The Democratic Party is crumbling. President Obama’s socialist revolution is slowly shattering the fragile Democratic coalition and making the party increasingly unpopular with voters.
Fearing humiliating defeats in the 2010 midterm elections, prominent Democrats - Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter Jr. - have announced they will not seek re-election. This is only the tip of the electoral iceberg. The Democrats risk suffering huge losses in November - including control of the House of Representatives and maybe even the Senate.
Public opinion is turning against the Democratic legislative agenda. The bailouts, the attempted government takeover of our health care system, imposing cap-and-trade, hoping to end the secret ballot in the organization of unions, massive tax increases and granting amnesty to illegal immigrants - these radical policies will permanently transform America. Mr. Obama is on the verge of achieving a cultural revolution.
Conservatives are the last line of defense. The burgeoning “tea party” movement represents resurgent traditionalist forces. It is more than a call for limited government and fiscal sanity. It is an embryonic nationalist-populist coalition that threatens the corrupt Beltway establishment. The patriotic right understands that we are slowly, relentlessly losing our country. Our globalist elites have turned their backs on America. The symptoms of decay and decline are everywhere: runaway spending, ballooning deficits, the erosion of our manufacturing base, the loss of national sovereignty, the onslaught of illegal immigration and an imperial, arrogant political class.
Yet, is the Republican Party the most effective vehicle to spearhead the conservative counterrevolution? Many on the right believe that electing Republicans will stem the growth of statism. They are wrong.
The presidency of George W. Bush is an example. Mr. Bush racked up massive deficits for eight straight years. He inherited a surplus of $127 billion and left office with a budget deficit of nearly $1.2 trillion. Mr. Bush was a Keynesian conservative, who federalized education, erected a costly prescription-drug entitlement program for seniors, attempted to grant citizenship to illegal aliens, passed expensive - and ineffective - economic stimulus packages, and supported the bailouts of Wall Street, delinquent homeowners and the auto industry. In short, Mr. Bush and the Republican Party paved the way for the triumph of Big Government.
Led by Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, the GOP claims it has changed. The party of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan is allegedly returning to its conservative roots. Mr. Steele vows that political exile has chastened - and humbled - Republicans, teaching them the folly of their spendthrift ways.
But conservatives would be wise to follow the old adage: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Actions speak louder than words. And it should take more than a mea culpa from Mr. Steele to buy conservatives’ allegiance.
Instead, the “tea party” movement should demand that the Republican Party outline a detailed platform for the 2010 elections. To receive conservative-populist support, Republicans must promise to repeal Mr. Obama’s policies root and branch.
This means Obamacare must be rescinded - immediately. The election should be turned into a referendum on government-run health care.
Taxes must be slashed. Government spending must be reined in, with sweeping cuts across the board. A balanced budget must be passed every year - with no exceptions. The Education Department must be eliminated.
Labor unions must be rolled back. Real tort reform must be implemented. Draconian rules against carbon emissions passed by the Environmental Protection Agency must be abrogated; the EPA’s ubiquitous regulatory power substantially scaled back.
Unfair trade agreements must be scuttled - unilaterally, if necessary. A security wall must be built within 12 months all along our porous southern border. English must be made the official language, and bilingualism prohibited.
One-nation conservatism would not only revive the GOP as the majority party, but restore limited government, middle-class prosperity and national cohesion. For the right, it is the road back to power - and enduring dominance.
Republicans are poised for major gains this year. Electing more Republican politicians, however, is not the same thing as ending the march of Big Government liberalism. If Republicans refuse to adopt an America-first manifesto or worse, promise to enact these policies but fail to do so, then the “tea party” movement in 2012 should do the unthinkable: Break away and form a third party.
The Republican Party was born in reaction to the decrepit, unsustainable status quo of the 1850s. It stood on the ruins of the old Whig Party. Then, the issues were slavery and secession. Today, it is socialism and sovereignty. Republicans have become part of the problem. They need to be part of the solution. Otherwise, like the Whigs, the angry winds of history will blow them into dust.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute, a Washington think tank. He is the daily radio host of the “Kuhner Show” on WTNT 570-AM (www.talk570.com) from noon until 3:00 p.m.