, right away, hammering on them to the point that the drumbeat reverberates throughout the entire state electorate for the 2009 - 2010 election cycle. Any more than three issues and we risk diluting our effectiveness. Unfortunately, due to a constitutional requirement, one is already pre-selected for us this time around, but these are my ideas anyway:
Our principal focus absolutely must be on doing whatever it takes to reverse the losses of the last two election cycles. And I most certainly mean "whatever it takes," exactly as I said it, with the key caveat that whatever we do must be so within the bounds of all applicable laws that it is unchallengeable by any reasonable person. (This includes adapting the BHO and DNC tactics that worked so well, as long as our adaptations are legal and lawful.) The Liberal, Statist, Libertines of the Democrat-Socialist Party (with RINO cooperation) have us backed into a corner and surrounded right now . . . which means that they cannot escape. We have never had a better opportunity!
Take the time to refresh yourself on what the core values of a faithful Republican are, and then so thoroughly incorporate those principles into your daily activity and discourse that others notice, become curious, and want to know why you think as you do. Explain it to them. Stay away from names; just explain the concepts in simple, easy to understand terms.
As I've said before, take a stand. Become the single point of light in your neighborhood, at school, at work, or wherever it is that you go. Some will resist, but others will enjoy the light so much that they will absorb it themselves. Over time, your torch will light many candles. Only in that way will we permanently push back the looming darkness of Socialism.
Up From The Abyss - How does the Republican Party come back? | 0 comments ( topical, 0 hidden)
Related Links+ Michigan Republican State Convention
+ Federalism and the New Conservatism
+ Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library
+ National Archives & Records Administration
+ previous posts
+ Recovering From the Wreckage
+ Random Thoughts
+ KCRC Project 2010 Kickoff
+ Ronald Wilson Reagan
+ Universal Declaration of Human Rights
+ article 29-3
+ In Random Thoughts From the Relative Privacy of a Bar
+ Oklahoma template
+ Indiana template
+ John Boehner
+ Contract With America
+ Mike Huckabee
+ Sarah Palin
+ Ron Paul
+ as Mike Volpe has suggested
+ as has been mentioned elsewhere on this site
+ Venezuela- style
+ Twenty-Sec ond Amendment
+ Senator Bishop's ideas
+ I have already written considerably on the subject
+ 2006-HIB-5 771
+ 2006-HIB-5 772
+ 2007-HIB-4 454
+ Robert Young
+ Elizabeth Weaver
+ Issues Committee Report
+ Also by Kevin Rex Heine