When Republicans Act Like Democrats
Barack Obama has now been elected the forty-fourth President of the United States. He ran a very organized campaign and has made history as the first man of color to be elected to the nation's highest political office. Democrats have increased their margin of representation over Republicans in both houses of congress and hold a majority in the senate which should allow them to pass almost all legislation they desire. This election can be seen as either a repudiation or an opportunity for the Republicans Party. I see it as a little of both.
First, let me say right up front, that I do not like political parties. I don't care if they are Democrats, Republicans, Bull Moose, or Whigs. Both George Washington and John Adams, our nation's first two presidents, believed that political parties would lead to the downfall of our political system of representative democracy since it allowed special interest groups to gain too much power over political candidates. Today we can see their fears have been realized in Washington with billions of dollars worth of political influence financing campaigns. Trial lawyers, trade unions, the medical industry, abortion advocates, financial institutions, and a host of other lobbyists roam the halls of congress doling out money to any politician willing to compromise his principles for a chance to get a piece of the pork. As we recently witnessed in the mortgage industry meltdown, even those who are supposed to be overseeing quasi-government agencies like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae can collect hundreds of thousands of dollars from those whom they are supposed to be regulating. This is a classic example of the fox guarding the henhouse.
In the election of 2000, Republicans won both houses of congress and the presidency. This was a great opportunity for those elected to enact the conservative core values which defined the Republican party in the 1980's - limited government, fiscal conservatism, strong national defense, and strong social values. These are the ideas which Ronald Reagan communicated to Americans which allowed him to unite his GOP base along with "Reagan Democrats" to win landslide elections in 1980 and 1984. However, for six years the Republicans in power ignored these conservative values and acted like big-spending Democrats. They ran up a huge deficit and instituted a myriad of expensive government-sponsored social programs such as the Medicare drug program. When our military became bogged down in the Iraq war and the deficits and spending kept growing, American voters got fed up. In 2006, Republicans lost control of both houses of congress. Americans wanted change and any change seemed preferable to the status quo. The GOP lost its way and this year put forth a squishy, middle-of-the-road presidential candidate in John McCain who claimed he was well-suited to reach across the aisle to work with Democrats. In truth, McCain had repeatedly demonstrated this with his record for tag-team legislation, working with Russ Feingold, Ted Kennedy, John Edwards, John Kerry, and other liberal lawmakers. "Reaching across the political aisle" always entails selling out conservative values - something McCain seemed willing to do more often than not. At the tail-end of his political campaign McCain tried to convince voters that he was a real agent for change in Washington. The voters didn't buy it. Then there was the other candidate who was, by his mere appearance, an obvious change to the stereotypical politician. Thus, we now have president-elect Barack Obama, the first mixed-race American to take the oath of office.
So, what does all this mean for America? The country will now fall under the control of big-government politicians controlling the executive branch and both houses of congress. Taxes will be raised on the top 5 percent of wage-earners (including most small business owners), who now carry 60 percent of the income tax burden, and millions of checks will be sent out to the 40 percent of those who pay no federal income tax. Capital gains taxes, already the second-highest in the world, will be raised from 15 percent to 20 or 25 percent. The Bush tax cuts will be repealed and the estate tax will be reinstituted. An extremely costly government-sponsored health care program will be enacted which will cover both citizens and illegal immigrants. The government will very quickly run up a trillion dollar deficit once all of Obama's programs are implemented. The Supreme Court will probably see two or three more activist liberal judges appointed. There will be an attempt to culturally redefine America. Affirmative action will be strictly enforced across the country and there will be a move to provide "reparations" for those of African-American heritage. The courts will shoot down all restrictions on abortion and America will become the most pro-abortion nation on earth. A liberal Supreme Court will attempt to change the definition of marriage at the national level. There will be many challenges to the Second Amendment right to own firearms. Conservative talk radio will be restricted by the so-called "Fairness Doctrine" and there will be more political correctness and speech codes on college campuses. Twelve to twenty million illegal aliens will be granted amnesty and Democrats will attempt to make them citizens as quickly as possible and register them for their party. Military spending will be cut by 25% and America's armed forces will come under the influence of the United Nations. No global consensus - no military action.
And what does this portend for the Republican Party? Actually, this is a great opportunity for the GOP. Americans are not Europeans despite the wishes of Democrats that we were more like them. Most Americans believe that independence, hard work and entrepreneurialism leads one to success. These are the conservative core values which our Founding Fathers incorporated into the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Most Americans want a limited, fiscally-responsible federal government, low taxes, and a strong military which will defend our country. Most have Judeo-Christian values and do not want to redefine marriage. They believe that Americans have the right to defend themselves with a firearm. Will the Republican Party learn a lesson from this election and return to its conservative roots? Only time will tell. If Republicans continue to act like Democrats they will live a long time in the political wilderness. If they rediscover their true identity and unite behind a conservative standard bearer, America may experience a second "Reagan Revolution".