It seems the political arena has devolved. No, I’m not talking about the absurdities that are the calls for impeachment and the equally asinine chants of “obstruction of justice”. I’m talking about how the political parties have drifted, and in some cases sprinted, away from their original ideologies. Specifically, the Republicans.
Sure, it’s easy to call out the Democrats for their shift from “ask not what your country can do for you” to the open embrace of “gimme gimme gimme” socialism, but that’s not what I’m talking about either. What I am referring to is how the Republican party has disregarded its principles in favor of becoming “Democrats lite” (yes, that spelling was on purpose). That may sound harsh, but it is exactly what has happened.
Gone are the days of the competition between Wilsonian progressives and the party of lower taxes. The political arena has now reached a point in which there are two parties competing over who one gets to run your life. While they may not necessarily run on a platform expressly stating that, it is, however, what they are attempting to do. Look at the debate over Obamacare, Republicans fell victim to the “what are you going to replace it with?” trap. When a doctor diagnoses someone with cancer, they go in and try to remove it, they don’t ask what will replace it. Likewise, a party that claims to be for small government should not be having arguments over what the replacement for Obamacare is, they should be focused on its repeal.
Similarly, the State legislature in my home state of Virginia is controlled by Republicans. Granted, it is a slim margin but a margin nonetheless. Despite this, a recent bill was passed that will create in increase in cost to every member of the Commonwealth for almost everything we buy. It was an increase in the gas tax along interstate 81 as well an increase in fees related to trucking. The irony here is that this was passed in the name of improving the roads.
Why is this ironic, you ask? Well, because every time someone like me starts talking about reducing government, cutting spending, and lowering taxes we are inevitably hit with “muh roads.” The big government types always like to try and justify their outlandish spending on ridiculous social disasters by conflating all spending with that of legitimate government expenditures such as roads. Now, here they are, justifying an increase in taxes by stating that it is needed for the main thing that they are already taxing us for. The worst part of it all (other than the negative impact it will have on the entire commonwealth) is that the bill was not just passed by the Republicans, it was written by one.
It’s bad enough that the Democrats are inching us ever closer to their big government utopian dreams, but now we have to worry about Republicans as well? It’s absurd. It’s not why you were elected. You campaign on smaller government and low taxes yet when we send you to represent us, you just try to implement your own version of the Democrat agenda. The funny thing is, this is exactly why the Democrats keep winning.
When you try to do the same thing as someone else, you cannot win by being a lesser version. There is a reason Coke is more popular than Diet Coke. On top of that, Republicans are seen as the party of Evangelicals so if you’re trying to run someone’s life and their two options are secular and Evangelical, they’re going to choose secular every time. No one wants their life being run by someone who is “holier than thou.” This is why you lose.
More than that though, this is why WE lose. We lose because you present people with a choice that isn’t a choice. We lose because you turn around and stab us in the back by supporting the antithesis of why we voted for you. We lose because you feed the leviathan which in turn makes our lives more difficult. Worse still, we lose because the big government that we voted against gets implemented either way.
Now, before someone chimes in and thinks this is a Libertarian manifesto, it isn’t. Libertarians come in two types, those who put the LIB in Libertarian and Republicans who smoke pot. That’s not to say that I don’t support Libertarians, I do. But I think that if Libertarians spent half as much effort at reforming the Republican party and getting it back to its foundation as they do trying to convince people that they’re not Republicans…well I wouldn’t have needed to write this blog to begin with.
Therein lies the crux of my argument: the Republican party needs a Reformation. We need Republican Protestants. Our own versions of Hus, Luther and Calvin, if you will. People who will help us to rid ourselves of the McCains, the Romneys, and all those who are working against a Republican president rather than with him. Our own Great Schism, so to speak, to drive a permanent wedge between those of us who genuinely want smaller government and fewer taxes and those who just want to control all the spending. Between those of us who believe that government governs best when it governs least and those who believe that they have the best plan to run our lives.
It will take work, but it is not an insurmountable task. It may take considerable work outside the Republican party, it may even take considerable work against the Republican party. But those of us who believe, as our Founders believed, that we should be able to run our own lives free from interference, can still win. Like St. Patrick, we too can drive out the snakes from within our party. Because with Republicans like these, who needs Democrats?