Reform, Conservatives, Republicans
Conservatives Must Think Outside the Box!: But work within their Party
by J.B. Williams
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Finally and not a moment too soon, the conservative American majority is beginning to allow their years of contentment and apathy to turn to intolerance, anger, outrage and impatience. Now if they can just channel that rage into something productive, rather than allowing it to corner them into committing political suicide, as it did in 1992 and 1996.
I have an important question that must be answered before we can address change of any kind. If conservatives lack the power to reform their party, (and they wouldn't seek third party options otherwise), how can they possibly think they have the power to reform the entire country?
You will get no argument from me on the topic of needing new blood in Washington DC, regardless of party affiliations. The question is - how do we attract the right kind of new blood without shooting ourselves in the foot in a blind fit of anger? Conservatives are fed up and ready to take action, but what kind of action?
It doesn't take a rocket scientist or even a calculator to figure out the net effect of staying home or voting third party alternatives come November. For those who missed the lesson regarding protest votes in 1992, we got to see it again in 1996. Do we really need to see it yet again in 2006 or 2008? I'd like to think that no conservative is that learning impaired.
Of all the reader feedback I get from across this great land, one theme seems consistent. We are mad as hell, no longer convinced that just voting the Republican Party line can get the job done and we are ready for change, but what change and how? Well, first of all, voting party lines has always been both lazy and foolish. Now that we live with the fruits of those votes, we can see why.
But the goal isn't to just affect change - it is to affect positive change. I don't pretend to have all the answers, but I think I have some of the answers. First we must eliminate all bad ideas beginning with the notion of not voting at all, or casting protest votes, a proven disaster. We need to reform our party from top to bottom. Fixing a V-8 currently running on only 6 cylinders is much easier than building a new engine from scratch
Face reality, if we had two great pro-American parties like we once did, nobody would even consider dividing this country into a multitude of special interest driven fragmented parties. We only consider such a move because one of the primary parties has taken a swan dive off the left coast into a sea of socialist endeavors, and the other has been forced to follow suit, growing accustomed to ignoring their base who customarily send money and otherwise mind their own business. If there was ever any doubt that your silence is your consent, there can't be now.
That should about cover the idea that conservatives must work within their own party if they hope to affect positive change. Now for the thinking outside the box part
Don't confuse loyalty to principles with party loyalty. Conservatives (including myself) who support and defend certain principles and policies are often accused of being party apologists. This is an attempt to divide conservatives through guilt by association. Our party leaders have clearly lost focus of fundamental conservative values. Not entirely, but far too much. This is largely the result of the "big tent" effort to bring a broader variety of views in under the party tent over the last several elections. In other words, this was an intentional calculated maneuver. As such, another intentional calculated maneuver can reverse that trend.
Remember that life (including politics) is cyclical. Someone once decided that the conservative party was getting too narrow in its principles and sought to expand those principles to include more moderate views. That decision helped hoist conservatives into almost unchallenged power. But then those broader views became too broad in their application and now true conservatives want to reform the party back to its more conservative roots. As well we should
Just be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water.
Don't lose sight of the big picture. Despite the areas that demand attention with much room for improvement, conservatives have still gotten it far more right than wrong.
Many of their policies have worked miraculously well even through some of the most tumultuous times in American history. The economy continues to expand, unemployment is near a record low, home ownership is at an all time high, they have successfully defended against 9/11 follow-up attacks while liberating more than 50 million of the worlds most tortured people in the darkest regions of the globe and eliminated the regimes of two terrorism sponsor states. They have done a lot right
They just have more to do.
There are areas of great concern which demand the attention of all conservatives. The cornerstone of conservatism, limited government, is showing signs of wear and tear. A Republican president and his Republican congress now have the distinguished honor of being the biggest federalist social spenders in US history. The basis of conservatism is an anti-federalist approach to personal freedom and liberty. Too many republicans in Washington today have lost sight of this reality. They need to refocus their objectives or retire from the battle field
Another bedrock principle of conservatism is our national sovereignty and security, both of which are under great attack today. We have laws intended to preserve and defend American principles from within our borders, at our boarders and beyond our borders. All of these defenses are inadequate to defend national sovereignty and security today and they must be fixed. But before we can fix them, we must first fix what is wrong in the minds of too many Americans, namely, the belief that America must assimilate into some One World Socialist Order at the direction of foreign entities, rather than continue to be the world leader via promoting real freedom and liberty for all.
