The Edmond Sun

Opinion

May 5, 2014

How conservatives can retake the GOP

LOS ANGELES — The most important battle in politics today is the one within the Republican Party, and the tea party movement didn’t start it. The GOP’s civil war began in 1912 when Teddy Roosevelt made progressivism the governing philosophy of the Republican establishment.

For the 102 years since, the conflict has been between limited-government constitutional conservatives and the proponents of big government — and the big spending that goes with it.

It has been waged with conservative Republicans, such as Sens. Robert A. Taft, Barry Goldwater and Jesse Helms, on one side, and big-government Republicans, such as Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon and Ford and New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, on the other.

Many thought, wrongly, that the conservatives won with the election of Ronald Reagan and his coalition of economic, national defense and social conservatives. But today’s Republican establishment frequently invokes Reagan while also pursuing a progressive agenda at odds with his principles. Big-government Republicans today include Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John A. Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.

Make no mistake, the establishment GOP is not the political home of conservatives.

To understand today’s battles, and the rise of the tea party movement, one must understand that the tea party is as much or more a rebellion against the entrenched leadership of the Republican Party as it is a reaction to specific policies of President Obama. Conservatives have learned that establishment Republican leaders are not merely incapable of stopping the progressive agenda but have been complicit in its expansion. GOP leaders have talked a good game when they are up for election, but they all too often vote for, or refuse to fight, the funding of most big-government programs.

The lesson for conservatives? We have been pointing our political guns at the wrong target.

Conservatives are not going to get to the political Promised Land and be able to govern America according to conservative principles until flawed, big-government Republican leaders are replaced with constitutional conservatives. And the people are with us. For example, Gallup reports that 72 percent of respondents to a 2013 poll said that “big government is a greater threat to the U.S. in the future than is big business or big labor, a record high in the nearly 50-year history of this question.”

The place to stop the progressive agenda is first within the GOP. Conservatives finally have come to realize that the fate of the president’s agenda for his final two years actually will be decided in Republican primaries. The Obama agenda’s fate lies with conservatives such as Sens. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, and Reps. Tom McClintock, Justin Amash and Tim Huelskamp, who have defeated Republicans of a progressive bent in the primaries and gone on to win general elections.

We are already seeing an alliance of big-government interests, such as the Republican Main Street Partnership, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, joining forces to tilt upcoming Republican primaries in favor of big-government GOP candidates. Long term, this alliance can be devastating to Republican political prospects.

Through all the ebbs and flows of the GOP’s 100-year civil war, the levers of power within the Republican Party have remained firmly in the hands of a progressive elite that sees big government as often inefficient but not wrong. The GOP establishment never seems to learn that going along with big-government policies is exactly what gets Republicans thrown out of office and relegated to the status of the powerless minority that they were for the better part of 50 years, from the New Deal until the election of Reagan in 1980.

However, the election of young, principled constitutionalists to Congress and in state legislatures is a sign that this civil war for the soul of the Republican Party is about to turn. The alternative is that the GOP will slide ever deeper into irrelevance as the party of “dime-store Democrats” that President Truman derided so accurately in the 1950s.

RICHARD A. VIGUERIE is chairman of ConservativeHQ.com and the author of “Takeover: the 100-Year War for the Soul of the GOP and How Conservatives Can Finally Win It.” He wrote this for the Los Angeles Times

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • 'Too big to fail' equals 'too eager to borrow'

    Four years ago this month, President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law, promising that the 848-page financial law would “put a stop to taxpayer bailouts once and for all,” he said. But recently, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren told a Detroit crowd that “the biggest banks are even bigger than they were when they got too big to fail in 2008.”
    Who’s right?

    July 30, 2014

  • Sheltons travel for better life for family

    Some time around 1865 a mixed-race African American couple, William and Mary Shelton, made their way from Mississippi to east Texas. Nothing is known for certain of their origins in he Magnolia state, or the circumstances under which they began their new lives in Texas.

    July 29, 2014

  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at www.edmondsun.com show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Technology that will stimulate journalism’s future is now here

    To say technology has changed the newspaper media industry is understating the obvious. While much discussion focuses on how we read the news, technology is changing the way we report the news. The image of a reporter showing up to a scene with a pen and a pad is iconic but lost to the vestiges of time.
    I am asked frequently about the future of newspapers and, in particular, what does a successful future look like. For journalists, to be successful is to command multiple technologies and share news with readers in new and exciting ways.

    July 23, 2014

Poll

The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
Undecided
     View Results