- - Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Republicans need to find the tigers in their midst

You have to give the Democrats credit. America’s unmistakable descent into their authoritative statism is no small feat. For years now, the Democrats have outwitted, outhustled and outmaneuvered the Republican establishment at almost every turn.

Since the Reagan Revolution gave way to the “kinder, gentler” GOP, conservative victories have been few and fleeting. Take the 1994 landslide election that forced a Democratic president (who just two years earlier had campaigned on nationalizing health care) to declare that “the era of big government is over.” Well, hardly. It was just getting warmed up. As the Cato Institute reported six years later, “the combined budgets of the 95 major programs that the Contract with America promised to eliminate have increased by 13 percent.”

What followed was an era of wild government expansion orchestrated, not by the Democrats, but by Republicans. While mouthing the words of limited government, they forced “No Bureaucrat Left Behind” upon our schools and unfurled the largest expansion of Medicare in the history of the program. To entrench themselves (and keep us quiet), they unleashed McCain-Feingold, which curtailed our free-speech rights during their re-elections.

Spending. Taxes. Regulations. Welfare. Debt. By every objective measure, the Republican establishment has failed — badly. Yet every election year, its members circle their wagons and resort to fear-mongering to protect themselves. They have the gall to claim, with a straight face, that conservative primary challengers would harm the GOP and help the Democrats. Of course, that’s what they said about Ronald Reagan, too.

Here’s the problem: If the Republican Party were to somehow be harmed, how would we tell the difference from what we have now?

Would the GOP suddenly lose the ability to defeat a failed Democratic president who’s hell-bent on “fundamentally transforming” America into a government-run social-welfare state?

Would Republicans suddenly allow the federal government to devour 25 percent of our economy? Or allow Washington’s big spenders to cripple future generations under a $17 trillion debt?

Would Republicans lose the ability to prevent Democrats from socializing health care or taking over our banks or our schools?

Would Republicans suddenly become impotent in the face of a derelict commander in chief who left behind four Americans, including an ambassador and two Navy SEALs, to die on foreign soil and then claim it was all because of some YouTube video?

Would the GOP suddenly be unable to stop the National Security Agency from spying on our cellphones and our emails? Or would the party be powerless to stop a president from using the IRS to intimidate, coerce and harass American citizens for their political beliefs?

Would Republicans lose their deft ability to explain that free-market economics is the most powerful engine of human prosperity and the most compassionate means to allow the downtrodden to escape poverty and soul-crushing government dependency?

Please, someone explain: What superpowers does the GOP establishment currently possess that we risk losing if we replace these current career politicians with new, bold conservatives?

The Republican establishment has become the Washington Generals to the Democrats’ Harlem Globetrotters except for one thing: The Generals don’t claim they’re winners.

America is in deep, deep trouble. We face an ever growing authoritarian government with a ruling class that seeks ways around, rather than fidelity to, the Constitution. They have fundamentally forgotten their place as public servants rather than masters. Our last, best hope is a revitalized Republican Party with the courage and clarity to fight for the cause of liberty, both in Washington and in the states.

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