Bringing Life Back to the Party

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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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  • joycepittss

    Healthcare is not subject to normal market forces! Anything that you have to buy at any random moment in order not to die is not something to which a rational supply/demand calculus can apply. Check out "Penny Health" articles on how to reduce the cost of insurance.

    • Roger

      Haven't you ever called around to get the best appointment on a visit?
      Haven't you ever checked round for the best price on insurance?

  • Alexander Gofen

    Bringing life to whom?!! To a party of criminal accomplices of the 2008 coup, who keep cooperating with the opponent – the usurper – to ensure his victory up to this very moment?!

    The winning platform for the Republicans ought to look like this, rather than going around and evading the real issues of survival.

    Romney is merely a decoy rather than a runner set to win: a spineless decoy at that, a liberast with a track record. Nobody of the so called front runners even pretend as though they wished to win…

    Everyone who wants to win, must begin with exposure of the most series counts of criminality of the opponent – if one is sincere and honest. And how much more criminality do you need if your opponent Soetoro/Obama is…

    – An IDENTITY THIEF with fake SS# and other fake papers!

    – A fraud who had mockingly produced a cheap audacious forgery of his birth certificate to the world! This has compromised the entire institute of American presidency more than anything in the entire history!

    – Not a US natural born citizen, therefore not qualified because of this alone since 2008!

    It is a provocation and deceit even to speak about electoral victory over such a criminal and usurper. It is desecration of the election to have such a candidate on the ballot. Criminals must end their term in a prison rather than in their office.


    • davidfarrar


      Since neither Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, nor Rick Santorum are natural born Citizens. I doubt if any of them would support your proposed political platform.

      ex animo

  • davidfarrar

    "Platforms are less important today than they used to be. While in the past, presidential candidates tended to reflect the party’s stances, modern presidential candidates tend to shape the party’s stances."

    What better indication do we have than the statement above to prove that the corporate-dominated wing of the Republican Party is about ready to buy yet another failed nomination for the presidency. But this time around, grassroot Tea Party Republicans know what has taken place. Mitt Romney has simply used his millions to pile dirt on top of the other Republican candidates to such an extent, few have any illusions about who Mitt Romney will be representing.

    ex animo

  • Looking4Sanity

    "One caveat: Platforms are less important today than they used to be. While in the past, presidential candidates tended to reflect the party’s stances, modern presidential candidates tend to shape the party’s stances."

    What this tells me is that the people who inhabit a nation Founded on Principle have abandoned principle in favor of fashion…or what passes for fashion in this depraved society.

    Thomas Jefferson said it best. "In matters of fashion, bend like a reed. In matters of principle, stand like an oak."

    This is precisely why there is turmoil within the GOP. A large swath of the Republican base still believes as Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln did…that without a foundation in rock solid principles we are less than nothing. Unfortunately, the base is being ignored, marginalized, and ridiculed by the minority elitist fashionistas who control the money and the process within the party. The GOP needs to be purged of these people.

    • Roger

      The republican establishment has abandoned principle, the base hasn't. That's why we have the tea party.

      • Looking4Sanity

        If the last three years has taught me anything, Roger, it is how wrong I was to have ever put any faith in my fellow man. If these problems are ever to be resolved, God is going to have to do it.

        Have you ever heard that country song, "Jesus Take the Wheel"? That's where this world is at right now.

  • johnnywoods

    Oh may GOD smile upon us and cause the Republicans to not screw this one up, no matter who the nominee is.

  • ebonystone

    Here's my platform: (listed in no particular order of importance)
    1] The new President should immediately have his staff draw up a list of all Executive Orders that are still in force, review them, and cancel as many as possible.
    2] COLA should be abolished for all government wages, salaries, pensions, and entitlements. If Congress thinks any of these deserve an increase, they can enact one.
    3] Abolish Obamacare.
    4] Abolish Medicaid.
    5] Abolish Medicare, with suitable protections for those already on it and for those nearing eligibility.
    6] Abolish the EPA, the Dept of Ed, NPR, the Dept of Energy, foreign aid, Dept of Homeland Security, HUD,

    • ebonystone

      pt. 2
      7] Deport illegal aliens, and effectively police the Mexican border.
      8] Reduce federal restrictions on energy production and refining. Drill, baby, drill!
      9] Expedite the building of nuclear power plants.
      10] Place an import duty on all non-NAFTA energy imports, beginning at the rate of $5.00/bbl for oil (and the energy-equivalent other forms of enerby, with the provision that the rate would increase by $1.00/bbl/yr for the foreseeable future.
      11] Withdraw all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.
      12] Fire all of Obama's czars, close their departments, and cancel their funding.
      13] Amend the civil service regulations to make it easier to fire incompetents and fraudsters.

  • Schlomotion

    Now that the "Grand" Old Party has made sure that no Republican can run who has an actual platform, the Republican Build-A-Bear-Workshop is free to stuff their empty Romney skin with whatever "platform" they choose. Dowd reminds them to also choose classic "Republican" bezels for the eyes and make sure it includes a pro-Israel policy, which can, for the sake of American sensibilities, be called a "strong foreign policy." Throw in a few pre-recorded parrot phrases and he'll be good to go. No one will miss the fact that he won't change US fiscal policy and has no foreign policy experience or ability. The American Enterprise Institute and the Hudson Institute will fill him on on what to do.

  • Asher

    The main principle to stress is that: Our legislators should be working for us…not against us…..The Republicans have tried to cut spending and Congress has passed 26 bills which sit in the Senate without any actions to address the problems. Harry Reid will not do what the people want, he does what the President wants…Therefore they do not serve the people!