In 1984 Republicans put forth the Contract with America outlining their goals. I think it's time for Republicans to put together a new clear cut plan as they did then defining their goals and points of focus. I've put together 10 points I feel represent what it means to be a Republican and should be the 10 points of focus going forward. I hope my fellow Republicans agree and will make an effort to see that we put up candidates that represent each of these points.
1) Fiscal responsibility - It's time to push for the balanced budget amendment, we should not allow our government to spend more then it takes in. Not only should we push for such an amendment to the Constitution but it's time to start calling out those who vote against it. Point out who exactly is supporting the government's growing national debt.
104th Congress. On January 25, 1995, the (Republican-controlled) House passed a balanced budget constitutional amendment by vote of 300 ayes to 132 nays (H.J. Res. 1). The version the House passed in 1995 is identical to S.J.Res. 1 of the 105th Congress.
There were two votes in the Senate in the 104th Congress: On March 2, 1995, the Senate failed to adopt S.J. Res.1/H.J.Res. 1. The vote was 65-to-35. (Fifty-one Republicans and 14 Democrats voted "aye". Two Republicans and 33 Democrats voted "nay". However, Majority Leader Dole, an avid supporter of a balanced budget amendment, voted "nay" only so that he could move to reconsider the vote.) In fact, there were 66 aye votes available in the Senate on March 2, 1995, one shy of the necessary two-thirds. Six Democratic Senators who voted for the resolution in 1994 voted against it in 1995.
The proposal that failed in the Senate was slightly different from the version the House approved because the Senate had added on the floor an amendment on judicial review, which read: "The judicial power of the United States shall not extend to any case or controversy arising under this article except as may be specifically authorized by legislation adopted pursuant to this section."
Then, on June 6, 1996, the Senate failed again to obtain a two-thirds majority. The vote was 64 yeas (52 Republicans and 12 Democrats) to 35 nays (one Republican and 34 Democrats).
103rd Congress. On March 1, 1994, the Senate failed by four votes to adopt a balanced budget constitutional amendment (S.J. Res. 41). Forty-one Republicans and 22 Democrats voted for the proposal; 3 Republicans and 34 Democrats voted against it. On March 17, 1994, the House again failed to obtain the two-thirds majority necessary for passage (H.J. Res. 103).
102nd Congress. On June 9, 1992, the House again narrowly failed to reach the necessary two-thirds majority. The Senate failed to obtain cloture on a balanced budget amendment on June 30, 1992, and again on July 1, 1992. In each case, the vote was 56 (41 Republicans and 15 Democrats) to 39 (no Republicans and 39 Democrats).
101st Congress. On July 17, 1990, the House voted on a balanced budget constitutional amendment, but the House fell a few votes short of the necessary two-thirds (H.J. Res. 268).
99th Congress. On March 25, 1986, the Senate failed by one vote to adopt a balanced budget constitutional amendment (S.J. Res. 225). Forty-three Republicans and 23 Democrats voted for the proposal; 10 Republicans and 24 Democrats voted against it.
97th Congress. The Senate adopted a balanced budget constitutional amendment on August 4, 1982, by vote of 69-to-31 (S.J. Res. 58). Forty-seven Republicans and 22 Democrats voted for the amendment; seven Republicans and 24 Democrats voted against it. The Senate proposal was not voted on in the House of Representatives, but the House did vote on H.J. Res. 350 on October 1, 1982, failing to obtain the necessary two-thirds majority.
Its time to show Americans which party is responsible for the national debt we have today.
2) Fight for lower taxes - While it goes hand in hand with fiscal responsibility I still feel this needs to be a point of its own. With less spending the government will have less of a need to tax.
3) Prosperity through effort - We reward failure in this country and we do so by punishing those who work hard. We increase the tax burden taking away the fruits of hard effort to "help" those who live irresponsibly or are simply lazy. It's time to stop this and start allowing those who work hard to succeed while those who do not to fail.
4) Focus on environmental issue - Republicans have allowed Democrats to claim ownership of environmental issues. Its time to put this to an end. Republicans are often the better choice on protecting the environment but they don't argue why. They don't make as big a deal of environmental issues as Democrats do.
Protecting the forestry industry is one such example. Look at areas in which Democrats have taken control and pushed their complete hands off approach on forests. In "protecting" the forests they've passed laws outlawing loggers. What this accomplished it stopping older growth trees nearing the end of their life cycles from being cleared out. They eventually die and turn into dry wood. Loggers also clear out a lot of the underbrush which opens the floor of forests for new trees to grow and prosper. With the dead older trees and underbrush you have perfect environments for the huge out of control forest fires you see in CA and other parts of the country. Even logging roads themselves help prevent this by creating breaks in the forest to stop the spread of fires and allowing access points for firefighters to stop fires before they grow too far out of control.
Most people aren't aware of the fundamentals such as this which is why they believe Democrats are better on the environment. Republicans need to start tooting their own horn more often.
5) Fight for life - Republicans need to stay strong on being the party for life.
Abortion activists have only one valid argument and that is that none of us know for 100% certainy when life truly begins. But even the strongest advocates for abortion support that when an infant is outside the womb it becomes a human life. It is on this point that Republicans need to hammer Democrats like Obama who support partial birth abortion which is killing the baby after it has been partially birthed and is outside the womb. Even by their own standards this is murder.
Some stem cell research should also be viewed as protecting life and Republicans have made a big mistake in being against all forms of it. This is an area I think the party should look to correct it's past mistake.
6) Fight for Liberty - Its time to start stepping up as the pro freedom party. State Republicans in NH have done a fairly good job on this point but over all the party needs more work. Stop supporting legislation that limits freedoms, stop stripping liberty, stop the laws that enforce victimless crimes.
Dec 23, 1791 Thomas Jefferson wrote "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."
That should be the mantra for the Republican party.
7) Fight for the Pursuit of Happiness - This goes hand in hand with liberty but it still needs to be said and once again Thomas Jefferson summed this up far better then I could ever hope to...
"I am convinced that those societies (as the Indians) which live without government enjoy in their general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under the European governments. Among the former, public opinion is in the place of law, & restrains morals as powerfully as laws ever did anywhere. Among the latter, under pretence of governing they have divided their nations into two classes, wolves & sheep. I do not exaggerate. This is a true picture of Europe."
Which brings us to the next point...
8) Limited government - Its time to take a chainsaw to the federal budget and begin eliminating entire departments of unnecessary bloat. It's time to step the dependency on government that continues to grow in stead of shrink.
9) Strong defense - This goes hand and hand with protecting life, we need to tighten our borders and make sure what happened to us on 9-11 never happens again. That said, we also need to wisen up to the fact that what goes on outside our boarders is not always our concern. Iraq being the perfect example. We went in because we felt they were a danger to our national safety. That argument (note: I'm not getting into a debate here about the facts Bush used to support the argument, I'm only discussing the argument itself) was a valid argument. If another country seeks to cause us harm and we believe they have the means to actually do so then it is a responsibly for us to protect ourselves. However, once we've confirmed they are not a threat as in the case of Iraq then we no longer have any business being there.
10) Support the Constitution - This is the most important point on this list. The Constitution is the set of rules we expect our government to follow as well as the explicit freedoms we expect it to protect. Without it we would be nothing more the slaves.
My hope is that the Republican party can drive focus back to these 10 points which I think are key points to being a Republican. If they can we may actually start seeing people voting for a party rather then simply voting against the other as is usually the case.