In the wake of President George W. Bush's re-election, as well as nationwide victories for down-ballot conservatives, we reaffirm the principles upon which they were elected: constitutionally limited government, a strong national defense, the prospect of restoring fiscal discipline to government, and an unwavering commitment to the traditional moral stakes of our Republic.
The President has outlined an agenda with which the vast majority of Americans approve: reforming our outdated tax code, strengthening Social Security, improving public schools, upholding our deepest values of family and faith, and helping the emerging democracies of Iraq and Afghanistan defend their own freedom -- so that our servicemen and women can "come home with the honor they have earned."
Despite insistence from the Left that President Bush must "govern from the center," it is clear that the President's first-term efforts to mollify the Left produced only vitriol and knee-jerk obstructionism. Consequently, such efforts shouldn't be a strategic centerpiece of President Bush's second term. The nation has been sharply divided as a result of Albert Gore's rhetoric in 2000 and John Kerry's rhetoric this past year. In order for President Bush's conservative mandate to succeed, he will have to make his case to the American people, not Leftists on Capitol Hill.
Though he won re-election with over 60 million votes, a margin of nearly 4 million votes over his opponent, taken alone, this does not suggest a mandate to govern. However, taken in tandem with Republican gains in both houses of Congress -- the first such case of across-the-board party gains for an incumbent since the Truman presidency -- and gains in the states, the word "mandate" does indeed come to mind. It's also worth noting that President Bush won the first popular-vote majority since 1988 and a higher percentage of votes than any Democrat since 1964.
Given this, we firmly believe the second Bush administration will pursue comprehensive policies in keeping with the federalist, conservative and moral mandate voters have given him. We hereby submit the following brief summary of how we hope and believe such an agenda will proceed:
National Security and Homeland Defense:
- First and foremost, continue to bring all necessary resources to bear to fight the war on terrorism. It cannot be said too often: We choose to fight the war abroad so we don't have to fight it here at home.
- Continue reorganization of the Department of Defense into a leaner, more agile and lethal military machine, maximally capable of addressing the asymmetric threats of the post-Cold War world.
- Continue the development and deployment of strategic missile defense -- a goal that should not be deterred by recent technical failures. Indicative of the continued relevance of SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative), the initial deployment of Aegis class destroyers off the coast of North Korea is an appropriate and encouraging first step, particularly given Pyongyang's recent announcement of a nuclear capability.
- More aggressively pursue a greater degree of national energy independence. This should include responsibly drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, increasing our oil-refining capacity to better absorb instability in the international market, and -- perhaps most important -- encouraging the forces of the free market to develop alternative energy sources.
- Continue to develop and strengthen alliances to fight the war on terrorism and address other issues vital to our national security: Nuclear proliferation; greater internal stability and economic integration of Eastern Europe; pursuing viable solutions to illegal immigration and border control; and effectively addressing the African AIDS pandemic.
- Reform Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement programs; more than all discretionary spending combined, these programs contribute to the national deficit, place a drag on economic growth, and loom as a potential fiscal crisis over our nation's economy. The President's current proposal to reform Social Security through partial privatization is a beginning, but only a beginning. A comprehensive plan of gradual privatization coupled with budgetary cuts in other federal programs (programs that have persistently siphoned off SS dollars in the past) can and should offset anticipated transition deficits running into the trillions of dollars. We strongly reject any suggestion calling for additional federal loans and debt to "pay for" the costs of privatization.
- Work toward a reduction in overall federal spending, not merely a reduction in the rate of spending growth. Washington must regain a sense of the urgency of fiscal solvency for the good of the nation and the economy. Despite countless assertions to the contrary, deficit spending does matter: it restricts the money supply for private investment, raises interest rates and places a stranglehold on the economy in the long-run.
- As a part of the effort to restore fiscal solvency, pass a balanced-budged amendment -- seemingly the lost rail of the conservative agenda -- and secure a line-item veto for budgetary legislation, allowing the President to eliminate wasteful pork-barrel spending.
- Reform the national tax system by eliminating the federal income tax in its entirety, replacing it with a national sales tax. A national sales tax would fairly distribute the tax burden while raising tax revenue, reducing the cost of corporate compliance (consequently driving prices down), and virtually eliminating lost revenue due to tax fraud.
- Reverse the exponential growth of the federal bureaucracy, and returning government closer to the role envisioned for it by our nation's federalist Founders.
- Institute far-reaching tort reform, reducing frivolous junk lawsuits that stymie business growth and competitiveness, and make medical insurance unaffordable. The House of Representatives' recent passage of the Class Action Fairness Act is a bold step in the right direction.
- Aggressively defend the traditional values of our Republic: Reaffirming the right to life and fostering a reverence for it in every area of our society; and reaffirming the institution of marriage, while supporting the traditional family as the fundamental unit of our society.
Judges, Judges, Judges:
- While the Executive Branch cannot intrude upon the internal affairs of the Senate, we encourage the now-strengthened Republican majority to aggressively advance the President's judicial nominees, and we commend the President for re-nominating those nominees previously filibustered as a consequence of the unconstitutional obstructions of the minority.
- The President and Senate Republicans should press with all possible force for up-or-down floor votes on all his judicial nominees, and the President should relentlessly continue nominating conservative constructionists for the now back-logged federal courts.
- In the event of Chief Justice William Rehnquist's regretful departure from the Supreme Court -- a departure that now seems imminent -- we urge the President to nominate one of that court's two most reliably constructionist members, Justice Antonin Scalia or Justice Clarence Thomas, as its new Chief.
Given the hope and promise of a second Bush administration, it is appropriate to conclude with the words of Sen. Barry Goldwater, the great intellectual forerunner of the Reagan revolution:
"I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is 'needed' before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents' interests, I shall reply that I was informed their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can."
We, American Patriots, will continue to echo this sentiment.