What Republicans Must–and Must Not–Do

1 Comment

"Republican Party Elephant" logo

Image via Wikipedia

The United States has taken a sharp turn to the right in the 2010 midterm elections, and the Republican Party, which is de facto the conservative party in the U. S., had a successful campaign strategy of attacking the Great Society-like spending of Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress. It is now time for Republicans to act and not sit on their laurels as they have done in the past.

What Republicans must do is exhibit fiscal responsibility. The deficit, which increased unnecessarily under the Republican administration of George W. Bush and a Republican Congress, has under Obama rampaged out of control. In the name of stimulus programs and expensive entitlement programs, both parties have done their best to sell out future generations for immediate “reward.” Republicans must stand against excessive spending. They must stop funding Wall Street’s risky banking schemes through stimulus plans that only feed the corruption of the financial industry. They must cut social programs, even popular social programs–and they must cut defense spending. They must not, in the name of compromise, abandon fiscal responsibility. The House of Representatives should consider not appropriating money for expensive federal programs.

The latter option may be unpalatable to war-hawk Republicans, but defense spending must be slashed, military bases closed in most countries, including in European countries, and the armed forces drawn down in size. A large standing army not only sucks up money; it becomes, as the Founders recognized, a threat to freedom.

The Republicans should stop supporting foreign wars such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. All American troops should be withdrawn from Iraq, with perhaps some small special forces units remaining along the Afghan-Pakistan border to hunt for Al Qaeda members. The U. S. should ramp down the war rhetoric with Iran. War with Iran would be a disaster for the U. S., with the economic cost in oil price increases sending the country into a depression. The Republicans must stop being warmongers and support a national-interest foreign policy.

The Republicans should stop the bleeding of U. S. jobs to other nations. Selective tariffs would help make American goods more competitive price-wise, but should be used with care, especially with the power China now wields over the U. S. by buying treasury bonds (another factor showing the value of reducing the deficit). Excessive federal regulation, with the exception of environmental regulation that has been shown scientifically to work, should be reduced.

The Republicans must support controlling the borders of the U. S. The United States is rich, but resources are still finite, and having a stable culture based on the primarily British traditions of representative government requires some limitations on immigrations. A temporary moratorium on immigration with restoration occurring with strict controls (Pat Buchanan’s suggestion) is essential.

Federal intervention into the sovereignty of the states should cease; the Tenth Amendment should be respected. Republicans should support the rights of the states to self-determination rather than the exercise of federal power over the states. With increasing technology, the dangers of a strong central government spying on Americans also increases (thus, the need to repeal the falsely-so-called “Patriot Act”). It is more important than ever to affirm the sovereignty and self-determination of states to pass laws that are not under the scope of federal powers delimited in the Constitution. Republicans should vote against judges the President appoints who use the Courts as places to push their private moral agendas on all the states. They should only vote for justices who strictly interpret the Constitution, to the best of their ability, according to its original intent.

On health care, Republicans should repeal provisions of the Health Care Law that only increase the power of insurance companies and of the federal government. Some provisions of the law, such as requiring insurance companies to cover preexisting conditions, are good provisions. However, if the only way to defeat the law is to repeal the entire law, then the few good provisions could be later passed as separate laws.

Finally, Republicans should stand for natural law. This includes ending federal support for abortion at any level. They should resist the lobbying of homosexuals for any special rights or favors, while affirming that they have the same political rights as any other American. Decisions on marriage law should be left in the hands of the states. This is in tension with extreme libertarian Republicans of certain stripes, but a good society cannot exist without affirmation of natural law.

If the Republicans fail again, as they did under Bush II, they may suffer as large a defeat in 2012 as the Democrats suffered in 2010. Instead of compromising with political liberalism, let them set forth their vision for the country and rationally defend it. The American people will respect their integrity if Republicans hold their ground on what the consider important. And if the Republicans maintain their integrity, 2012 could be a very good year.

Advice to the Tea Party Movement–Don’t Let the Warmongers Win

4 Comments

Tea Party Movement/ American People's Protest ...

Image by asterix611 via Flickr

There are a growing number of individuals in the Tea Party movement who are moving toward the traditional conservative position of American staying out of foreign entanglements unless such are clearly in the national interest of the United States. But there are two groups who aim to stop this trend.

The first group is a subset of the Tea Party movement–Evangelical Christians who, influenced by Biblical apocalyptic imagery, support every American intervention in the Near East as bringing about a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. As I have argued elsewhere in this blog, their position is based on a flawed interpretation of the Book of Revelation and other apocalyptic Biblical literature. Sarah Palin may have been influenced by this line of thought, as evidenced by her tendency to blindly support Israel. Let’s hope that her common sense kicks in and that she does not move the Tea Party movement into a warmongering direction.

The other group threatens the Tea Party from the outside–the Neoconservatives. These individuals are the ideological descendants of a group of former Trotskyte Marxists who later defected from Marxism to the Democratic Party. These virulent anticommunists teamed up with Hubert Humphrey and Henry “Scoop” Jackson during the 1960s. But in the late 1960s and into the 1970s, culmulating with the Democratic nomination going to George McGovern in 1972, these anticommunist liberals turned against the Democratic Party. They joined the Republican Party in droves and, over time, gained influence in the National Review and other conservative publications. They retained their basic liberal orientation on domestic economic issues, supporting the post-Roosevelt, post-Lyndon Johnson welfare state, although some of them tend to be more conservative on social issues such as abortion. Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard is a neoconservative, as are Charles Krauthammer, Paul Wolfowitz, Bill Bennett, and to some extent Newt Gingrich. These individuals have supported the free spending of the welfare state, and have also supported the notion of the United States as an empire. They have accepted the Wilsonian view that the United States should spread democracy to the world. Iraq is an example of the disaster that can occur when neoconservative doctrine becomes U.S. policy.

The neoconservatives almost destroyed President Reagan during the Iran-Contra scandal, and they succeeded in destroying the administration of George W. Bush. Their destructive doctrine of the “noble lie,” borrowed from Leo Strauss who in turn borrowed it from Plato, states that the ruling elite can lie to the general public so the public will support their “wise” policies. Does this make the lies about “weapons of mass destruction” more understandable?

The neoconservatives have recently attacked the tendency in the Tea Party movement that backs off from the “American Empire” model of U. S. foreign policy. The neocons sharply disagree with the notion that U. S. involvement in foreign wars endanger freedom (witness the “Patriot Act,” a term of doublespeak if there ever was one). Tea Party members are waking up to realize that the biggest threat to their freedom is not the terrorists, but the welfare-warfare state. The Tea Party should, with all its might, resist the attacks of the neoconservatives, who are accusing the Tea Party of “abandoning conservatism.” But the Neoconservatives are the ones who have abandoned conservatism. If the Tea Party truly becomes a party that frowns on unnecessary U. S. military interventions, it will provide a refreshing alternative to neoconservatives in the Republican Party and to Evangelicals who are misled by a faulty theory of Biblical interpretation. But if the Tea Party gives into pressure and supports a warmongering stance, it will not ultimately succeed in transforming the political landscape of the United States, and that would be tragic. The Tea Party may be the last opportunity to forge a genuine conservative, noninterventionist movement in the United States, and I pray it goes that direction.

Newer Entries