By David Beilstein
CREDE, UT INTELLIGAS endorsed Republican challenger Mitt Romney for president of the United States, here. Like many others across the country, I did this because Barack Obama is a failed president and his policies have become insalubrious to the countries health. Obama is a statist of immense proportion.
As a classical liberal, I oppose statism. Though reelected fairly, Barack Obama’s first term performance did not deserve a second term. Nothing has changed. In an election in which either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney would be the winner – Crede, ut Intelligas, obviously, picked Romney.
That does not make me Republican – nor does it mean I do not have large issues with the mainstream conservative movement in America. Particularly grating to me, is the Republican, social conservative tendency to impose cultural uniformity on the nation – as well as seemingly being in contradiction to basic classical liberal tenets from the ground floor. This incorporates Burkean and Madisonian ideas of factions and diversities.
Six months ago, I joined the Libertarian Party of Florida. I am pleased with that choice.
And I intend to stay there. I promised to never support Republicans again before Nov. 6. I broke that promise, foolishly. I intend to try and keep that promise from here on out. If a Republican candidate who is actually conservative/classically liberal runs for the presidency of the United States, and has a winning chance, he will win without my vote.
Following Romney’s loss, Republicans appear to be learning the wrong lessons. They are attempting to compromise with a statist agenda. Enter John Boehner (R-OH), a donkey of large error, who ought to be thrown from the congressional hall on his ass. Boehner’s interview with Diane Sawyer was an embarrassment. Attempts to water down the ideological heft of classical liberalism will further Republican retreat electorally, plundering the future of the party. Of course, one has to be classically liberal to defend it – House Speaker Boehner is not one, and conservative activists should fight to take over the Republican Party as strident leftists took over the Democratic Party.
We have then, a Republican Party without an aggressive ideological edge. Compare Harry Reid’s comments following George W. Bush’s reelection in November of 2004, with Boehner’s comments following Obama’s reelection.
Harry Reid stood on a concerted effort to destroy George W. Bush’s top second term agenda – social security reform, and slowly built Democratic Party efforts to assume a congressional takeover in 2006. Reid, then, did not compromise, but became more stridently ideological. In comparison, John Boehner halted all plans to take on ObamaCare because of the president’s reelection, admitting as much with Diane Sawyer.
Republicans need fighters and communicators. These two attributes may lose in the short term – think Sen. Barry Goldwater – but will build for future majorities, think Ronald Reagan. Republicans like Boehner unprepared to blitz into battle with rigorous classical liberal positions should be replaced.
Republican leadership politically and organisationally has failed the voters, so it too, ought to be replaced. Republicans lost an election political parities should never lose. Obama was historically unelectable.
Still, lessons can be learned from the statist dragon of the DNC.
It is because the Democratic Party kept fighting even after large congressional and presidential defeats Obama was elected in 2008. Alas, Democratic Party victory was inscribed in past, a past consumed with communicating an ideological message to voters whose circumstances where grim. Democrats did not hide from their progressive leftism; they embraced it, communicated it, and sold it.
Republicans need to do the same thing. But they also need to winnow aspects of what is deemed ‘conservative’ which is really progressive moralism sold as conservatism. First, Republicans will have to create a fusion of classical liberal expressions, creating a conservative movement that can take advantage of our technological – communicating an attractive, liberty-inducing, ideology.
Republicans need to see classical liberal ideology as good – not bad. Democrats are not running away from leftist progressivism. Political parties do not survive hiding from ideology. While classical liberalism needs to be communicated differently to diverse groups of Americans, the establishment of the Republican Party has misread the data of the Tuesday’s election. An error.
Mitt Romney did not lose because of massive shifts in demographics. He lost because over 3 million Republican voters, who voted for McCain – did not show up on Nov. 6, for Romney.
The question is why – why did Republicans voters stay home?
Three million Republican voters separated Mitt Romney from the presidency. McCain, a moderate, got more votes than Mitt Romney running against an Obama without a bad record to hinder him.
It is moderate republicans that turned the Republican Party into a regional party by not being classically liberal, and backing compromising policies that have etiolated American quality of life for voters who are not typically hostile to Republican candidates.
Mitt Romney was the Republican establishment’s candidate. He ran a good campaign – good meaning gaffe free, organised, and well funded. But Mitt Romney did not run an ideologically classically liberal campaign. I wrote of this before Tuesday’s election, here and here. Romney echoed some conservative sentiments, occasionally, but did not get to the rich roots of classical liberalism.
Conventional wisdom rules the day now. Republicans now flirt with even more electoral disaster if they seek to compromise with progressive policies that will cause economic impoverishment and restriction of individual liberty for Americans of all backgrounds. Classical liberals, libertarians, will have to take over the Republican Party. The party establishment gave them Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney; all went down in defeat. Decisively. Ronald Reagan was an outside candidate. He was more classically liberal than any major candidate to run for high office since Barry Goldwater. Reagan also had to run against the Republican establishment. Reagan won two landslides.
Historically, the establishment never liked Reagan. That is until they realised his electoral coat tails and overall popularity with large swaths of the American people.
The three million Republican voters who stayed home on Tuesday, then, will continue to do so – and there will be more of them exiting if Republicans continue down the road of John Boehner and rest of the Republican Party’s statist compromising. Many of those voters have already chosen rival political parties far more consistent with various classical liberal expressions.
The Republican Party needs to reform back to classical liberalism in order to win. And in communicating classical liberalism to a new America, it must truly be classically liberal to build inroads. Grass roots, in other words. Back to the beginning.