The Republican Party spends most of its effort promoting the Democrats and their agenda. That’s crazy! Crazy but true. Republicans effectively, if unwittingly, advance the Democrats’ leftist agenda. No matter who is in power, the federal government, its power and expenditures, continue to grow with little chance of reversal.
The Democrats propose a “generous” increase in the minimum wage. The Republicans either oppose an increase and opt for staying at the current level or counter with a more modest increase. The Democrats say that we need to increase the school lunch program by x million dollars. The Republicans answer by offering an increase of one-third x. Democrats say that the government needs to spend a lot more subsidizing housing, and Republicans say that the current level is adequate. Democrats say that more people should be made eligible, and Republicans defend the status quo.
So the predictable dynamic is that the Democrats fight for an increase in spending for some government program, and the Republicans either oppose any increase or counter with a proposal for more modest growth. What impression of the Republican Party does this give? What is the one principle that people are able to discern from Republicans’ policies as stated above? That the Republicans are cheap and uncaring. Some may manage to construe it as fiscal responsibility, but what it comes down to is withholding funds from “worthwhile” programs – thus ultimately withholding help from those who are “entitled” to it.
If the Republicans agree to spend $2 billion on a program, they are inherently saying that it is good and just and worthwhile. Why else would they agree to spend such a massive amount of money on it? If people who position themselves as fiscally responsible spend that kind of money, it has to be for something good. Something right. Something necessary. And here they cede the moral high ground to Democrats, liberals and leftists by validating their policies, programs and agenda. It’s Democrats who are fighting for all of these good and righteous schemes and the Republicans who are dragging their feet.
Every time Republicans say yes, but not so much, they are saying that the Democrats are right and they, the Republicans, are cheap. The Democrats are looking out for the needy and the Republicans are looking out for the cheap and stingy. We are cheap! Hardly an inspiring philosophy. Hardly a winning strategy.
We all know that the best defense is a good offense. The GOP has turned that truism on its head. Their only offense is a pathetic defense. And no matter how good your defense, if you have no offense you will eventually lose. It’s inevitable. After the 1994 elections swept the Republicans into control of Congress, many anticipated the extinction of a few federal agencies. Many even a department or two. Dare to dream. Then we were told that Rome was not built in a day, so don’t expect it to be dismantled in a day. Well, we are still waiting for those first few bricks to be knocked loose.
Sure, the left has moved us to a gargantuan and ever-growing welfare state one step at a time, or make that 1 billion at a time. That is the only way it could have happened. Anyone who 100 years ago had tried to propose what we have now would have been run out of town. Any American town. As per the above, it may be impossible to move in the opposite direction by increments. When you propose to spend less than the left wants, the only principle you are standing on and promoting is cheapness. Not a very compelling platform; rather, it’s a recipe for long-term defeat.
Being second-rate Democrats has been a disaster. Even when Republicans win elections. Agreeing to spend a fortune on Democrat social programs and wealth-transfer schemes only validates those schemes and makes conservatives – or what passes for conservatives these days – look bad. So virtually everything the Republicans do validates Democrats and make themselves look bad. A guaranteed formula for disaster.
So what’s the alternative? How about taking a stand. How about acting on principle? A principle other than cheapness. Will it be easy? The question is, what are your principles and what do you want to achieve? If you want to be liked by the establishment intelligentsia, then you definitely need to keep up with leftists. Just keep in mind that you will have to go further and further year after year. They keep raising the bar, moving the goal line. What “moderates” are advocating and supporting now would have been radical a few decades ago. Trying to keep up will always mean that you will always be second-rate and always fall short.
The only was to go, which makes it the easy way, is to stand on principle. Without compromise. Truly become the party of NO – rather than the party of not quite so much.
J. Frank Jad is a businessman, artist and writer.