In the next Congressional election, it’s going to be critical that the Republican party present itself with a well thought out platform of ideas. One issue we are losing the debate on – that has been virtually neglected in the last few decades is the issue of ‘Government’. It seems that the only argument espoused by the GOP or Conservatives is that Government is bad. Government is bad, serves itself, and will ultimately lead to oppression. (wow, no wonder the crop of Republican candidates is so inadequate – what young aspiring politician what’s to join a political party that thinks a job in government is dishonorable?) We’ve lost before we started.
There was an article in the LA Times by former Reagan advisor Mickey Edwards that got me thinking a little more deeply of this issue and a concluding with a hard realization. I don’t agree with everything he says in the article, but he raises a good point about the fallacy in the ‘small’ government argument. Basically, in a country of 300 million and growing – ‘small’ government is impossible. My gut feeling is that most people can repeat all the slogans about ‘limited gov’t’ but haven’t thought about how we actually GOVERN on these principles in real life.
So, what exactly is the Party’s platform regarding Government’s role in Society? the Economy? Conservation and the Environment? Wealth redistribution and Taxes? the Military? Answer these specifically and see if you can keep the role of Gov’t into the ‘Small’ confines.
My views are that we need to get off the ‘Gov’t is bad’ approach. I don’t want to see any MORE government programs, but not all gov’t programs are bad. Some are very good and helpful. The Military is a branch of gov’t. What to cut it’s budget? I benefited from student loans. I guess that’s a form of wealth redistribution. I feel safer knowing that if someone gets sick from ecoli, the gov’t has the resources to track the vegetables down to the exact field in Mexico. And feel safer that other cars on the road are inspected and I only have to work 8 hours a day, and the medicine I take has been tested and approved first. I guess that’s all Gov’t regulation. I love the national parks and thank God that TR preserved our national monuments. Then, they said it was unconstitutional. If FDR and the New Deal were so bad, then let’s run on a platform to repeal them. Study the working conditions of the early 1900’s. There’s no denying there’s a basic level of Gov’t intervention needed to benefit society. That’s a far cry from what Democrats are proposing today. We need to make that distinction clear.
We need to qualify our position to an approach of keeping gov’t in check and accountable to the people. We need to openly support Gov’t intervention up to the point where it stops helping and starts forming dependencies. Articulate this and we disarm the argument that Republicans are greedy capitalists who don’t care about the poor. We support government as long as it promotes self responsibility and independence. We need to hold Obama accountable for saying he’s going to make Gov’t work again and get rid of programs that don’t. That’s OUR issue. Reagan’s issue.