In a FOX News opinion piece entitled, “Conservativism cannot survive a libertarian takeover,” political strategist Brad Todd accuses the growing army of libertarian-leaning conservatives of trying to dismantle Reagan’s winning coalition of economic conservatives, social conservatives, and war hawks. He claims that modern conservatives want to sing a “one-note kazoo song” that focuses only on the federal budget and the economy.
This is, of course, a gross misrepresentation. Modern conservatives care about social issues — we just have different opinions on social issues than the Republicans of four decades ago. We don’t believe that personal morals — what people do by themselves, without harming anyone else — need to be policed by the government. Modern conservatives believe in keeping America safe — we just happen to not treat the Pentagon budget as a sacred cow where no waste can be found, nor do we implicitly trust the same federal government we mock for the terrible job they do delivering mail and licensing drivers to fix every economic and diplomatic problem in any foreign country on Earth, nor are we willing to sacrifice every civil liberty on the altar of national security.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum (who was rejected by Pennsylvania voters 7 years ago) spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (“CPAC”) this past week, stating, “For those in our movement who want to abandon our moral underpinnings to win, what does it profit a movement to gain the country and lose its own soul?”
Of course, when Mr. Santorum talks about “moral underpinnings,” he means opposition to legal equality for LGBT Americans, and enforcing a government prohibition on abortion procedures. When Mr. Santorum talks about “immorality,” he refers to a society that is “anti-clerical, anti-God.” The twenty percent of Americans who now do not identify with any religion (“anti-clerical”), many of whom do not even believe in the supernatural (“anti-God”), would take issue with being referred to as “immoral”. These non-religious Americans are caring parents, doctors, teachers, and scientists, working hard to make the world a better place. They are just as moral as their religious friends and neighbors.
Why do Mr. Santorum and his ilk get the privilege of defining the word “morality” to mean anti-equality, anti-medicine, anti-science, anti-diversity, and anti-freethinking?
Republican Rep. Steve Stockman (Texas-36), in talking about the Violence Against Women Act, made the point that transgender women shouldn’t be covered by the act, yet he felt the need to mock “change-genders,” saying: “they have men dressed up as women … Change-gender, or whatever. How is that — how is that a woman?”
This is exactly why voters hate us, and this sort of thing will not help us balance the budget or defend the Constitution.
Call Rep. Stockman’s office at 202-225-1555 and tell him you’re a Republican who is ashamed of these comments.
More voters trust the Democratic Party than the Republican Party on budgetary issues, according to the results of a new poll for The Hill — even though a strong majority actually prefer Republican fiscal policies.
The discrepancy would appear to be rooted in the GOP’s image problem, as the party attempts to recover from a bruising general election and recalibrate for a new generation of voters.
When voters are presented with the Republican budget plan (budget cuts and no new tax increases) and the Democratic budget plan (small budget increases and large tax increases), but are not told which belongs to which, a majority picks the Republican budget. However, when voters are asked explicitly whether they want a budget plan crafted by the Republicans or one crafted by the Democrats, they pick Democrats.
The reason we can’t get our free market oriented reforms passed is not because voters don’t like them, but because they don’t like us on a personal level. They think we stand for bailing out wealthy corporations, opposing the happiness of their LGBT friends and family members, and generally being hypocrites and buzzkills. Until we change that, we will never balance the budget and end the march toward Hayekian serfdom.
We at the Republican Reason Caucus unveiled today our organization’s official Statement of Principles. These 7 principles define what we stand for, what unites us, and the types of policies we will fight for.
1. We stand for government limited to the few enumerated powers in the Constitution, and for maximum economic freedom.
2. We stand for a strong, efficient, and fiscally-prudent national defense.
3. We stand for equal treatment under the law of all individuals.
4. We stand for an open and tolerant society, for the full inclusion of all peaceful individuals in the public discourse, regardless of race, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, or religion (or lack thereof).
5. We stand for policy-making based on well-tested, peer-reviewed, empirical science, where applicable.
6. We stand for a health care system as free as possible from government interference, and a government that does not come between medical professionals and their patients.
7. We stand for a separation of church and state, a government that does not promote or display preference for any religious belief or institution, and a government that does not transfer taxpayer money to religious or religiously affiliated organizations or governments.
In the waning days of the 1992 presidential campaign, President George H.W. Bush trailed Bill Clinton in the polls. The conventional wisdom was that Mr. Bush seemed too aloof from voters struggling economically. At a rally in New Hampshire, the exhausted president started what was probably the fourth campaign speech of the day by reading aloud what may have been handed to him as a stage direction: “Message: I care.”
Brooks makes the excellent point that voters will not care how much Republicans claim to know about economics and good government, until they know how much Republicans care. This does not mean that Republicans need to support welfare programs, more onerous regulations on employers, or redistribution of wealth away from the successful. Economic freedom is a very compassionate position, but most people don’t realize that fact or don’t care. As Brooks points out: “Perception is political reality.” Despite the fact that we Republicans believe we are doing the best thing for individuals, voters in general don’t perceive us that way.
Voters want to stand with a party on a moral level. The key voters the GOP needs to sway don’t connect with the kind of prudish, negative morality of social conservatives (no sex outside marriage, no obscenity in media, etc.), however. The voters we need are the kind of voters who are swayed by positive, freedom-oriented morality (helping people, ensuring equal treatment by the law, etc.).
We are collecting the signatures of 20,000 conservatives urging the Republican National Committee to support the right of gay Americans to legally marry. Please add your voice to the petition and share with your friends:
New research shows that poor immigrants are not the burden on our welfare system that many of our fellow Republicans paint them as. In fact, immigrants below the poverty line are far less likely to go on the welfare dole than natural-born citizens below the poverty line. In fact, immigration adds more wealth and production to our society.
Low-income non-citizen adults and children generally have lower rates of public benefit use than native-born adults or citizen children whose parents are also citizens. Moreover, when low-income non-citizens receive public benefits, the average value of benefits per recipient is almost always lower than for the native-born. For Medicaid, if there are 100 native-born adults, the annual cost of benefits would be about $98,400, while for the same number of non-citizen adults the annual cost would be approximately $57,200. The benefits cost of non-citizens is 42 percent below the cost of the native-born adults. For children, a comparable calculation for 100 non-citizens yields $22,700 in costs, while 100 citizen children of citizen parents cost $67,000 in benefits. The benefits cost of non-citizen children is 66 percent below the cost of benefits for citizen children of citizen parents. The combined effect of lower utilization rates and lower average benefits means that the overall financial cost of providing public benefits to non-citizen immigrants and most naturalized immigrants is lower than for native-born people. Non-citizen immigrants receive fewer government benefits than similarly poor natives.
We Republicans need to stop being so hostile to individuals from other countries, if we hope to survive politically in a country with rapidly changing demographics.
The Republican Reason Caucus is proud to announce that our organization has become an endorsing member of the Secular Coalition for America. The Secular Coalition is a 501c4 advocacy group based in Washington, DC, which seeks to preserve freedom of religion (and no religion) and the separation of church and state.
Furthermore, the executive director of the Secular Coalition, Edwina Rogers, has joined the Republican Reason Caucus advisory council. Her experience as an attorney, lobbyist, adviser to both Presidents Bush, and leading voice for secularism in America, will be invaluable to the success of our mission to transform the GOP into a party that will be competitive in the modern, enlightened era.