Reasserting the Center
We Are All Socialists Now, crows the cover story of the February 16, 2009 issue of Newsweek, in an article comparing the direction America is heading to where France has been for many years already. The magazine can't be accused of biased reporting, having given credit for the perceived movement Leftward to both major Parties. "Bush brought the Age of Reagan to a close; now Obama has gone further..." Newsweek evidently thinks Americans are a little schizophrenic: Polls show that Americans don't trust government and still don't want big government. They do, however, want what government delivers, like health care and national defense and, now, protections from banking and housing failure." The article goes on to make the case for big government with: ...since neither consumers nor business is likely to do it, the government will have to stimulate the economy. Newsweek caps its false premise with this sage advice for Obama: To get the balance between America and France right, the new president will need all the smarts he can summon.
Contrary to what Newsweek Magazine believes, consumers and business have been quite effective at stimulating the economy. All that is needed is for government to get out of the way. Government can "boost the economy" and run huge deficits in either of two ways. It can shovel out money, with all the inevitable strings attached, to places where it will be inevitably largely wasted and then raise taxes and print money to reverse the deficits while stifling any weak recovery that may have occurred. Or government can reduce taxes and regulations, leaving more money in the private sector where it will be turned to productive use more quickly and efficiently encouraging a stronger recovery and resulting in increased revenues to reverse the deficit. One way the power of government grows, the other way freedom and the country grows.
Almost thirty years ago, President Reagan clearly demonstrated the benefit to the country of restraining government, something proponents of big government like Newsweek thought back in February that we had all forgotten. The Tea-Party movement in its current incarnation had yet to emerge so perhaps Newsweek should be cut some slack for its premature celebration. But even in the face of relatively massive demonstrations, by people who normally never demonstrate about anything, the media seem impervious to the idea that mainstream America might be antipathetic to the policies of a radical leftist Democratic Administration and even to the milder "progressive" social policies of a prior Republican Administration.
Now nine months later, in the wake of the Tea-Parties and with a conservative backlash growing, Katie Couric confirms the glaze over media eyes in her "Notebook" on CBS. Just the other day she said: "There's growing concern among some GOP leaders that controversial commentators and far-right conservatives have hijacked the message," and "people like Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin appeal to the base -- and you certainly need that base to win elections. But in an age when 42 percent of Americans call themselves Independents, you can't win with just the base, either." So, Couric recommended: "Before the 2010 midterm elections roll around, Republicans need to get the focus back onto the Big Tent where all are welcome and off the sideshows that are popping up along the party's fringe."
That's the media drumbeat, a continuing attempt to redefine the "Center". If you believe in freedom as defined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, if you own one or more firearms, if you have a Bible in the house and open it even occasionally, if you object to the idea of someone else "spreading your wealth" then you are part of "the sideshows that are popping up along the party's fringe."
The Left wants to believe that Americans can come to love massive government, softer and wider safety nets, fewer freedoms, higher taxes and mediocre living standards such as the people in Europe have come to enjoy. They keep telling us that's where the "Center" is. It may well be the center of the Democrat Party whose leadership is now so far to the Left that Nikita Khrushchev could hold up his November 18, 1956 "We Will Bury You" speech and declare it "Mission Accomplished."
It is difficult to believe though, that there is anyone who is Independent because the Democrat Party isn't far enough to the left. But one encounters people every day who are Independent because the Republican Party is too far to the left of them. We have elected many good conservative Republicans to office, but many others who rose over time into the Party leadership have been immersed inside the beltway for so long that they think they have no choice but to follow the Democrats and they're already out of sight of the eighty percent of Americans who love the America that Ronald Reagan stood for. Even seeing the Tea-Parties and being beaten up in their August town hall meetings have failed to wake up many of them.
Elsewhere, in the alternative media and on the street, it's obvious that increasing numbers of folks are registering as Independent because they feel strongly that neither major political party represents them. Newsweek gets half the story saying that Bush closed the Age of Reagan and Obama has gone further. The other half of the story is that the center isn't somewhere between the two Parties, it's that both Parties have moved to the left of the center. Today's elites in the Republican Party were never entirely happy with Reagan's conservative philosophy. But the American people were. The vast middle of America was. What the Media and the Left and the Moderate/Progressive Republican wing are desperately afraid of is that the Republican Party might be taken over again by the conservative mainstream of America. And that's exactly what must happen.
The idea of a third party rising to power is tempting but impractical. That last time it happened was over a century and a half ago. The mathematics of the electoral college system make it extremely difficult for a third party to win a Presidential election. In any event, how long did it take after Ronald Reagan's conservative landslides for the Republican Party to succumb to "Progressive" corruption again? A successful third party would succumb just as easily.
After Reagan left office the Progressives quietly re-took control of the GOP and resumed their "pragmatic" drift to the left, supporting candidates who carried an "R" but had more in common with Liberals than Conservatives. In 2004 Bush supported the liberal Arlen Specter against the conservative Pat Toomey who nearly won in Pennsylvania and now the Party in New York is supporting the far left Republican Dede Scozzafava in District 23. They call this the Big Tent but inside the Progressive GOP that term really applies to fundraising not to philosophy. They don't seem to like Reagan Conservatives any more than the Democrats do but they are happy to take every dollar they can convince us to send in.
Rather than spending superhuman effort building a third party, it will be far easier to breathe conservative life back into the Republican Party. We have been working on it here in Arizona for several years and we have made some surprising progress. We have suffered a few setbacks and the Progressive wing is working day and night to recover their hold on the Party but it's a fight worth having and one we should be able to win, particularly considering the losses Progressive Republicans took against Democrats from bottom to top in 2008.
Conservatives took control of the Maricopa County Republican Party, and then the State GOP. The Progressives responded by withdrawing volunteer help and starving the Party financially. National speakers who had agreed to attend Party fund raisers suddenly had "scheduling conflicts." In spite of this conservative Republican candidates won in Arizona in 2008.
It is time Conservatives took a page from the Progressive playbook. When you get that letter from the RNC asking you for $100, or $50, or $35, send a check directly to a national candidate who represents your values.
The Arizona GOP and the Maricopa GOP are currently run by Conservatives and need your help if you're one of us. When you get that letter from the Arizona Republican Party, send them a check. It will go a long way toward defeating the Progressives who are trying to re-take the Party.