The Republican Party of the 21st Century
I grew up in a family that supported (and still supports) the values of conservatism, so when I was able to vote in my first Presidential election in 2004 it made sense that I supported then President Bush for re-election. It took 4 years more until my second presidential election, and I chose to abstain from voting. I still believe McCain was hardly a conservative, and my feelings on President Obama are even less rosy.
We’re coming up on the 2012 election season, and it’s approaching quickly. I’ve already received invitations for campaign kick-off events where the election won’t happen for another 18-months. Our political election cycle is truly never-ending. In Nashville we have it a bit worse; our local elections are held in off years for Metro, so we have major elections every single year.
A year ago this week I was in Washington DC meeting with as many conservative PAC groups and GOP legislators as possible. During the trip, more than a few conversations were had about who would earn the 2012 GOP nomination for President. I heard Gingrich and Romney and McCain tossed around, as well as a few other folks that have already said they don’t plan to run. Everyone had their reasons why their choice was an obvious lock for the nomination and why the others couldn’t win. The midterm elections of 2010 would assert either Palin, Romney or Huckabee as having the true pulse of the nation by the candidates they endorsed winning or losing. Across the board, it was a pretty muddled response for each of them, but the GOP took control of the House and they now have their eyes on the Senate and White House.
So, I’ve been thinking about the Presidential election of 2012. Who should it be? Which candidate should the GOP nominate to oppose the likely Democratic nominee, President Obama?
I don’t know.
But here is something I do know. The Grand Old Party doesn’t speak for a majority of the country. Nor does the Democrat party. There is an unbelievably large group sitting between the right and left, and that group swings elections one way or another every year.
It’s time for conservatives to think about the things they truly believe in. There are a few issues that make me believe the conservatives of America can win 2012 with a candidate that sounds like Reagan but also believes the following issues should be addressed as follows:
1. Gay Rights – It’s time to stop fighting this battle for more than a few reasons, but the main reason is that denying these rights to others based on sexual preference is simply wrong. Christians cannot continue to support freedom for some, but not all, based on what scriptures deem unholy. Lying is sin, but I don’t hear conservatives calling for punishing liars in America with less freedom. It’s wrong. It’s time to do the right thing.
2. Flat Tax – It’s time for the conservative movement that supports “the American Dream” to make sure everyone pays his/her fair share (including the wealthy). I don’t mind paying an 11-13% effective tax rate, but Bill Gates had better pay 11-13% too. He shouldn’t have to pay 40%, but he also shouldn’t pay 2%. If people want things to be more “fair”, a flat tax is an across-the-board measure I think a lot of independents/moderates would support.
3. Foreign Policy – We need something that works. A few weeks ago, the Daily Show went through recent American Presidents and tried to get a handle on their foreign policy. Over and over again, there were serious gaps of reason. It boils down to basic valuation of the foreign power and whether or not it made financial sense for intervention. That simply won’t pass the smell test with my generation. And a lot of those voters are paying attention to a larger degree than ever before.
4. Corporate tax – Something has to change here. BP (a foreign-owned corporation) spilled millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 and plan to use the expenses and losses as a tax write-off. That’s unacceptable. GE pays no corporate taxes. Something is definitely
So, if there is a candidate out there that can effectively communicate that financial responsibility, a strong defense, decentralized federal government and all of the other tenets of conservatism along with two or more of these points, I believe he/she can win the GOP nomination. However, looking at the 2012 GOP field as it exists right now… well, that person isn’t there as far as I can tell.
Note: Ron Paul may support all of these things, but I don’t think he can win. Sorry.