It seemed sweetly serendipitous that barely forty-eight hours after speculating about the potential for “Perot voters” (those particularly concerned about the exploding federal debt) to decide the 2010 — and possibly the 2012 — election that I would chance upon a Gallup poll showing that Americans are more likely than ever to say the government is doing too much.
The strategy for GOP rebuilding is clear, focus on diminishing the size and decreasing the scope of the federal government.
And when we make our pitch, should doctrinaire libertarians and conservative absolutists complain that the GOP has failed them in the past, ask them if they have a better alternative. For better or worse (and sometimes I do think it’s worse), we have a two-party system. Some new third party is not going to arise and supplant one or the other. Sure, it’s happened before, but that was just over a century and a half ago. And yes, it’s happened in other nations, but it’s unlikely it will happen here. We’re not Canada.
The GOP thus represents the best hope to stop the Obama Democrats rush to statism. And on the whole, the party has acquitted itself quite well these past eight months, voting almost unanimously against many of the big-government boondoggles the Democrats have attempted to (and often succeeded at) ramming through.
But, if the GOP wants to win, it has to be more than hope. It must do more than offer lip service to small-government ideology. Leaders must craft a platform around which people can rally and which taps into the sentiment for less government intervention in the economy (and in our lives). For free-market solutions to our nation’s problems.
Larry Ingraham has come forward with one idea: her 10 for ’10 “platform.” Yesterday, Bruce linked another such proposal, a Contract From America. Both are good starts, perhaps as possible preamble to a more substantive document.
As Republicans rally around a proposal, they need acknowledge that our party has not always lived up to its principles. So, perhaps they should include such language in the new document as, “We realize that member of our party haven’t always lived up to our principles and we suffered the consequences for it. You voted us out.”
Such language may not pacify the absolutists among us. (Some of them can never be satisfied.) But, perhaps if those folks considered the consequences of a fragmented opposition to Obama’s Democrats, they might reconsider. Dan Riehl has considered those consequences and they aren’t pretty: “Get your mind around one thing right now, a Perot or Paul-like fracture in the Republican Party in 2010, or 2012 is a guarantee that Euro-socialism will prevail in America.“
To avoid just such a fracture, Republicans need to reach out to those who rallied to Ross Perot’s cause in the last decade of the previous century and to Ron Paul’s in the first decade of this one. And they do this by recommitting themselves to the principles which served our party so well in the first years of this nation’s third century. Principles, which the latest polls indicate, resonate with an overwhelmingly majority of the American people.