Since the beginning of America's history, America's primary export has been freedom, liberty and democracy. America remains the most desired residence on earth because it is the bastion of hope as a result of these three basic beliefs, which embody religious, economic and personal freedom. We have immigration problems today in part because we have not helped lead other nations to solve their own moral, economic and humanitarian crisis. Meanwhile, socialists working from within our own borders threaten these very things on our own soil.
These areas must be addressed. Socialists Democrats are not ever going to address any of these problems because they don't see any of these things as problems. They see all of these problems as only opportunities for growth of their federal dependency party. If they are to ever be fixed, true anti-federalist conservatives will have to do the fixing. But republicans must first be convinced that the American people insist on having them fixed.
Identifying the problems is great, but without a cure, it only adds to the frustration. Conservatives must work within their own party, but they must also learn the think outside the box when it comes to the cures. They must restore their party before they can effectively restore their country.
Contrary to popular opinion, politicians do listen to the people. But which people? Which voice has been louder over the last 60 years, the voice demanding more and more from the federal government, or the voice demanding less government? An easy question to answer, wouldn't you say? And as a result, the politicians on both sides of the aisle have responded over and over to the never ending demand for more government intrusion into private conditions and circumstances.
Nearly half of America now believes that the primary function of the federal government is to care for the personal daily economic needs of every American. The founders surely disagreed, as do I. These ideas are flatly "un-American", in that "freedom" and "liberty" are based entirely upon on the right of self-determination, including economically. Redistribution of wealth by whatever means for whatever well intended purposes, remains a socialist principle. Yet many Americans believe in it today and that's where the problem begins.
From there on, the wrangling over who has the greater need and what is the greater good ensues and because acting in self-interests alone means we will never agree, the federal government must grow in order to supply all demands for "economic equality".
On another front, as a moral conservative, I am firmly anti-abortion. But as a true political conservative, I am even more anti-federal government. I am astounded by the fact that so many self-styled conservatives demand that our federal government engage in such a personal and private matter.
What these self-styled conservatives must some day realize, is that the same thing that drives them to demand federal engagement in the private decision of abortion, causes the left to demand federal engagement in issues like gay rights, social welfare, gun control and so on. Both demand federal resolutions to personal problems and require the never ending growth of the federal government expected to respond.
What I'm getting at here, is we have exactly what the people have demanded, a bigger and more intrusive, ever blossoming progressive bureaucracy, operating more and more independent of the governed as it becomes more and more powerful itself. This is the very problem anti-federalist founders like Jefferson warned us about more than 200 years ago.
Third Party alternatives secure only minority party victories. Staying home on Election Day in protest has the same net affect. Working inside the party will only work if we can think outside the box.
The voice of reform must become louder than the voice to continue on our current path to self-destruction and that voice must first be heard by our own representatives. We have plenty of evidence, even recently, to prove that once that voice becomes loud, clear and convincing, politicians will react, even if in their own self-preservation.
In this regard, don't waste your voice, your vote, or especially your money. I encourage you to take some time to read my two part column on this subject, The People Still Have Power and The People Still Have Power- Part II.
If you really want your country to move in the right direction, move your party in the right direction first. If we don't have the power to move our party, we don't have the power to move the country either. Stop looking for an escape route and start confronting these issues head on and never give up on this country. With all its flaws, it remains by far the best country on earth and its potential is limited only by its peoples willingness to make tough choices and confront tough battles.
JB Williams is a business man, a husband, a father, and a writer. A no nonsense commentator on American politics, American history, and American philosophy. He is published nationwide and in many countries around the world. JB. Williams can be reached at: email@example.com
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