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Everyone knows we’re approaching a date that lives in infamy in American history – Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.

But there’s another more recent date in American history that should live in infamy.

It’s Dec. 16, 2008.

That’s the date on which President George W. Bush admitted what he did with the bailouts of the major investment firms and banks that were “too big to fail.”

Here’s what he said in that infamous admission: “I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system,” Bush told CNN, saying he had made the decision “to make sure the economy doesn’t collapse.”

“I am sorry we’re having to do it,” Bush added. “I feel a sense of obligation to my successor to make sure there is not a, you know, a huge economic crisis. Look, we’re in a crisis now. I mean, this is – we’re in a huge recession, but I don’t want to make it even worse.”

We now have four years to reflect on that action and those words and ask ourselves collectively if Bush made the right call.

There is not a doubt in my mind he pushed the panic button, ensuring his successor would be Barack Obama and the economic misery would increase.

Let’s not kid ourselves. It was Bush who did this, with the backing of the entire political establishment. He removed virtually any chance of a Republican successor and set the stage for more bailouts, more squandered “stimulus” spending by Washington and more retreat from free-market principles.

It was Bush. It was Republicans who led the way. It was the GOP establishment that gave us Barack Obama and all the excuses he needed to continue on the destructive march toward socialism. After all, if socialism worked to solve economic problems, why would we ever be wary of it?

While the Republican establishment likes to give lip service to the free market, it has never really been committed to it.

It was Richard Nixon who greatly expanded the welfare state and removed the U.S. from the gold standard, leading to economic calamity that lasted nearly a decade. Even Ronald Reagan didn’t make much headway in addressing the power Washington grabbed during the years of Lyndon Baines Johnson’s “Great Society” and Nixon’s efforts to deflect attention from Watergate and the Vietnam War by caving in to Democratic Party clamoring for more entitlements.

George H.W. Bush brought us the “kinder, gentler” Republicanism that made him a one-term president and gave us eight years of Bill Clinton. And his son took his economic and political cues from his father and Karl Rove.

That’s why Dec. 16, 2008, should live in infamy.

Bush not only made a monumental blunder politically and economically, he continued a long tradition of Republicanism that ensured Americans really didn’t have much of a choice but to continue down the path to socialism.

That’s why those of us who understand these things need to begin work now to ensure the Republican Party is taken out of the hands of the Karl Roves and John Boehners and Mitt Romneys before 2014 rolls around. It’s closer than you think. And if grass-roots conservatives and tea partiers are not calling the shots on congressional candidates and literally taking over the party within the next year, there is little hope of setting America on a course back to constitutionally limited government and free-market principles.

The Republican Party, as it stands now, is under the control of the same kind of people who sold out the Constitution and sold out free-market principles – and even told us they were doing it!

Taking over the party is a big deal. It’s not work that starts in an election year. It’s certainly not work that can wait until 2016. It’s work that requires the attention of conservative activists around the clock until it is accomplished.

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