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The Year of “The Angry Voter” and the Future of the G.O.P.

As Election Day approaches, American voters are not in a good mood. More than 64% agree that the nation is heading in the wrong direction. On the economy, consumer confidence is consistently at one of its lowest points in years, unemployment continues to rise, and more than ever before, Americans are finally believing the issue of our nation’s debt is at a crisis level.

As a result, the Party which controls every legislative chamber of federal government is now facing one of the most abrupt falls from political power that we have ever seen. In 2008, Democrats rode a wave of change. Creating that wave was Barack Obama, a new presence in politics who convincingly argued that with him at the helm, he would lead Democrats in “transforming America”. From Berlin, Germany to Bayonne, New Jersey, Senator Obama traveled the globe and the nation and painted a picture of a new and improved America, an America that was loved by all the world and that lifted the quality of all our lives. He promised to provide us all with better healthcare, financial wealth, inexpensive, cleaner energy, the best education and a less partisan political atmosphere that would unite us rather than divide us.

Instead what they got was not just the opposite, it was so antithetical to that promise that people are not just angry, they are offended.

Instead of real bipartisanship, the nation has seen the major issues of the day turned into  an audaciously corrupt and intensely partisan process that closed it doors to any differences of opinion. Instead of financial wealth, they have seen less business growth, less jobs, increased federal spending, higher prices, economic uncertainty and by year‘s end, record tax increases. And in the case of healthcare instead of seeing any meaningful reforms, they have seen it turned into a government bureaucracy that is raising costs more than lowering them. In fact, on virtually every signature issue of President Obama and the Democrat Congress, such as stimulus spending, the healthcare law and the bailouts, most voters oppose reelecting anyone who supported them.

In general, Democrats have done nothing to instill confidence in their leadership and vision for America. In fact, it is just the opposite and it happens to be their ‘signature’ issues, their top priorities, which have produced not only a lack of confidence in them, but a backlash of anger against them.

The healthcare bill, and the way in which Democrats rammed it through, highlighted all that Americans hate about politics and all that they feel is wrong with how business is done in Washington, D.C.. It was a process that revealed how the bills they vote on, go unread and how it closed the door to the Republicans, and even went so far as to shut down opposing views by asking Americans to report to the names and sources behind arguments which refuted the Democrat’s position on the issue. They asked that such dissention be reported to them at flag@whitehouse.gov, an assault on freedom eerily similar to that of the German National Socialist Party as it began to takeover Germany.

The process also highlighted numerous backroom deals that bought the votes of wavering Democrats at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars each. And in perhaps what was one of the most astonishing shows of just out of touch Democrats are, they spent an entire year focusing on ramming through their unpopular government takeover of healthcare, at a time when the economy was the top issue on the minds of Americans.

Today, the economy is still the top issue in the minds of most, but as demonstrated by their focus on healthcare reform, the White House and Democrat led Congress, nproved themselves to be out of touch and ineffective on. But even more than that, the one solution that they consistently offer to solve our economic troubles is turning out to be a another problem of its own which they fail face up to…… spending.

To every issue, their solution is spending. But spending has now gotten so obviously out of control that average Americans who understands that 2 plus 2 equals 4, have become offended by this liberal mentality that hopes people will believe that more money out of their pockets will allow government to put more money into their pockets. This offensive notion has only been compounded by the Democrat approach to all issues and problems which also calls for more government.

People are waking up to the realization that more government costs more money. They understand that a healthcare bill which creates over 127 new government agencies, department and bureaus does little to drive down healthcare costs and much to, among other things, increase costs.

Combined with that fact that the exaggerated growth of government and government spending is doing nothing to improve the economy and in fact is doing just the opposite, what you have is a new voter demographic. It is not a demographic identified by race, religion, or geographic region. It is not a demographic identified by age, or life conditions. It can’t be described as “Soccer Moms”, “Reagan Democrats” or “Yuppies”. It is a demographic that crosses all divides and unites a profoundly large portion of the electorate in 2012. It is the demographic of “Angry Voters”.

In the Republican Revolution of 1994, credit for the political turnaround of that time was credited to what pundits penned as “Angry White Men”. They claimed that white men were fed up and felt threatened by the rise of women and minorities in society and took it out on democrats. These pundits were as wrong then as those who try to play the race card anytime President Obama must face legitimate criticism today. In ‘94, the revolt away from Democrats largely began when President Clinton gave First Lady Hillary Clinton the responsibility for reforming healthcare with a plan that would have government take it over. That move did not suddenly unite white men again Democrats and it did not motivate African-Americans to come out and support them. It had nothing to with sex or color and everything to do with federal overreach.

Fast forward 16 years and history is repeating itself.

