Another ‘Time for Choosing’
Our Rendezvous With Destiny
“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual – or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” –Samuel Adams (1781)
In one week (unless delayed by a runoff), we will know if Republicans, including a few new conservatives, were able to regain control of the Senate. If successful, the GOP will have a critical opportunity to contain the policy ambitions of the rogue Socialist Democrat regime now occupying the executive branch, as well as its supporting cast in the House and Senate.
At this point, I would rather be waterboarded than subjected to the flood of more political propaganda – especially since I am on the White House and DNC distribution lists (competitor intelligence). But don’t succumb to political fatigue – go and VOTE.
If you live in New Hampshire, Kansas, Georgia, North Carolina, Louisiana, Iowa, Alaska or Colorado, take a friend – take a busload of friends! I can assure you, the Democrat busses will be running on schedule.
Do not be discouraged that a few Republicans are unable or unwilling to articulate a clear conservative message, especially in a week when we mark the 50th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s timeless manifesto outlining a conservative mandate for the future.
Republican “leaders” in the House and Senate would do well to revisit that manifesto, and then demonstrate enough humility to step aside. The time has come for a new generation of conservative leaders – those who honor their oaths “to Support and Defend” our Constitution, who clearly articulate our Founder’s vision for Liberty, who are committed to legislation that comports with that vision, and, moreover, will challenge executive and legislative actions that do not.
Shortly after Reagan parted ways with the once-noble Democrat Party – or as he insisted, “I did not leave the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party left me” – he delivered “A Time for Choosing” in support of 1964 Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. It was a 28-minute speech, which he wrote himself and delivered without aid of teleprompters. It was, and remains, an expo on the essential Reagan.
In the run-up to the ‘64 campaign, with the '60s “cultural revolution” as a backdrop, Goldwater’s opponent, Democrat incumbent Lyndon Johnson, launched his populist Great Society initiatives, the largest expansion of central-government social programs since Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” boondoggles.
Goldwater, in his quest to defeat Johnson’s statist expansionism, endeavored to rekindle the spirit of American Liberty with a campaign platform constructed on our nation’s foundational principles and framed in the advocacy of individual liberty, the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and the promotion of free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values.
During his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination, Goldwater famously thundered, “Extremism in the defense of Liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!”
Alas, it was too little, too late. Goldwater could not overcome the momentum of JFK’s heir-apparent, his promise of endless government handouts and his Cold War “Daisy” television ads asserting that a vote for Goldwater was a vote for nuclear holocaust.
I should note that, however well-intentioned it might have been – or not – it was Johnson’s statist policies that resulted in a “kinder, gentler” holocaust of sorts for generations of mostly black Americans who, in effect, were and remain enslaved on the Democrats’ urban poverty plantations. To paraphrase Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
Paradoxically, those plantation dependents have become the Democrats’ most loyal “victim constituency,” typically giving more than 95% of its votes to the party of handouts.
But neither the oppressive New Deal nor Great Society administrations have been able to extinguish the eternal flame of Liberty.
In 1980, Ronald Reagan won the presidency on the same platform he outlined for Goldwater 16 years earlier, in what had become known as simply, “The Speech.” Reagan carried 44 states in 1980, and in 1984 won 49 states – a dramatic testament to his ideas and his leadership.
Unfortunately, Reagan’s vice president, George H.W. Bush, who won his 1988 presidential bid on the success of Reagan’s policies, had squandered that legacy by 1992. Now, two decades and a Clinton, another Bush and an Obama later, the nation’s domestic and foreign policies have again fallen into dangerous disarray, to put it in the mildest terms.
Today, some 220 million of our fellow citizens were not even born when Reagan first issued his challenge to choose between Liberty and tyranny. And yet the future of American Liberty still depends on a clear understanding of that enduring challenge.
In “A Time for Choosing,” Reagan summarized the hallowed ground plowed and seeded by George Washington and our Founders, and that speech, along with the Reagan speeches that followed, are outstanding guides for Republicans today.
Concluding his ‘64 speech, Reagan said, “You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.”
That clarion call raises an imminent question for GOP leadership today: If Republicans gain majority status in the Senate, then what?
Certainly, neither the current House nor Senate “leaders” demonstrate the ability or even the willingness to articulate a plan for paying Liberty forward to the next generation, much less sustaining it for the present.
“A leader,” said Reagan, “once convinced a particular course of action is the right one, must have the determination to stick with it and be undaunted when the going gets rough.” Clearly, he was just such a leader.
But under the current GOP leadership, there has been neither a clear course of action nor the necessary determination to stick with such action. Some “establishment Republicans” are learning the hard way that if they are not going to lead, then they must get out of the way. A “Tea Party” candidate in Virginia’s 7th congressional district primary defeated former Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor earlier this year, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is now fighting for his political life against Democrat Alison Grimes.
Clearly, if Republicans gain control of the Senate next week, it will not have been earned as a result of GOP “leadership,” but rather the result of Barack Obama’s colossal failures.
It is long past time for young and fresh Republican leadership in both the House and Senate – and there are rising leaders who are more than capable of making the conservative case for the future. Of course, that will lead to fratricidal disputes of the sort that, by 2012, had largely suppressed the very successful 2010 grassroots Tea Party Movement, which accounted for the “wave” election of 2010, when Republicans won 63 House seats and regained control of that chamber.
On the campaign trail for Democrat senators this week, Joe Biden himself made the case for new conservative leadership in the House and Senate. He asserted, “If we don’t stop the march of the [Tea Party conservatives] now, the majority Republicans in the House and Senate who know better are never going to have the courage to stand up and vote the right way.”
Let that sink in. Biden is saying what Obama would say if he had not been asked to stay away from every campaign. If the House and Senate had conservative leadership, Republicans wouldn’t “vote the right way.”
In 1977, Reagan outlined a plan for “The New Republican Party,” stating, “The principles of conservatism are sound because they are based on what men and women have discovered through experience in not just one generation or a dozen, but in all the combined experience of mankind. When we conservatives say that we know something about political affairs, and what we know can be stated as principles, we are saying that the principles we hold dear are those that have been found, through experience, to be ultimately beneficial for individuals, for families, for communities and for nations – found through the often bitter testing of pain, or sacrifice and sorrow.”
Over the last 25 years, there has been a succession of conservative mandates for Congress that follow the Reagan model for restoration. Some have been successful and have emboldened conservative candidates to step up – and in each case they have multiplied our numbers in the House and Senate. Those mandates have created sharp distinctions between the parties, and Republican leaders should embrace and trumpet the contrast between conservatives and liberals. “Partisanship” and “gridlock” are not bad words. Republicans should embrace the fact that Liberty is colorblind and that it extends to all Americans.
The good news, regardless of the Senate outcome next week, is that the number of conservatives in the House and Senate, and across the nation, is steadily growing.
Now, go vote!
Pro Deo et Constitutione – Libertas aut Mors
Semper Fortis Vigilate Paratus et Fidelis
- conservative mandate
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