[Disclaimer: The views expressed below are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect official positions of the RLC.]
By Zach Foster
A bipartisan team of Senators recently gave a press conference discussing their immigration reform bill offering amnesty and citizenship plans for illegal immigrants. Republicans from D.C. to L.A. County are readily endorsing the plan with the hopes of painting the Republican Party in a more populist shade in the eyes of Hispanic voters. John McCain was blatantly honest as to why the Republican Senators were willing to compromise after years of a hard-line stance: “Look at the election.” 71% of Hispanic voters favored Obama.
Despite the temporary relief this pro-amnesty stance might bring to the GOP’s image, trying to appease voters on immigration is merely an attempt to treat a symptom but not the cause of the GOP’s electoral failure. The GOP is ill with a progressing cancer. For years the Party eroded its principles at the beckon of questionable leaders. The only way to cure the cancer is not by treating symptoms, but rather by cutting out the cancer. If the Party is to survive, its members need to steer it back to the conservative-libertarian ideology that made it great, and purge the poor leadership which has been the Party’s downfall.
The 2012 election losses are the blooming flowers planted with the seeds of the Party’s hypocrisy. Republicans spent four years damning and demonizing President Obama for much of what these same so-called conservatives supported in the past. Republicans have been completely blind to the reality that President Obama is only superficially different from George W. Bush.
Both Bush and Obama traded their campaign promises of a peaceful foreign policy for a foreign policy of war. While war in Afghanistan was thrown at the Bush Administration by Al Qaeda on 9/11, the justification for war in Iraq was fictional (though the lives lost were not). The Iraq War is made even more inexcusable by the Administration removing needed resources from Afghanistan for redeployment in Iraq, creating ample opportunity for the all-but-defeated Taliban to recover, regroup, and reoccupy their home country with a vengeance, thus prolonging and intensifying the war.
President Obama campaigned on a speedy end to both wars but instead upheld the Bush-era Iraq withdrawal timeline and extended U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan to 2024. Republicans stalwartly supported the removal of Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 2002-03 though they criticized Obama for intervention in Libya, even though Muammar Gaddhafi was a similar despot of the same Pan-Arab socialist militant movement as Hussein. While Republicans vehemently damned Obama for the four diplomats killed by Islamic militants in Libya, they never expressed outrage against Bush for the American soldiers killed and wounded by jihadists in the Philippines.
Republicans who supported the Bush-era socialistic stimulus plans criticized Obama for being a crypto-Marxist over the Relief and Recovery Act and TARP bailouts. Their hypocrisy stands out in their opposition to Obama’s programs even though they’re merely the logical conclusion to Bush’s economic interventions. The Bush and Obama administrations have also proven to be nearly identical in policies regarding the war on drugs, education, the Federal Reserve and monetary policy, and a host of other areas.
The GOP further spiraled into ideological oblivion with widespread support for crypto-Democrat Mitt Romney from the RNC and later the majority of the Party’s registered voters. Meanwhile the one candidate who had a realistic chance of defeating Obama, who consistently polled higher than Obama, and truly inspired tens of thousands of grass-roots activists nationwide to take to the streets and register new Republicans—Ron Paul—was severely marginalized by the RNC and demonized by the propaganda outlet Fox News. The Party settled for flip-flopper Romney who had supported abortion, the TARP bailouts, tax increases, signed gun control bills into law, and designed the blueprint for ObamaCare (which in 2008 he publicly supported implementing nationwide). Why on earth would the Democrats vote for a facsimile of Obama when they had the real one already in office?!
Painful as it is to say, the GOP not only deserved the 2012 presidential election loss but sewed the seeds of its own defeat. They justified their settling for Romney under the Anybody-But-Obama mindset, rationalizing that they were supporting the lesser of two evils. Nonetheless, the lesser of the two is still evil, and unlike the opposition evil who gives the righteous something to rally against, the “lesser” evil drains the good of their purity. So it was with Romney, from the RNC to the county central committees.
Republicans will occasionally recommend conservatives read the leftist Saul Alinski’s book Rules for Radicals with the idea that they’ll use the left’s own tactics against them. Frankly, the GOP needs to clean its closet before going after the left, and Alinski isn’t the model to follow. If the GOP is to survive, every leader who cheer-led for Romney and marginalized the libertarian faction must repent or be purged the way Lenin purged weak elements from the Bolshevik Party: relieving them of their posts and barring them from ever holding office again.
The Party must also hand over the reigns of leadership to the libertarian-leaning Republican Liberty Caucus. It’s time for the Party’s failed leaders to back the dented car gently into the driveway and hand the keys to an adult. The Party needs to return to the venerable, principled platform that made it great throughout much of the twentieth century. The GOP opposed entry into World War I, championed civil rights and social equality for decades, was chosen to bring peace with honor in Korea and Vietnam, and supported a gold standard because un-backed currency was merely paper fraud that devalued working men’s hard-earned dollars.
The Party can once again find the ideological balance between the paleoconservative philosophy of Robert Taft and Barry Goldwater and the libertarian philosophy of Murray Rothbard and Albert Jay Nock. The GOP can once again be the party of the people. Now is the time for the libertarian faction to shine, restore the Republican Party, and preserve its future so that we can do the same for our republic.