Monday, June 22, 2009

As Conservatives Ponder the Future of the GOP

There is a raging debate going on in conservative circles that the future of the Republican Party is doubtful, at best. After years of feeling left out in the cold, many are declaring the GOP is dead. For several years the Republican Party has chosen to be a "light" form of the Democrat Party. You might even call it a "diet" alternative. Like diet soda, nothing can beat the purest form. Sales are always higher for the original. The fact is, Democrats are not significant winners, but the GOP are serious losers.

Let's look at the Presidential races alone since Ronald Reagan. In 1988 a "converted" George HW Bush assured voters that he wasn't no longer calling for tax policies that encouraged economic growth "Voodoo Economics," he was committed to being responsible when it comes to regulations, and he had even "matured" when it came to the issue of abortion and declared himself "pro-life." In one of those rarely inspiring moments in his first campaign, Bush declared "Read my lips, no new taxes." By the end of that first term he had instituted a massive tax increase and made unreasonable regulations on the environment that wiped out mom and pop shops (e.g., the modification of gas pumps that cost over $10,000 each). The real Bush had stood up and the voters were ready to let him go.

Fast forward to the next GOP president, George W. Bush. He had something of a reputation as a moderate conservative in Texas, but said all the right things on the campaign trail in 2000. As President, his first term was noted for standing strong against terror, providing a massive supply-side oriented "tax cut" that allowed us to quickly recover from the stock market struggles at the beginning of the decade and to rebound from September 11th. By 2004, a fairly conservative candidate in a couple crucial areas that mattered, found himself as the first Presidential candidate to win by a true majority since 1988. He had won 2.5 (out of 3 million) square miles of ballot boxes around the country and proved that someone with a conservative message could win reelection.

Unfortunately, by 2006 Bush had largely abandoned that message and we had the Democrats taking over both Houses of Congress. When a moderate like John McCain got the nomination, he found himself forced to defend (and even agreeing) with a President who was actively and aggressively socializing the country in the name of TARP. Bush and company supported "consumer driven tax cuts" that did nothing to stimulate real job growth and contributed to a perfect stage for the slaughter of anyone affiliated with the GOP.

We are now quickly approaching the 2010 elections and there is a great deal of apprehension about the future of the Republican Party. Many are crying it is time to abandon it and are seriously discussing a third party alternative. The problem with that is that the GOP is little more than a vehicle, a "car" that needs to be fixed. As we get closer to 2012, the car that needs to be repaired has instant ballot approval in every state of the union, more dollars than all the other third parties combined, and a political structure through out the country. Those who are ready to abandon the GOP must weigh the obvious weaknesses in the party with the fact that starting from scratch or using a preexisting third party will take years to create a serious challenge against the left. I doubt the Republic has years. It is time to make that vehicle work for conservatives and Americans. Taking the GOP back is an important step in bringing the country back to the values that made it great.

Kevin Price is Host of the Price of Business, the longest running show on AM 650 (M-F at 11 am) in Houston, Texas and on AOL Radio. His articles often appear in Chicago Sun Times, Reuters, USA Today, and other national media. Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal calls Price the “best business talk show host in the country.” Find out why and visit his blog at www.BizPlusBlog.com and his show site at www.PriceofBusiness.com. You can also find Price on Strategy Room at FoxNews.com.

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