In 2010 Americans are seeing a dramatically exaggerated display of government largess which is leading to a government that is growing too much, spending too much, controlling too much and failing too much. It is the failings and the overreach of Democrats which is what is behind the Republican Rejuvenation of 2010. In 2008, politicos and the left wing of American politics touted the demise of the G.O.P.. Some political prognosticators claimed that the Republican Party was dead for a generation or more. Others claimed it had gone the way of the Whigs. As usual, they were wrong. But this is not to the credit of Republicans. The Republican bounce back has less to do with them and everything to do with Democrats.

Democrats have so offended the senses of rational thought in mainstream America, that the average person has become “angry”. So much so that even those who care little for Republicans, are willingly holding their noses to vote the Republican ticket, simply to register their disgust with government and the Democrats controlling it. And all of these people have become the “Angry Voter” demographic that is about to undo the liberal overreach of the past 20 months which has simply highlighted and brought to the forefront, all that Americans see wrong with government.

I would suggest that I could be wrong, but if I were, Republicans would not be preferred over Democrats by 48% to 39% of likely voters, a dramatic turnaround from 2008. If I was wrong, voters would not be trusting Republicans more than Democrats on 8 out of 10 key issues. If I was wrong, 78% of mainstream voters would not be claiming that they prefer fewer services and lower taxes.

If I was wrong. West Virginia’s overwhelmingly popular Democrat Governor would be far ahead of his Republican opponent in the race replace the late Robert Byrd in the Senate. However, despite the fact that voters in West Virginia love Governor Manchin, they are skeptical of sending another Democrat to Washington, D.C., where the last thing they want is to provide additional support to take the nation in the wrong direction that they feel Democrats are leading us in.

Americans are fed up. They feel hoodwinked by a President who promised to unite us but has only successful polarized us. They feel swindled by a Congress that promised a healthcare bill that would lower costs, but is already raising premiums. They feel swindled by a government that is taking more freedoms away than they are protecting. They feel betrayed by a federal government that will sue a sovereign American state in order to allow the free flow of illegal immigration in America. They are angered by a White House that promised to not conduct business as usual, only to demonstrate that they are conducting business worse than usual.

These are the reasons why Democrats are losing voters since 2008. It is why more voters are again beginning to identify themselves as Republicans than as Democrats. It is also why many Democrats are not even coming out to vote and why Democrats are on scheduled to suffer some of the most significant losses in decades. 20 months after promising the world to voters and inspiring and motivating millions of young and first time voters to the polls, Democrats under Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and President Obama, have not only disappointed them, they have embarrassed them and successfully discouraged those new voters from showing their support for Democrats again in 2010. And what’s more is, they have so alienated so many, that new group of young and first time voters are now inspired to come out to vote against them.

In 2008, Republicans presented little reason to vote for them and in many cases, were already seeing the signs of disenchantment from their own base of support. But now, in 2010, although Republicans have done little to change that, Democrats have successfully embarrassed their own base, turned disenchantment into downright anger and chased voters back into the arms of the Republican Party. From here on out it will be up to the G.O.P. to prove that they have gotten the message which they strayed away from and cost them dearly in 2008. If they fail to, I predict that a third Party will begin to rise.

From the TEA movement, arguably, the most influential political force of the last year, we will see an independent ideological division of voters significant enough to not merely influence the selection of candidates in the primary elections of both major Parties, but one so potent and so disgusted with the failure of both major Parties, that it will naturally rise to the forefront. Ultimately, this would be to the benefit of the Democrat Party, for this new breed of anger voters is united behind principles which are largely encompassed by the Republican Party but seemingly ignored by the political establishment of the Party.

These angry voters are beholden not to any Party. They are ruled by a commitment to the Constitution and three core achievements ……. less government, less spending and, more liberty. By the very nature of today’s contemporary Democrat Party, those goals contradict with the liberal faith in an activist government which seeks to regulate more, provide more services, oversee more, and spend more to do so. For that reason, if Republicans fail to represent the total opposite of what Democrats offer, this new breed of angry of voters is far too fed up to reverse the current trend, jump back to Democrats and put them back in power. Instead they will continue to reject the modern Democrat Party, turn their back on the G.O.P. once and for all, draw votes away from them and make it possible for the smaller number of left leaning supporters to build up a coalition of enough votes to compromise slim electoral victories for Democrats in local, state and national, three way elections.

For this reason, it is with trepidation that I look forward to November 2nd. I fear that the G.O.P. may not fully be ready to lead as it should. Thanks to Democrats, the Republican Rejuvenation of 2010 is coming to the the G.O.P. leadership  far too easily. I fear that the wrong leadership in the Republican Party will take this victory for granted. If they do, Democrats and the liberal ideology that most Americans do not agree with or have faith in, will once again be advanced much too far for their liking. If Republicans fail to adhere to a hard-line on states rights, a constitutional limited government, limited spending and a social agenda that does not invade privacy and individual rights, they may not go the way of the Whigs, but they could find themselves enduring many years of hard fought elections that produce the same type of electoral success that John McCain saw in 2008.

