Remember the great old line from Bob Dylan? -- “I’ll let me into your dream if you’ll let me into yours.” Do Americans have a shared dream? YES!; It’s the American dream, a vision unique among nations, that we are building a country to enable each individual to have an equal chance (opportunity) to fulfill the potential of his or her unique human nature -- one’s dream, as the old Army ad urged, to “be the best that you can be.”
The vision of a renewed Republican Party is to be the better-better-best enabler of this uniquely American Dream. It can be so and do so by finding new ways to honor traditional American values. Do we have to disown or compromise our values? NO! Do we need to be open, creative and imaginative to find new and better ways to honor them? YES!
For all the media focus on WHAT -- the usual set of headline issues like energy, housing, the economy, the environment, etc. -- it’s matters of HOW that truly distinguish Republicans from Democrats. Scan the major issues and you won’t find much difference between the major parties. We all want a cleaner environment, more and less expensive energy, strong national security, affordable housing, economic growth, job creation, etc. Statements of goals usually found under issue headings are practically the same. Ways of achieving these goals [HOW to] are substantially and practically different.
Note the major differences in ways/HOW:
•u GOP: Emphasizes ways to solve problems that rely more on individual or entrepreneurial initiative, competition, free enterprise, personal responsibility, self reliance, volunteerism, a market economy, small business, job creation, equal justice under law, limited and decentralized government, equal opportunity, less regulation, lower taxes, less government spending, balanced budgets, belief in God, family and community life ... And ways that adhere to our Constitution [especially: freedom and liberty, separation of powers, federalism, state and local more than central-federal, and the 1st, 2nd and 10th Amendments]
•u DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Relies more on the powers of the federal government -- bigger, more centralized and ever more powerful government as the source of solutions to nearly every problem -- via bureaucratic rule- and decision-making, over-regulation [“command and control” mechanisms], taxing and spending, globalization, social engineering, and the politics of good intentions [we have them; you pay for them]. Democrats are more likely to tolerate ways adverse to life, marriage, family and religion in the public sphere, elitist means that rely more upon “the best and the brightest”, and ways that compromise the 1st and 2nd Amendments to the Constitution.
Bottom line? -- Democratic fetishes for big government and the politics of good intentions dishonor American values and diminish the American Dream!
This new focus on HOW over WHAT implies a major shift in candidate selections and campaign messages. What better opportunity to put the shift into effect than for the 2010 Congressionals! After all, Congress has been a major culprit in the crisis. Bailout and stimulus experience highlight HOW Congress fails to do the people’s business -- working for themselves and their big political donors rather than us. Note, for example:
•ý Fannie and Freddie, aided and abetted by Rep. Barney Frank; and
•ý AIG, aided and abetted by Senator Chris Dodd.
The risks of huge federal bets on poor policies have been placed on the backs of the American people for generations to come because Congress doesn’t know HOW to handle the WHAT for US.
Yet, for the GOP to play any significant role in reform of the Congress, the Party must first transform itself. With entrepreneurship and innovation as the prime drivers of the new economy, how can the GOP fail to be entrepreneurial and innovative -- unless the Party wants to go the way of the Whigs? Reorientation implies the GOP should:
•ü Recruit and support candidates who are entrepreneurs and innovators, who “think anew and act anew.”
•ü Take seriously and give responsibility to those in the party’s ranks who are renegades, whistleblowers, or who otherwise “think out of the box.”
•ü Encourage serious debate on differences within the party. Open up the party to rethinking and new ideas as to HOW we can honor old values in new ways.
•ü Rebuild the party from the bottom-up by following guidelines to be found in WE THE PEOPLE: A Conservative Populism and TAKE BACK YOUR GOVERNMENT: A Handbook for the Private Citizen Who Wants Democracy to Work.
•ü DO NOT support candidates for Congress who will not agree to run as “Change Congress” and “Downsize DC” candidates [see Change-Congress.org and DownsizeDC.com].
For the sake of the American Dream, it’s time to do or die. “Live Free or Die!”
PETER BEARSE, Ph.D., Independent-conservative candidate for Congress in ‘08 and former member of the NH GOP Platform Committee, June 21, 2009. Comments to email@example.com would be welcome.