Saturday, September 26, 2009

Political Success without Compromising Principles

I have been watching the political landscape for a long time and got involved in the process at the young age of 17 as someone campaigning for Ronald Reagan and casted my first vote ever for him in 1980 at 18. Over the years I found myself supporting candidates in general elections that I would never support in primaries. I bit into the idea of "the lesser of two evils" which was feeding a movement towards political parties being built on patronage and compromise and not on principle. The current mess we are in today is built on years of good intended people like myself backing candidates who were only taking a slower path to totalitarianism, when we should have been investing in a new political paradigm (not a new party).

The Democratic and Republican parties are merely vehicles. They are recognized organizations with a built-in political apparatus that can get candidates elected. The Democratic Party has become, in my opinion, socialistic. It's principles are so extreme that Barack Obama received the nomination of the Communist Party USA in the 2008 elections (a fact largely ignored by the mainstream media). We might be able to learn a lesson from the Communists. Libertarian and Constitutional parties certainly do not have the luggage of the Communists, but they also lack the legs to make a difference on a large scale. A Republican Party, taken back by those who truly believe in the Constitution could, on the other hand, have value. For that to be the case, however, those of us who support liberty will have to shy away from the sick, co-dependent role that I believe we have been guilty of for years and take a more aggressive and strategic approach.

This approach will take time to see a lasting impact, but not the decades that a new political party will require. Friends of liberty every where will have to take the following steps:

  • In this new political paradigm, "party discipline" should be about abiding by the Constitution, not towing a party line that undermines freedom.
  • Ask candidates what it means to "defend the Constitution?" If the conversation does not include a discussion of Article I, Section 8 (which lists the very limited powers of the Federal government) and the Tenth Amendment (which restricts the government to those powers listed in Article I, Section 8), the conversation should be over. Certainly educate people about the Constitution, but don't believe that Congress is suitable for "on the job training."
  • Become very familiar with the Constitution yourself. How can we hold candidates accountable if we do not know the limits of government?
  • Remind the candidate often of what the Constitution allows.
  • Work aggressively in the primaries for candidates who support the US Constitution literally and not in word alone.
  • This is particularly true in the US House of Representatives which is far easier to get people elected and those who are conservative are far more in number than their colleagues in the Senate.
  • If the candidates in your district do not understand their Constitutional obligations, work for candidates outside of your district. Don't let any candidate take you or your vote for granted. If your candidate loses in the primary, support a candidate elsewhere, in time or money, who is a believer in the Constitution.

This approach will produce winners both politically and philosophically, which is greatly needed in our time. It allows those who support liberty to do so without becoming Don Quixotes, merely chasing windmills.

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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