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True Conservatism Is A Source Of Unity

Bookmark and Share   The G.O.P. is floundering at the moment.  They are offering little to help themselves gain traction and the only ground they are gaining is due to the failings of the current ruling regime in Washington.
I have written several parts of an ongoing series to help change this situation but in addition to the ideas contained therein, Republicans must step back and get its heart to beat properly.  The way to do that is to reclaim its conservative mantle. 
 In trying to do so we must ask ourselves what makes one conservative?

con2Is a conservative someone who is against the rights of homosexuals? Are they individuals who promote segregation of the races or mandate that everyone pray in schools? Such beliefs do not make for a conservative, they account for the opinions and policies of bigots.

Are you a conservative if you believe in respect of the flag or citing the pledge of allegiance? Many liberals have an appreciation for such things.

Are you a conservative if you oppose deficit spending? Many conservatives have participated in spending more than we have and some liberals oppose such practices.

So obviously none of these things make one a conservative.

Is opposition to abortion a defining prerequisite for qualification as a conservative? If one is not certain of when a constitutional definition of life begins, the conservative value of freedom of choice and strict adherence to the Constitution might force some who consider themselves conservative to support abortion rights on the basis that a women has the right to choose what to do with her body or what is contained in her body.

There are many different views to conservatism that are open for individual definitions of itself.
Many conservatives put more weight in a moral standard than a legal standard when it comes to abortion. Others might take a strictly constitutional approach and claim that until there is a constitutional amendment that defines life as beginning at the moment of conception or at some other stage in the womb, it has no legal identity or rights until born.

Individual interpretations on many issues will always produce a spin that could question the results of any litmus test that seeks to define one as a conservative and this fact makes it impossible to consistently define conservatism in a foolproof manner.

Then of course you have different types of conservatives to add to the improbability of any accurate litmus test.

There are neo-conservatives who emphasize strong security, paleo-conservatives who put the emphasis on faith and values and then you also have libertarian conservatives who have a focus on individual rights.

You can slice and dice any political line of thought into any myriad of categories but true conservatives believe in a balance between all of those identified focuses.

One thing that all conservatives agree upon is the size of government. They believe it should be smaller. But even there what makes for a smaller and still appropriate government is not agreed upon. But it is the basic point of smaller government that is at the heart of conservatism. It stems from the shared belief that more government means more control and that more control means less freedom.

That single shared belief goes deeper than it sounds and at its depth is what differentiates conservatives from liberals and Republicans from Democrats. And for all the things that do not define one as a conservative the philosophical depth of and reasoning behind small government leads us to what does help to make one a conservative to one degree or another.

Conservatives are actually individual thinkers who have both a social and economic outlook that stems from one basic principle…….freedom. It is a belief in the Declaration of Independence and the writings of the United States Constitution along with an understanding of its intended path for symmetry between life, society and government. True conservatives strike a balance between governance and natural rights They understand that Sir Edmund Burke was in many ways one of the original conservatives and they understand his writings as they pertain to the relationship of religion, free markets, authority and liberty. They know that the correct balance of these relationships allows for the respect of the individual and their natural rights while maintaining a civil society or ordered liberty.

A real conservative understands that government, especially a federal government, exists to preserve order by recognizing the uniqueness of each individual and their freedoms while maintaining a moral order through an ethical judgment that is based upon our Constitution. They understand that this ethical order exists to allow the individual to pursue their own interests and avenues to happiness and full potential without man made government obstacles and they understand the need to protect, preserve and defend the national environment for such pursuits.

With these understandings and beliefs, true conservatives seek not to deny rights to homosexuals. They seek to insure that the rights of gay individuals are protected along with those of heterosexuals. On this issue a true conservative approach respects tradition by preserving the sanctity of marriage as a union between a man and a woman while also preserving the rights of same sex individuals to enter a legally contractually union that provides the equal legal recognition required of our constitution.

True conservatives do not define how society must think or what they should believe but they insure that one is free to follow their heart and to insure the opportunity to do so. Conservatives do not mandate prayer, they seek to insure that prayer is not prohibited or that religious expression is not denied.

For one to be a real conservative they must understand the right to legitimately obtain and own property or accumulate wealth through the fruits of their own labors without penalty for their effort.

They also understand that the rule of law is not a tool to be used to enforce any religious standard or personal opinion but to maintain a moral order that is based upon restraint, honor, respect and ethical judgment that insures that no ones rights are abridged or denied. Being human, the application of this order is not always perfect but, for virtuous men, conservatives believe that it is the closest we can come to perfection with any man made system of governance that seeks to preserve a fair, free, prosperous and civil society.

