The Republicans have announced that the National Council for a New America "will bring together citizens from across the country to begin a dialogue with the American people through a series of forums, town halls, and an online effort that will engage people in a discussion to meet our common challenges and build a stronger country through common-sense ideas." With this, I have prepared my ideas and vision for how the Republican party can rebuild its brand and bring more people into the tent.
The modern Republican party was at its strongest when it stood for fiscal discipline, personal liberty, family values, free markets and a strong national defense. During the 1980's, we had the biggest peace time growth in our economy and fought strongly against the rising growth of government. As a responsible citizenry, Americans recognized the U.S. Constitution and the intents of our founding fathers when they supported the shifting of governmental responsibles not afforded to the federal government by the Constitution back to the states and the people by voting for Republican candidates.
Today's Republican party is in a fantastic position, despite its recent loss and the short term popularity of the current Democratic administration, because it is the closest in line with the founders' model of how our government is supposed to work. Our government was not meant to be placed into the hands of special interests or a popular mob, but to be guided by a federalist balance where a central government limited to the powers assigned to in the Constitution could be assisted and balanced by the states and the people to whom the remaining powers were distributed.
Our system of government was not designed so that one political party could assume all of these powers for itself. Political parties evolved as a means whereby people could come to terms with issues peacefully and compete fairly within the arena of ideas so as to foster an intellectually fertile debate designed to reach consensus and conclusion on matters of law, policy and leadership so that those who be chosen to run for office would be properly versed in all opinions of national concern and properly supported by the citizenry.
Once an individual won election to a national office, the founders intentions were that it would be their primary pledge to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. This pledge implies that personal interest, the interests of the groups who support them and any philosophy that they bring into the office with them would be secondary to and limited by this oath.
The Republican party's primary function is to stand for the foundations of the republican form of government as established in our founding documents. As a republic, the United States of America is to be governed not by the changing winds of popular opinion or tyranny of a momentary majority, but to be governed by a rule of law which protects our fundamental freedoms and liberty.
The Republican party's next function is to promote a forum by which matters of individual issues and policy can be implemented after being both tempered by the limitations and separations of power as outlined in the Constitution and after being properly debated and discussed. In doing so, it differs with opposing parties on matters of issues and policy by forming its opinions and arguments based on the intent of our country's founders as stated in our founding documents and their speeches and writings.
In order to champion the representative form of our government as it is written in our founding documents, The Republican party is at a moment in its history where it has to communicate and put forward an open and honest agenda whereby all citizens can participate in a continuation of the representative republican form of government that is the social contract we as a nation have bound itself by.
The Republican party should be interested in expanding its membership not by taking in selected groups who belong to specific ethnic, religious, class, gender, moral or sexually oriented persuasions, but by recognizing that all people are created equal by their Creator and that their thoughts about how our government should be run transcend these marginalizing descriptions.
In the big tent that the Republican party opens to the body politic, entrance into the arena should not determined by race, gender, sexual preference or whatever group that an individual may identify themselves with, but rather by one's willingness to accept our Constitution for the words by which it stands. The party, therefore, should not favor any ideology over the ideology of liberty and limited representative government. Most of all, the party should recognize that the primary function of the federal government is to provide for national defense, promote (don't mistake this word for the word "control") an environment that ensures the welfare of its people and regulate interstate commerce. That's it.
In the coming days, months and years of this country's election cycles, the party should recognize that its opponents will take issue with party members regarding platforms and positions. The party should look to encourage those who differ with its positions on the traditional definition of marriage, religious freedom, protection of the unborn, love of family heritage, the use of firearms for personal protection or locally regulated sport and how to use public money for agendas related to the poor, the environment and the underpriveged to recognize that the role of the government is not to advance these views at the expense of other groups, but to protect the rights of those who hold these views as equally as it would protect the rights of all citizens.
Most of all, the party must favor the U.S. Constitution as the framework for its philosophy on how government should formulate policy. As such, bills and agendas that move toward changes in public policy should be judged law worthy based not on whether we agree or disagree with the opinions of their supporters, but on how they are viewed in light of the Constitution and the intentions of our country's founders.
For example, I believe the BCS college bowl system is wrong because it doesn't allow for a true playoff system to determine a champion. Yet, I don't see it as the government's role to use anti-trust law to ram my opinion down the throats of colleges and bowl game organizers who may see this as a threat to their ability to fund their events. As such, the matter should be left to the colleges and teams of people who organize bowl games each year. They should seek the input of the fans and agree to alter the system through consensus without the need for the taxpayers money to be used to choose a winner and loser on the issue.
