The Republican leadership is right to feel very bad about the result of
this week’s election. They hung on by their fingernails to their majority in the Congress of the United States, and their performance has
now given the Democrats and the left-wing media cause for joy and celebration. The Democrat coalition of depravity seems to have succeeded thus far, or so we are being told.
The media are trying their usual interpretive garbage, as they have for
the last decade or so. Their aim is to do one thing — drive the Republicans away from the constituency of moral concern. And the further they drive the Republicans from that constituency, the more assured will be the utter defeat of the Republican Party. In Tuesday’s election returns we saw good confirmation of that on many fronts.
In the gubernatorial race in my home state of Maryland, for instance,
Ellen Sauerbrey was defeated again. But there was a difference. Last time around she came across as a strong and principled moral and fiscal conservative. She ran a good tough campaign and didn’t back away from any of the issues — and she came within an ace of defeating Paris Glendenning, and was defeated in the end only by cheating on the part of
the Democrats. This time, she listened to pollsters and consultants who told her to soften her image and back away from the pro-life issue, and not to talk so much about the conservative themes.
And guess what? She was beaten, beaten by a convincing margin, and by a governor that has already been weakened by dissension within his own party.
One of the major truths illustrated by exit polling nationally was that
amongst two key constituencies that can provide a margin of victory for the Democrats — the Hispanic vote and the black vote — there was a 2 percent increase in overall share of voters who went to the polls.
Guess which constituency declined, in terms of its overall share of the
vote? The moral conservative constituency. If there was any doubt, it is now quite clear that the Republicans in Congress blew it over the last two years. And among the moral conservatives who watched them blow it, there was no strong enthusiasm to support a Republican majority that
had in fact, as Jim Dobson pointed out a few days before the election, abandoned the moral constituency on pretty much every issue of importance.
Not only that, but with their performance on the budget they had left
the conservatives who are concerned about regaining control of our dollars and shrinking the size of the federal government with the sense that this majority had abandoned them.
So on what point of the winning conservative agenda that had carried them to victory in 1994 was the Republican majority in the Congress perceived as acting with integrity, and fighting for what was right? On not a single element of that agenda. And that is why they did badly.
In point of fact, yesterday the Republican leadership got what it deserved.
Now, the country did not get what it needed. The perceived “triumph” of
the Democrats gives comfort to the coalition of depravity that supports Bill Clinton, and pushes the country overall further toward the brink of
moral self-destruction. We are now entering an extremely dangerous period for America.
We ought to enter it, though, with an aroused awareness both of the danger and of what is required to meet that danger. But I am not sure that awareness will be there, certainly not in the minds of current Republican leaders.
What these leaders have done is to play the Democrat game for the past two-and-a-half years. Newt Gingrich thinks that he is going to out “New Deal” the New Dealers. He thinks that with small portions of tax bribes here
and there, and by stitching together the various constituencies based on the
“money is God” approach, Republicans can continue to win electoral victories.
It’s not going to work. The Republican Party must be the party of moral
vision and moral principle, or it will lose. And if we go on playing the old Democrat, materialist, New Deal, coalition game — we will lose.
And, sadly, I think that is what Newt Gingrich wants to try to do, and he will take the party to disaster. It is what G. W. Bush and the rest of the Clinton Republicans represent, and they will take the Republican Party to disaster. If we go down that road, it will be over.
The results that we saw Tuesday for people like Matt Fong in California
show that unprincipled, squishy-soft, “back away from the real issues” Republicans will not win. It is true that if we take a principled position we are still sometimes going to lose, as Jim Ross Lightfoot did
in Iowa. But if the Republican leadership goes down this squishy-soft road, they will be sacrificing an historic opportunity. And that is certainly what they have been desperately trying to do for the last several years.
And believe me, if they keep moving in this direction — the unprincipled, power-mongering, New Deal direction, with the motto: “let’s be Republicans but have a Democrat agenda and heart” — then in the year 2000 they will suffer real and stunning defeat. They will lose the Congress and they will lose the presidency.
And that will be very dangerous. Because the other thing that I saw in
this election season was the proof that the Democrats have no principles
and they have no moral decency as a party. They have abandoned the rule of law. At heart they are a totalitarian party willing to do anything to get into power. They abandoned law, principle, and the Constitution — and in the end they pursued political victory in a way that was aimed
at fomenting race hatred and division — anything to get power. I am thoroughly convinced that the Democrats are deeply dangerous to the future of the country.
And so if the Republican leadership is unable to correct its course, and
they do allow the emergence of what would quickly become a one-party dictatorship, consolidated by whatever nefarious, illegal and unconstitutional means that the Democrats thought that they had to implement, this county will have seen its end in terms of republican self-government.
This is sad but true. I think we are there. This scenario is no longer
speculation — you can see it laid out in the course of the next few years, exactly how it will come about, and exactly what quarter the danger lies in.
If the Republicans continue to imitate the Democrats in their approach
to politics, as they have been increasingly doing, they will become a party composed only of the half-hearted, the unprincipled, and those who are willing to do whatever it takes for the sake of power. Such a party will not perform the historic role that is needed to save this Republic.
Those are the battle lines that we saw being drawn on election night.
And now the battle must be fought out for the future of the country. It must be fought first, I deeply believe, within the ranks of the Republican Party. And it is going to be a tough battle. Everything is now being set up to push the Republicans in the direction of abandoning the constituency of moral concern.
The next little while will be helpful for those looking to sort out real
from phony concern in Republican leaders. Some of the people who have been trying to pander to the moral conservative constituency because they thought that this was a route to victory are going to be scared off
by the results of this election, and by the propaganda interpretation of
the leftist media. And we will begin to see clearly who in fact has a heart for the moral issues and who doesn’t.
The folks who simply stand and continue to move forward trying to mobilize the constituency of moral concern to help pull this country back from the brink of self-destruction — not because it is politically
expedient, but because it is true and right for the country — those are
the real guys. The phonies will now, I think, start back-pedaling, and down-playing, and putting on the back burner the issues of moral concern. And we will know what was really in their hearts all along. So watch for this, in the course of the weeks ahead.
In that respect, I think the outcome of this election may have been necessary so that we can separate the true hearts from the false ones in
terms of commitment to the moral agenda. And I also think that it may have been necessary for making undeniable and explicit the sense of failure that attaches now to these years of unprincipled compromise and surrender on the part of the Republican leadership.
Naturally, Newt Gingrich and his buddies are not going to see it this
way. They will be trying everything under the sun to distract us from what really happened on Tuesday, and the left-wing media will help them,
because they know that by doing so they will destroy the prospects for the Republican Party.
But we need to try to cut through all of that and look at the heart of
things — the constituency of moral concern, disappointed and abandoned,
did not turn out to support the Republicans. And if that continues to be the case in the future, they will lose.