With these beliefs I too call myself a conservative and as a conservative I find my place within the ranks of the Republican Party a perfect fit. There may be differences within the Republican Party but while these differences exist, each differing opinion stems from their individual interpretation of how best to enact all that I have described which makes one a conservative.

Voters and activists can try to paint themselves as more conservative or as true conservatives by tattooing the label of a conservative party or the libertarian label on their foreheads but labels do not make a philosophy or ideology. A strict adherence to the values of freedom and a civil society that does not deny rights to any segment of society or promote special rights for any segment of society help to make you a conservative. If you believe that government must defend and protect our equal natural rights and apply that belief to the practical application of government than you may be a conservative. If you do not, you are most definitely not a conservative and you are also not a real Republican.

Defending the sanctity of marriage alone does not make you a Republican or a conservative. Standing up only for the right to bear arms does not make you a conservative or a Republican. Nor does simply supporting Sarah Palin or a robust national defense make you one. And neither does simply joining an organization that calls itself a Conservative Party make you a true conservative.

What makes one a true conservative is an inherent belief in freedom and an attempt to maintain it in an orderly society through judgment that is rooted in objective applications of our founding principles and the U.S. Constitution.

Conservatives believe in the supremacy of man while providing for the proper checks and balances to account for all his frailties and imperfections while liberals believe in the supremacy of the state and producing more of it to make up for any imperfections or frailties.

While conservatives believe that an all powerful government leads to the few dictating to the many which limits freedom, liberals believe that freedom must be limited because man is too imperfect to regulate himself and so the state must do it for him.

That liberal approach to government is what we see more and more of with the passage of each and every day that this administration maintains it power. And as they seek to consolidate power it is becoming increasingly important for those with conservative values to consolidate their voices and their power in a unified front.

Despite the characterizations from the left which try claim that Republican Party is losing popularity because it is too extreme, the truth is that over the past six years or so, the G.O.P. has been losing more so-called conservatives than moderates. We have lost more Republicans to the Libertarian Party than we have to the Democrat Party. This would indicate that we must recapture the conservative spirit which I have described.

This does not necessarily mean that we will move more to the proverbial right. In fact what it means is if we can get back to basics, through the framework established by the Constitution and our fundamental conservative belief in and  understanding of the balance between ordered liberty, respect, religion, ethical judgment and individual natural rights, we can unite the most divided wings of the party….. the social liberals and social conservatives.

Through a renewed conservative appreciation for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights we can create a harmonious union of the two and consolidate our energy as one unified voice as we try to overcome the current liberal attempt to consolidate power and advance an agenda that is antithetical to the founding principles that have made America great.

That is why although it may be easier for one to call themselves something other than a Republican these days, I seek to fight for the right changes and policies from within not from without. I reject the notion that the party of Reagan is a left leaning institution at heart and I reject the notion that if so-called Conservatives or Constitutionalists or Libertarians occupied the halls of power that they too would not  succumb to the same failings that electoral politics causes Republicans or Democrats to fall victim to.

Those that have given up on the Republican because they feel that it is no longer any different than the other major party, they must understand that it may be  enticing to join a different affiliation with a clean slate and an that has has an unblemushed record simply because it has no track record at all.  The grass always seems greener on the other side. But those perceived greener pastures are just that,………. perceptions.  In truth they are no greener than the land you occupy and they must go through the same process to keep the grass green that you have to go through. You must remember though, that it is easy for any organization that does not have power to claim purity when it is not tried or tested.   It would be easy for me to unburden myself of a tarnished party label but my senses do not allow me to simply take on a new identity while working towards the same goal.

As a Caucasian, in some ethereal way, I can still be blamed for slavery, but that does not make me claim that I am tan rather than white. The people have elected their share of liberal Republicans but that does not mean that the true Republican ideology and approach to government is liberal. Nor am I.

There may be some with liberal tendencies within the G.O.P. but I refuse to leave my political home because some visitors occupy it. And as for those conservatives who breakaway from the Republican Party and battle to fight on a separate front, you must understand that the main front will only continue to weaken and that will only enable the left to continue breaking through. If the G.O.P. is left to liberals it will indeed become a liberal organization and if conservatives are not willing to fight to have their voices heard within the Republican Party than I have little hope for them to effectively fight to be heard in the nation.

As we wittness the current level of political discourse exceed the levels that we thought could not have gotten worse when George W. Bush was President,  it is clear that the Republican Party must get back to basics.  Those basics include the fundmentals principles of the conservatism that is an inherent party of the Republican Party.   And if we look at the Constitution of the United States and acknowledge the value of freeedom, true conservatism applied correctly, can be a source of unity for the party and the nation.

Applied incorrectly it will continue to be a source for division.

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