The Republican party is not about creating a theocracy, oppressing minorities, discriminating against gay people or compromising with economic systems that stifle free enterprise in the name of bi-partisanship or world status. Our system of government was founded so that those who believe in God, family values, free enterprise, strong national defense, personal protection, life and liberty could live freely, unencumbered by an intrusive government or majority interested in suppressing those values.
For those who misperceive that the Republican party is about forcing political and social views onto those who have alternative opinions and lifestyles, it should be clearly explained that the Republican party is a party of tolerance that is opposed to those who are intolerant of it, not the other way around. It's not about the ability of one group to impose their values on another. It's about the ability to prevent one group from imposing their values on another.
The Republican party can be an expanding tent party by advancing the sweeping philosophy that government's primary role is to protect the rights of people from all races, sexual orientations, religions, financial status' and family heritage because it is not a party of special interest agendas, but a party of strong national defense and limited government.
Centrists, independents, libertarians and conservatives all benefit from the Republican party's belief in limited government and strong national defense. The goal of the party is to provide a political forum in which the ideas of governing are properly discussed and debated so that a consensus can be formed as to how our government can perform efficiently and fairly so as to perpetuate and maintain an environment in which all citizens can freely pursue happiness responsibly.
The party should reach out to young libertarians and those who may be incorrectly swayed by misrepresentations that the party is intolerant or bigotted by getting them to understand that the left wing establishment looks to control them by limiting their freedoms and that the media lies to them.
They should be encouraged to do their own independent research and learn what the Republican party is really about. Obama won young people by a large margin in 2008. Young people by nature don't like to be told what to do. Why not tap into that feeling and convince them that big government nanny state politics is not in their best interests?
How does the party combat concerns about social value issues? Very simply. Republicans have values. The party is not about discriminating against those who have different values, it's about stopping them from discriminating against those who have Republican values.
Social issues are an important part of how we structure our society, but they are also derived from the freedom of man. Therefore, the Republican party must articulate and effectively advance a philosophy that focuses on a strong national defense and fiscal responsibility first and foremost because no one's right to their views on social values can be preserved right or left if the country is broke, under attack or occupied by a foreign power.
For those who may disagree with conservatives within the Republican party on social issues, consider this: your right to participate in the expanding tent is not infringed on by social conservatism, it's infringed on by national defense liberalism, fiscal irresponsibility and intrusive government. While social conservatives believe in traditional values, they also believe in limited government. The best way to conduct discussion and come to consensus on social issues is to have that discussion protected by a strong national defense, fiscal responsibility and limited government.
The role of the government should be seen as similar to that of a referee in a sporting event. It should not favor one team over another, nor should it allow the game to be played differently from the rules which were agreed upon before the game began (the Constitution). It should protect citizens from harm to person or property, not inflict such harm or allow such harm to be inflicted.
Many of the social issues that affect our country today are not caused by government as much as they are perpetuated by government, which in many cases mandates solutions which are worse than the problems they think they are solving. Government should be about working with the states and the people to resolve the issues of abortion, gay marriage, single parenthood and pop culture's depiction of sex and violence, all the while respecting life and property. Government should not be in the business of choosing winners and losers, it should be in the business of choosing consensus and promoting a solution oriented environment.
Finally, for those who may think they are not compatible with Republicanism, consider this: everyone benefits from a system where you are free to pursue your lifestyle or your definition of of happiness as long as you are responsible and respectful of the interests of those around you.
The Republican party should strive for the day where what you do in your boardroom, bedroom, church, school or community center are no longer national political issues, but matters to be resolved within the state, city, town, local community or family. The government's role is to step in only when these matters threaten life, property or an agreed upon community standard.
The choice of candidates in elections should not be based upon what they want the government to do, but how they view the role of government. A proper understanding of the role of government will result in better decision making and better leadership. Big government happens when the government becomes the advancer or detractor of a cause. Limited government happens when the government provides the proper forum for free people to measure their causes or agenda against the Constitution.
Ultimately, these principals will strongly contrast the Republican party with the Democratic party, demonstrating intellectually and by action that regardless of where you stand on a particular issue, your freedoms are more readily protected by the Republican philosophy which understands the mechanisms of government as defined in the U.S. Constitution and by the intentions of our founders. This should automatically make the party's tent a better place to bring your ideas for discussion and implementation.
The person who leads the party, whether they be the party chairman or the de facto president by election to the U.S. presidency, should always be an individual with a purist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution and the precedents and intentions established by those who crafted it. The party leader should never feel he or she needs to stray from a core principal of the party to win popular support in an election. Rather, the party leader should be skillful in bringing people into an environment where their causes or needs can be addressed in a constitutionally suitable way.
The party leader should recognize the voices of the people who build it through the grass roots, through their institutions and think tanks and the time and money they spend on advancing the cause of freedom and liberty. The Declaration of Independence and the reasons for forming the union should be the party's primary ideology.