Among its few sane choices on Nov. 6, the voters of Massachusetts rejected a ballot proposal to legalize assisted suicide. Proponents should have saved their money: The Republican Party will show them how to do it without a change in the law.
A political party can survive an election loss. In 1960 the GOP survived Nixon’s loss to Kennedy in a very close election many observers said was stolen. It survived the wipeout of 1964 and came back in 1966 to win a Senate seat in Tennessee for the first time in the 20th century. It survived Gerald Ford’s loss to Carter and came roaring back on Ronald Reagan’s coattails in 1980.
What history teaches is that if a party learns the right lessons, an electoral defeat can be a springboard for greater victories in the future. On the other hand, if it abandons its base and starts aping the opposition, it can be a short joy ride into oblivion.
For 52 years, conservatives have stuck with the Republican Party and supported its nominees despite being treated by the party establishment as its embarrassing red-headed stepchild. No moderate Republican nominee since 1984 has matched Reagan’s electoral sweep of 49 states, yet even today, after a national campaign in which conservatives worked tirelessly for the party’s moderate nominee, conservatives in the party are considered a “faction” to be appeased and cajoled.
That nonsense is about to end, and the irony is that we have House Speaker John Boehner to thank for this turning point. Having snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in the Romney campaign’s fixation on “growing the economy,” Republican leaders are now planning to abandon their electoral base to avoid a “fiscal cliff” that is a problem of the own creation.
Having won 58 new Republican seats in 2010 because of voter disgust with trillion-dollar deficits and a spiraling national debt, and then narrowly holding onto the majority in 2012, the Republican leadership has decided to strike a deal with Obama that not only raises taxes but increases the national debt continuously for another 20 years. Conservatives who question this path are being purged from key committee posts.
Conservatives in the Republican Party are now realizing that in dealing with liberals and “moderates,” compromise works in only one direction. Liberals and collectivists believe and practice one simple rule: What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable.
It’s time for a timeout in that no-win game.
It’s worth remembering that the modern conservative movement was born in two memorable events, two speeches by prominent conservatives in support not of themselves but in support of the Republican nominee for president. The first speech was by Barry Goldwater to the Chicago convention of July 1960, when he withdrew his name from the contest in support of Richard Nixon. His theme was “grow up conservatives” – do the hard work to win the nomination, not bellyache about it! Conservatives followed that advice and won the nomination for Goldwater in 1964, whereupon the “moderates” bolted and refused to support Goldwater.
The second landmark speech was a television address by Ronald Reagan in October of 1964 in support of Goldwater’s candidacy. Conservatives have been “party loyalists” for 50 years. Conservatives rallied to Mitt Romney despite serious misgivings and were responsible for nearly all the GOP victories in congressional races in 2010 and 2012.
All of which brings us to 2012 and the Republican Party’s impending suicide. In my WND column of Sept. 21, I offered this observation on what likely would happen if Romney lost the election:
The unavoidable question if Obama wins a second term will be whether and how constitutional government can be protected from the Obama agenda. The inescapable question for conservatives will be whether the Republican Party can play a significant role in that life-and-death struggle given its abject incompetence over the past decade.
Well, we didn’t have to wait long for answer to that question.
In the current “fiscal cliff” negotiations with Obama, the Republican Party has once again demonstrated its inability or unwillingness to halt Obama’s expansionist agenda. Not only are Republican leaders caving on the issue of tax increases, their weakness has emboldened Obama to add new spending and new conditions to the mix.
Obama has no “mandate” to increase the national debt by raising tax rates while increasing, not slowing, the unsustainable rate of federal spending that is driving the nation to financial ruin. Republicans in Congress do have a mandate to live up to their pledges to fight tax increases. Abandoning those pledges is tantamount to abandoning the reason for being a Republican in the first place.
Is it any wonder that Sen. Jim DeMint has decided to jump ship and move to The Heritage Foundation? If the Republican Party leadership cannot win a public debate with Obama on economic growth and job creation, pray tell what debate can they win?
We can hope that Sen. DeMint also understand an even deeper problem – that the current rules are rigged not only against conservatives inside the GOP but against the Constitution itself. The nation faces not only a fiscal cliff, but a constitutional one as well. Perhaps DeMint can use his new position as president of The Heritage Foundation to develop a new strategy for reversing our nation’s slide into socialism and dictatorship.
I do not have an answer for the question that is on the minds of conservatives and patriots everywhere, the question “what next?” But one thing is now clear. If the answer comes from conservatives in the Republican Party, it will be shouted down.