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May 12, 2014

GOP Lacks Principled Leadership

Sometimes being a conservative in the Republican Party is like being Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day. You get up each day, go through the same motions, and watch disaster strike over and over again, never seeming to grasp the underlying truths necessary to make a clean break from a checkered past and take acquired knowledge and use it to progress. It is all the more infuriating because, no matter how many times you watch your party leadership do idiotic things, you know that there is not really any place else for you to go if you want to realize your dream of a limited, constitutional government based on the Judeo-Christian principles of the Founding Fathers.

As a conservative, you know that your principles have been applied to policy for hundreds of years, and when applied properly they have led to spectacular the expansion of financial prosperity, and the securing of individual liberties.

This is why you work within the Republican Party. This is why you spend your Saturdays knocking doors for candidates you support. This is why you stay informed on history, politics, economics, and current events. This is why you attend monthly party meetings, Precinct Mass Meetings, and multiple party nominating conventions each year. This is why you freeze half to death in the middle of the night the first week of every other November, driving around the district and putting out yard signs at the election precincts. This is why you do phone banking and fundraising. This is why you do the hundreds of little things that you do each day, each week, each month, and each year, to do your best to do your part to advance the cause of liberty in the best way you know how.

And yet all too often you end up feeling like Charlie Brown in the old Peanuts comic strip, with your own party’s leadership playing the role of Lucy, raising your hopes up that this time, THIS TIME, will be the time when you charge down the field and kick the leather right off the football.

But more often than not you end up flat on your back, the football lodged securely in Lucy’s hand, with her smirking at you as if to say, “Seriously? How many times are you going to fall for that trick?”

If Ronald Reagan was the Great Communicator, then the mealy-mouthed likes of John Boehner, John McCain, and Mitt Romney are the Great Equivocators. Reagan inspired the American people because he spoke of American greatness. He inspired us because he spoke eloquently and unapologetically of the Creator who guided the path of this great nation from a disorganized group of fledgling states, to the mightiest economic and military power that the world has ever seen. He spoke in plain language of why more government means less liberty, of the moral imperative of low taxes, minimal regulations, and limited government, explaining that the larger the government, the smaller the citizen. He declared we are a great nation not because we are a unique people, but because we have a unique form of government that, for the first time in history, declared that we are all created equal in the eyes of God, sovereign beings, and government is our servant; a servant that must never be trusted with too much power.

Where do we find this type of leader in the Republican Party today?

Will we find it in House Speaker John Boehner, who recently mocked the base of his own party for refusing to support a “comprehensive” reform bill where illegals will get amnesty and special treatment in exchange for border security and enforcement that will never come? He knows full well conservatives do not oppose legal immigration, but only the breaking of our laws and a refusal of our government to enforce them for transparently political reasons.

Will we find it in 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, a man with vast business experience who recently declared the Republican Party should embrace a minimum wage hike, which he knows full well will be nothing more than a political stunt, a policy designed to look compassionate which has the actual consequence of increasing unemployment among those that need it most?

Surely he knows that, as of January of this year, only 0.8% of all American workers over the age of 25 were making at or below the minimum wage; and of that tiny fraction of workers more than a third are teenagers (contrary to the heart-rending narrative portrayed by liberal do-gooders, trying to find a head of household in America who earns the minimum wage is like trying to find a needle in a field of haystacks). Furthermore, only a tiny fraction of those earning minimum wage will still be earning minimum wage in six months, and far fewer at a year. Romney knows all too well that raising the minimum wage will not only hurt the economy, but it will price these young workers right out of a job; a disproportionate number of them will be minorities who desperately need to learn those skills.

So why would Romney (along with former GOP presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Tim Pawlenty) say the GOP needs to embrace a minimum wage hike? Because they are mimicking the liberal playbook, where good optics are more important than good policy. They know that supporting a minimum wage increase will make them look more compassionate towards the working man, towards the poor, and minorities. It doesn’t matter that it will actually increase unemployment; it just matters that they will get (temporary) favorable press from the editorial board of the New York Times.

And this is why there is a battle being waged for the heart and soul of the Republican Party. The grassroots conservatives feel a sense of urgency to do something, ANYTHING, to save this nation from a tsunami of red ink flooding out of Washington, D.C. (currently at nearly $18 trillion and rising), from a government that spies on its own citizens, sends legions of bureaucratic thugs out to harass, intimidate, bully, belittle, and drain the bank accounts of the average citizen through taxes and regulation; a government which is more interested in perpetuating its own power through any means necessary rather than serve those it showers with trite platitudes and well-worn rhetorical bombs of class, sex, and race warfare. These things erode economic vitality and personal liberties like a rising tide washes away a sand castle on the beach.

In his Farewell Address, before the effects of disease had taken their final toll on his mind and body, Reagan proclaimed, “I wasn’t a great communicator, but I communicated great things, and they didn’t spring full bloom from my brow, they came from the heart of a great nation–from our experience, our wisdom and our belief in the principles that have guided us for two centuries.”

Reagan knew what made this country great. It is a history and culture of the rule of law, with the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution, at its foundation. It is a free market economy which rewards the entrepreneurial spirit, which has made America the magnet for all those that seek a better life. It is a belief in God, our Divine Providence, who established this land as a land of freedom, of prosperity, of plenty.

When the Republican Party retires this old guard, this finger-in-the-wind, poll reading vanguard of yesteryear, and replaces them with the likes of Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Justin Amash, Tom Graves, and other members of a rising generation of eloquent defenders of liberty, the party will flourish and inspire a nation once again to greatness. But not one second before.

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