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As Dolan put it, “In effect, the president is saying we have one year to figure out how to violate our consciences.”
The Founders crafted a system whereby faith could impact and influence the government—but not the other way around. The ObamaCare power grabattempts to upend that system and must be reversed.
By the way, the GOP has been adamantly opposed to nationalized healthcare since it was first proposed in the post-World War II years. In 1952, the platform Ike stood on resolutely declared, “We are opposed to federal compulsory health insurance with its crushing cost, wasteful inefficiency, bureaucratic dead weight and debased standards of medical care.” Today’s historians call Ike a “moderate.”
The 1980 platform was similarly adamant, declaring that Reagan and his party “unequivocally oppose socialized medicine, in whatever guise it is presented…We reject the creation of a national health service and all proposals for compulsory national health insurance.”
A Government that Lives within Its Means
In 1860, Lincoln’s platform noted that “people justly view with alarm the reckless extravagance which pervades every department of the federal government” and explained that a “return to rigid economy and accountability is indispensable to arrest the systematic plunder of the public treasury.”
“Our goal is a balanced budget,” the 1952 platform declared, promising “a reduced national debt, an economical administration and a cut in taxes.”
Likewise, Reagan’s foot-soldiers vowed in 1980 to “limit government spending to a fixed and smaller percentage of the Gross National Product…[and]place limits on federal spending as a percent of the Gross National Product.”
These ideas are echoed in the cut, cap and balance proposals of 2011. They make sense. And they remind us that policymakers have the tools, if not the will, to tackle the fiscal problems facing America.
For his part, the president has done nothing to tackle those problems. The federal government has spent more than 24 percent of GDP in each of President Obama’s years in the White House, far above the historic average of 20 percent. Each and every year he has been in office, President Obama has carried a deficit above $1 trillion—an unprecedented feat. And as a result, the country’s public debt has exploded from 38 percent of GDP in 2008 to 85 percent today.
Defending American Interests and Leading the World
Winning platforms reject both cowering isolation and muddled internationalism.
Ike’s first platform is instructive because, as in his day, we are in the midst of another difficult, multi-sided war against a cunning enemy. “They profess to be following a defensive policy of ‘containment’ of Russian Communism, which has not contained it,” the platform explained. At the time (in 1952) the Soviets had brought China into their orbit and were waging an expansionist war in Korea.
In a similar way, the current administration claims to be successfully fighting America’s jihadist enemies, yet the jihadists are surging in Yemen, Pakistanand Afghanistan, while American power has ebbed in Iraq and is AWOL in Syria.
“Our nation will become again the dynamic, the moral and spiritual force which was the despair of despots and the hope of the oppressed,” the 1952 platform promised.
After four years of watching an American president bow to monarchs and apologize to the Middle East, the world would be well-served if America again became the “despair of despots and the hope of the oppressed.”
Reagan’s first platform is instructive because we are engaged in a global conflict and yet we are engaged in dangerous cuts that could undermine our military posture. “Keeping America strong,” the 1980 recalled, “once occupied a hallowed place in American diplomacy, but it was casually, even cavalierly dismissed at the outset by the Carter administration.”
Sadly, history has repeated itself in this regard. The president signed a one-sided nuclear-force reduction treaty with Russia, proposed stunning changes in America’s nuclear posture, retreated from Iraq, “led from behind” in Libya, conducted a half-hearted war in Afghanistan and has slashed the size of the U.S. military.
The reality is that the Armed Forces are not to blame for the budget-deficit mess. As then-Defense Secretary Gates warned in one of his last addresses, “I have long believed—and I still do—that the defense budget, however large it may be, is not the cause of this country’s fiscal woes….in 1961, defense consumed more than half the federal budget, and the portion of the nation’s economic output devoted to the military was about 9 percent. By comparison, this year’s base defense budget…represents less than 15 percent of all federal spending and equates to roughly three and a half percent of GDP.”
Yet the Armed Forces are shouldering all the cuts. The president recently embraced plans for a massive defense cut of $487 billion. This followed $400 billion in cuts, which the president ordered in 2010-11.
Focusing on Ideas
Great political parties, Tocqueville observed more than 170 years ago, “are those which cling to principles rather than to their consequences; to general and not to special cases; to ideas and not to men.”
The Republican Party of 2012 doesn’t yet meet Tocqueville’s definition, but it has in the past and it can in the future. To do so, it should focus on ideas. Just as great parties cling to principles and ideas, voters cling to great parties.
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