- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 25, 2009

OPINION/ANALYSIS:

As we survey today’s political scene, it is sobering to many Americans that we have lurched so far to the left in the past nine months it has become an international joke. With Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez quipping on live television, “Hey, Obama has just nationalized nothing more and nothing less than General Motors. Comrade Obama! Fidel, careful or we are going to end up to his right.” While Mr. Chavez and Fidel Castro may be laughing at us, most Americans don’t get the joke.

As a businessman, chairman of the Arizona Republican Party and treasurer of the Republican National Committee, I speak to Democrat and independent American voters almost every day. They say they voted for Barack Obama believing he was a center-left moderate Democrat, whose measured tone and talk of tax cuts for 95 percent of American families and only increasing taxes on those earning $250,000 or more seemed reasonable. Now, they feel betrayed.

Come to find out, Mr. Obama was not kidding when he spoke to “Joe the Plumber” about redistributing wealth. His many appointed “czars” are turning out to be far-left ideologues - followers of Saul Alinsky, far from the mainstream. Even the comments by Anita Dunn, then the communications director, praising communist dictator Mao Zedong to high-schoolers for his decision making are dumfounding - Mao who was responsible for the premeditated deaths of millions of Chinese. You just cannot make this stuff up.

I believe the results would have been different if only they had been told before Election Day that President Obama on taking office, would do the following:

- Champion abolishing secret elections for unions days after taking office.

- Propose and sign an almost $800 billion pork stimulus bill.

- Approve and sign a budget for 2010 with a $1.4 trillion deficit.

- Nationalize auto companies and banks, firing the CEO of General Motors.

- Support a cap-and-trade bill that will cost every American family more than $1,700 a year and throttle our economy.

- Conceive of a government health-care system that will cost more and deliver less medical care.

- Travel the world apologizing to every two-bit dictator for any possible wrong, whether real or perceived, that America may have caused.

While it seems I am painting an entirely bleak picture, I remain optimistic about the future of our country. I say this because I believe we are on the verge of a reawakening of our conservative beliefs passed down from our founders, who had an uncanny understanding of the human condition.

Conservative leaders, writers and talk show hosts agree that in order to renew our party, Republicans need to associate themselves more closely with conservative values - not less closely as moderate Republicans espouse. As poll after poll has indicated, conservatism remains vastly more popular than the Republican Party.

What this means is Americans, by nature, are more conservative than liberal. It was to our detriment, when the Republican Party moved away from its conservative roots over the last decade. We need to rediscover the winning formula that gave us a robust economy, reduced taxes for all Americans, reduced unemployment below levels that were said to be unattainable by many economists, defeated the Soviet Union without firing a shot, and reformed our out of control welfare state.

I believe the path for renewal of our party has already been laid out in front of us at town-hall meetings and “tea parties” across the country. How the Republican Party takes advantage of the opportunity that has been given to us remains to be seen.

This is not the first time our party has experienced systemic failure. One has only to go back to the 1970s to see we became the party of wage and price controls, fiat money and long gas lines under President Nixon. White House operatives and officials were taken away in handcuffs and Jimmy Carter swept into power in 1976 with margins in both houses of Congress even larger than the ones Mr. Obama has today. You might recall Mr. Carter looking into the camera during the campaign and said, “I will never lie to you.” What a campaign slogan.

At the time, the drive-by media questioned whether the Republican Party would ever win another election. But how quickly things changed; Mr. Carter’s “Misery Index” (the unemployment rate plus the inflation rate) designed to make Republicans look bad got worse during his administration, with double-digit inflation (and interest rates) and unemployment nearing 8 percent. We were told to turn down the thermostat and wear a sweater. We watched the Iranian hostage crisis for 444 days, while Mr. Carter wrung his hands wondering what to do. Americans responded by giving Ronald Reagan a landslide win in 1980.

So here we are again. We have two paths before us. Will it be pastels or bold colors? The renewal of the Reagan Conservative Revolution or will it be oblivion through moderate incrementalism? Standing by our conservative platform or succumbing to whatever sounds easy at the moment? Don’t get me wrong. Winning is important. But winning for the right reasons is more important.

Randy Pullen is treasurer of the Republican National Committee and chairman of the Arizona Republican Party.

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