May 1, 2016
Republican Party Lacks Coherent Ideology
The Republican Party has been in a political and ideological rut and there has not been a distinguishable leader of the party since Ronald Reagan left office. To illustrate, here’s an intellectual exercise: who is the current leader of the Republican Party? If you have to think hard about it then you’ve proven the point.
The biggest problem -- among a myriad of problems -- with the party is its lack of a strong and coherent ideology. Ideology is not a bad thing. In fact, it is necessary for a political party to have -- not only to survive, but to grow, compete, and to dominate in the realm of politics. Ideology serves as both a political foundation and a political map and compass. When you have a definable ideology, voters can identify where you stand on issues and why you stand where you stand. Moreover, when new issues emerge in the public square, a values-based ideology can help determine a party’s stance on a given issue. Democrats own social issues because they have a stance and they explain their stance to voters. The GOP loses these debates because they only say “no”; they never say why. Having a strong ideology would Republicans counteract this perception.
Another major problem is Republican leaders do not understand that they are at war with Democrats. How can you win a war you don’t acknowledge is going on? Yes, the GOP has taken control of Congress, but has the party furthered an agenda? No. Did it push an agenda when it had control of the government from 2001 to 2007? No, and the reason is that the party has no agenda. It has no agenda because it has no coherent ideology. Democrats win because they do have an ideology. The problem is that it’s the wrong ideology, leading to nothing but destruction and despair. However, their ideology is strong, they live by it, and they push it hard.
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In his masterpiece Witness, Whittaker Chambers incidentally explained why the Republican Party has been so weak and ineffectual for most of its existence. In explaining why Communists were so dedicated to their cause, and were ultimately going to win against the West, Chambers said that they have “a reason to live and a reason to die.” Chambers then noted that if the West were to win this great human struggle, freedom-loving people would have to find a similarly strong faith. He cited faith in God as the only thing that could counteract communists’ fanaticism; but while religious faith is important, it is the values that emanate from faith that are vital in politics. We are up against the same enemy, who has this same faith and tenacity. Republicans, and therefore the country, are losing because they refuse to stand up against this rabid enemy.
Outside of Calvin Coolidge, Ronald Reagan, (perhaps) Dwight Eisenhower, and for a time behind Newt Gingrich, the Republican Party has rarely furthered a positive, active, ideologically-based agenda. Through much of its history, the GOP has reacted to Democrats. They are constantly on the defense, never positing their own ideas and policies.
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The problem with Obama is that he adheres to the wrong ideology -- one that seeks to strip individuals of their liberty. Obama’s ideology is also one that constantly seeks a maximization of the state over the individual and the civil society. Reagan’s ideology, had it reached full flower, would have returned the United States to its original position, politically speaking. Individual liberty. Limited government. A vibrant civil society and middle class. Sadly, Reagan largely stood alone in the fight to stop the decades-long movement of the country to the left. Once he left office, Democrats, helped by Republicans, wiped out all of Reagan’s progress.
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We haven’t been this weak relative to other countries since before World War II. Our culture and military have been infected with the limp-wristed weakness brought on by political correctness and a terrible public education system. Both parties are to blame: Democrats because they have actively sought the “fundamental transformation” of America; Republicans because they have been too weak to stand up and fight.
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Can the Republican Party be saved? More importantly, should the Republican Party be saved? I would argue yes, the GOP can be saved. The second question is more debatable.
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Reince Priebus and his ilk should be removed in favor of a strong, outspoken figure that can ignite the base and help grow the party. Though it will be tempting to form a new party, conservatives should follow Ronald Reagan’s advice and reform the GOP into one that flies “bold colors, not pale pastels.”
The Republican Party is definitely in trouble and it has few options moving forward. As this election cycle has shown, the base is tired of stale, establishment favorites. But because reality dictates the necessity of a party, voters need to insist on new leadership and a new, ideologically based platform. If not, Democrats will speed up this now century-long process and soon we won’t have a country to complain about.
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The panel's hostility and contempt toward law enforcement, the Republican Party, and anyone opposed to Islamic militancy were similarly revealing. None of the speakers called for combating jihadism within the Muslim-American community as a moral duty. Nor was there any acknowledgement that, according to the latest FBI statistics, anti-Jewish hate crimes are over 3.5 times more common than those against Muslims.
Reducing such crimes to zero is a laudable goal. But the panel's – and particularly Bail's – scapegoating, systematic use of "Islamophobia" as a cudgel to settle partisan political scores, demonstratively inaccurate research, and lack of objective analysis or constructive suggestions impede rather than advance that aim.
April 30, 2016
The GOP’s Missing Motivation
By Layne D. Hansen