Friday, October 09, 2009

The GOP needs to be put in its Place

The Republican Party could serve itself well by remembering a man that helped to define the GOP. Ronald Reagan was noted for saying that "I didn't leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me." That message resonated with millions of Americans and led to the rise of "Reagan Democrats." Many of them left that Democratic Party too and some (but certainly not all) of them, joined the GOP. This was part of the Reagan formula for success. It was about values, philosophy, and optimism built on common sense. It had little to do with parties.

In 1980, I was a student at Abilene Christian University and was Chairman of that school's Young Conservatives of Texas chapter. I was also a regional coordinator of Students for Reagan. I was attracted to certain ideas and not partisanship. In my area, Grant Jones was a conservative state senator and also a Democrat. Back then, Charlie Stenholm was a conservative Democrat Congressman. I consistently voted for each of them back in those days because their Republican opponents ran to the left of them.

At this time, there was a Young Republicans chapter at my school and many of them would say, after the Gipper got the nomination, "Reagan in '80, Bush in '81." Reagan was the oldest man elected President and you see how these GOP activists thought about his future.

The Republican Party, at that time was dominated by people that, today, we would call "Republicans in Name Only" (RINOs). The GOP had an Eastern Establishment bent that saw followers of Reagan as among the "unwashed masses" and a mere "necessary evil" to promote their cause. Thanks to Reagan, things changed some what. It became "cool" to be conservative.
Some where over the last two decades, things changed again. When the GOP did something well (cut taxes for job creation, increase economic growth, etc.), they were remarkably silent. Instead, they tried to get fame in a sick form of "me tooism." The left believes government needs to bailout financial institutions and the automobile industry. The GOP's response is "we do too." As a result, I hear conservatives defend Bush's bailout policies. This is a terrible mistake. We should only embrace a candidate's policies that reflect our values and not the candidate because of his party affiliation. Supporting liberty and being Republican are not necessarily the same thing. The last several years have shown that.

Conservatives who continue to defend Republicans who behave like Democrats are like the "co-dependents" who always apologize for their drunk spouse and abusive friends. People who know such individuals (either the abuser or the abused) tend to lose sympathy and in our case, will only chase away potential supporters to our cause. If we want to grow our ranks, we need to stop defending Republicans for being Republicans in Name Only and hold them to the same high standards we have for Democrats. In fact, we should demand an even higher standard. That will disarm Democrats and independents who think our agenda is a Republican agenda and will make them feel comfortable to look more closely at our positions.

Republicans like to say that Democrats spend like drunken sailors. Unfortunately this transcends party lines. Someone needs to hold government accountable and party affiliation should not matter.

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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