Open Letter 2 to Michael Steele, Chairman of the Republican National Committee
The Republican move to stimulate grassroots support by relying on so-called “hot button social issues” is not a positive sign for better government in the United States. This is an especially bad sign when the Republican Party does not accompany leveraging of these social hot buttons with principled stands on appropriate federal issues like limited government, free markets and sound monetary policy. Unfortunately, it is a very short trip from “peace and freedom socialism” (as practiced by the political left) to “national socialism” (as tends to be the extreme political position on the right when the “socialist” part of the equation is not repudiated openly and soundly).
Chairman Michael Steele:
Quoting an article that appeared in The Bulletin (a Philadelphia-area newspaper), the TruPolitics web site reported the following: “In an effort to win two very difficult elections following the popular Clinton Administration, Republican strategists thought it necessary to mobilize the traditional conservative base through hot button social issues. Controversial lightening rod issues, like abortion and gay marriage, became the focal point of debate, and the party was ‘finally rallying behind its conservative base.’” (Benchener, M. (2009, May 8). Obama’s America: A Course Charted by the Republican Party. Retrieved May 12, 2009, from TruPolitics: http://trupolitics.net/2009/05/07/obamas-america-a-course-charted-by-the-republican-party/) The Republican move to stimulate grassroots support by relying on so-called “hot button social issues” was (and, is) not a positive sign for better government in the United States. This is an especially bad sign when the Republican Party did not accompany leveraging of these social hot buttons with principled stands on appropriate federal issues like limited government, free markets and sound monetary policy.
Unfortunately, it is a very short trip from “peace and freedom socialism” (as practiced by the political left) to “national socialism” (as tends to be the extreme political position on the right when the “socialist” part of the equation is not repudiated openly and soundly). If this is the case, then the Republican Party – as they presently articulate and conduct themselves – could easily become as dangerous to our civil liberties as the Democrats. In this case, the Republicans did not make their own bed. Instead, they chose to jump into the bed the Democrats had already made. The Republicans joined the Democrats in their habit of dragging onto the national political stage issues that are purely social. Such issues – like abortion and homosexual marriage – can, and should, be resolved by citizen legislators at the state level or below. (The reasons for this are manifold, but I trust it is not necessary to cover them in detail here for someone so well established in government and politics.)
For years now, the Democrats taken issues like entitlements, public education, health care, energy, and even defense and have dealt with them politically as “social issues.” Unwilling – and, likely, unable – to carry on a rational debate over these issues based on the facts or underlying Constitutional principles, the Democrats resort to demagoguery and pure emotion to curry support from voters that are, themselves, uneducated on or unwilling to consider the facts or principles that would govern a more rational approach to civil government under our Constitution.
Driven by the Republicans’ key controlling principle (i.e., What will get me elected or re-elected?), Republican candidates and officeholders have surrendered to using the same tactics. Is it possible that their surrender is simply because Republican candidates and officeholders are themselves so ignorant of the principles underlying our U.S. Constitution that they cannot marshal and articulate cogent arguments as to why “social issues” should not be resolved by federal law? That, instead, these issues should be repudiated by federal legislators as unsuitable for their consideration and remanded to state and local governments for consideration.
State and local governments should establish and administer public welfare programs, if such programs should even exist (which I personally doubt). Likewise, state and local governments should institute public education, if they choose to do so. (They do not need federal laws or assistance to do this.) It is also true that if some level of government is going to intervene in the health care or health insurance industries, then such intervention should occur at the state level or below. (That is not to say, however, that the U.S. Department of Commerce might not have something to say in matters that truly affect interstate trade. In fact, there may be some legitimate free market-based public interest in tearing down artificial trade barriers erected between states with regard to insurance regulation. More uniform regulation of insurance from state to state would likely increase competition and drive prices down.)
The Republican Party should lead the charge and the public education effort to drive out of federal politics each and every issue that should not be on the federal legislative plate. Should not this approach be the very essence of principled Republican Party politics?
Rather than conceding the battle over tactics to the Democrats, corrupting both good government and good politics, and doing potentially irreparable harm to the U.S. Constitution, imagine what might happen if the Republican Party really did paint “a compelling vision for America’s future” – as you tout in your “Blueprint for Tomorrow” document.
Just imagine if: In contrast to the Democrat’s socially-embedded calls for more and more government intervention and control, the Republicans educated the voters as to why the government that governs least governs best.
Just imagine if: In contrast to the Democrat’s demands for ever-increasing intervention in the free market based on false dichotomies that create groups of victims and oppressors, the Republicans took time to educate themselves and the voters on how a limited government and a free market delivers the greatest benefit to the greatest number of free persons.
Just imagine if: In contrast to the Democrat’s drive for more and more entitlements for various collectivist groups scattered across the political landscape, the Republicans launched a massive education campaign that showed the voting public 1) how welfare programs work to entrap their target groups in an often never-ending cycle of dependency; 2) how personal responsibility, in conjunction with lower taxes and free market opportunities, leads to real freedom for individuals; and 3) how the Democrats create such collectivist groups for their own political benefit – ingratiating the entitlement recipients to the Democrat Party and securing their vote in perpetuity.
And, just imagine if: In contrast to the Democrat’s (and, apparently, the Republican’s) willingness to destroy the U.S. economy through a central banking system and fiat money, some Republican officeholders and candidates would stand up and say, “Enough is enough!” and tell the public why we must return to sound monetary policy.
Just imagine, Mr. Steele. Just imagine if your vision, as stated in “Blueprint for Tomorrow”, came to become reality and more and more Republican candidates and officeholders “stated [a principled Republican] case boldly and unapologetically.” It might even lead to the miraculous resurrection of a Republican “brand.” Thank you for taking time to read this.
Very sincerely yours,
Richard D. Cushing