The Future Of The Republican Party Is A Winning Message Of Freedom And Growth
At stake isn’t just the future of the Republican Party, but also the future of our country. Just like the broadcast of a sporting event, all of the pundits and media elite provided analysis and play-by-play of the most recent government shutdown and debt ceiling debate, and declared winners and losers. Well the results were clear, the American people lost.
The media have declared the Republican Party all but dead. Is the media elite’s obituary of the Republican Party accurate? Has the Republican brand been irreparably harmed by the shutdown? The answer is “yes” but only if this process is solely about scoring political points. The hardball tactics of President Obama and Harry Reid scored short term but only because Republicans tried to play the game of small politics instead of engaging in big ideas and solutions. The best that can be said about the state of politics in Washington, D.C. is that the President and Congress avoided a severe self-inflicted wound i.e.: defaulting on the country’s financial obligations. The events of the past week illustrated a horribly broken system of government that is unable to accomplish anything that will make a positive impact on our country, our debt, or the lives of our citizens.
The American people are exhausted from “doomsday” scenarios and desperate for an adult-like debate over serious issues that need solving. While our Congress procrastinates until the next “fiscal cliff,” let’s propose something drastic. An honest conversation about what is plaguing our country. It goes beyond our debt and into the lives of our neediest citizens.
It’s about a free people having the power to determine and control their personal destiny. It’s about self-determination and individual opportunity. The Republican Party should do all it can to promote and protect individual freedom. Even when we disagree, in fact especially when we disagree, personal freedoms and individual self-determination must be sacrosanct.
The real debate that Republicans should be leading is about the role and scope of government. Our Framers understood that “a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this; you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place obligate it to control itself.” Our debate must, thus, include and focus on the obligation of the government to control itself. Our very freedom depends on limiting Washington.
This battle is currently lost because, as Democrats talked of their view of big, unbridled government (its shutdown, debt default, etc.), Republicans fought (each other) on the edges, on small matters — repealing the medical device tax and (correctly) imposing Obamacare on Congress.
Our fight is about framing the argument that the bigger the government the less individual freedom we enjoy. Our message must be more than a repeal of Obamacare, although it’s a great start. Think big–Obamacare is an entitlement, a tax, and most importantly a usurper of freedom. Obamacare forces, coerces, and punishes every American to pay more for less health coverage, and dictates that each of us purchases coverage we neither need nor want. Jobs are lost as business are forced to pay more, reduce hours and employees. Small business fails to grow, as it wades into the tens of thousands pages of regulation, and dares not expand beyond 50 employees.
But Republicans need to do more than to grouse about Obamacare, they need to offer an alternative that is market-based and provides incentives to big and small business to employ and provide health care coverage to its employees and their families.
Republicans must embrace the kind of individual achievement that has, for instance, driven an American energy renaissance. It has involved individuals taking risks, thus bringing innovation through new technology. It’s the freedom to risk private capital that has long made the United States the world’s largest economy, and increasingly one of the largest energy producers in the world. Instead of encouraging private job producing activity, the President stands as an obstacle to needed projects like the Keystone Pipeline. His blocking of the Keystone Pipeline is but one example of a broken system that fails to rein in the power of government.
The greatest example of our broken system is Washington’s inability to control entitlements. Republicans need to honor our promise to older citizens while addressing the heavy burdens placed on younger citizens through reforms to entitlements. Such reforms must be debated with honesty, and with acknowledgement that without reforms to entitlements that allow the young to chart their own retirement and healthcare path, our country could go broke.
The big debate of our time—should and can the federal government control itself and entitlement reform– is the real battle in this fight. Can the Republicans set aside small things and answer the bell for the big fight? The real debate is Washington’s obligation to control itself. Survival of the Republican Party isn’t the only thing at stake—the survival of our system of government is on the line as well.