The GOP has to get it right in 2012. It will either return to its platform of small government, traditional values and national sovereignty, or its conservative base will abandon it.
The stakes are far too high for conservatives to support the candidacy of another business-as-usual, ruling-class member. Not only are we faced with unprecedented economic challenges, we are also suffering under a dramatic expansion of government, shepherded by both parties.
Typically, economic crisis brings opportunity to the party out of power. Elections are often won by pointing out the failed policies of the incumbent. If the past is any guide, the upside possibilities for the GOP in 2012 far surpass any downside risks.
But what makes the present crisis particularly dangerous to the GOP is the growing awareness of grass-roots activists that they’ve been hoodwinked almost continuously for the past two decades. Although their party has controlled the White House or at least one house of Congress for all but four of the past 24 years, the central government has grown into a gargantuan, freedom-smothering entity over this same time frame.
We’ve been told endlessly by GOP politicians that we must return to a limited government, grounded in the Constitution, and how they will uphold the sanctity of life and the traditional family. They start their campaigns with prayer meetings, issue proclamations in honor of God and country, and talk about revitalizing the American economy – but everything gets worse under their leadership: more regulations, more activist judges and more big government programs.
How about illegal aliens? There’s hardly a Republican in Congress who hasn’t had strong words about illegal immigration. But when push comes to shove, nothing happens. Proposals for amnesty, code-named “immigration reform,” are championed by many in the GOP. No reasonable effort is made to fund a fence. Obama is not held accountable for failure to enforce immigration laws.
The Republicans’ fight against Obama in other areas also lacks vigor. As we stand on the verge of the greatest federal takeover of our economy with Obamacare, no serious GOP effort has been undertaken to defund this program. Obama has not been brought to accountability for his Project Gunrunner/Fast and Furious abominations or his failure to defend DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), which the Constitution obligates him to do as the head of the executive branch.
No GOP leader speaks about Obama’s lack of transparency in his administration or anywhere else. Obama’s czars also get a pass, despite their circumvention of the confirmation requirements of the U.S. Constitution. No attempt is made to defund such offices. And the list of unchallenged Obama outrages goes on and on.
Then we have the budget process and the debt ceiling. Conservatives were promised at least $100 billion in cuts this year. Turns out that was lie: The actual number may not even be $300 million. The debt-ceiling deal was even more of a betrayal. No cuts at all right now, just continued exorbitant spending. There’s a promise of future cuts in 2014, but we (and Standard & Poor’s) all know that’s just a pipe dream.
So when conservatives enter their voting booths convinced of both a collapsing republic and a complicit party, there’s zero chance of compromise no matter who’s on the ballot. The lesser of the two evils is no option in 2012.
That spells opportunity for any constitutional conservative running for the Republican nomination. The GOP base is desperate for a candidate who truly loves this nation and will do whatever it takes to put us back on course.
But be forewarned: The grass roots is also quite skeptical of all candidates, given the track record of the last two decades. A candidate who starts a campaign in Bush-like fashion by appealing to the base with a prayer meeting or a vicious verbal attack on the establishment can’t expect an immediate outpouring of conservative support. Quite simply, the base is sick and tired of being lied to.
Given this growing discernment, a candidate from outside the beltway who has a proven track record of holding the establishment to account for corruption and/or the growth of government can count on significant support. The perfect storm of crisis and establishment disgust will spawn a candidate who, in 2012, either will resurrect the GOP and its platform or will walk away with its base in an independent bid.
Saving our great republic requires courageous and selfless leaders. There are very few in office today. God willing, at least one will rise to the occasion in the presidential race, rescuing our country from the edge of the abyss and bringing it back to its foundations.
Joe Miller was the 2010 Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate from Alaska. He is a West Point graduate and combat veteran from the first Gulf War. A former judge, Joe graduated from Yale Law School and was later awarded a masters in economics from the University of Alaska. He is presently chairman of Restoring Liberty Action Committee and Restoring Liberty Alaska PAC. Read more about Joe at Facebook and speakersaccess.com/joe-miller. Follow Joe at Twitter.