Recently the leaders of the Republican party have gone on a "listening tour" to try to find a way to recover from their recent losses. They are trying to figure out what it is that will appeal to voters in the age of Obama. Sounds like a focus group effort to me and if that is the case, its all over for the Republicans. There is a simple reason for their recent losses. The Democrat party is much better at selling big government and all its benefits than are the Republicans.
Here is the problem for the Republican image. They say they are the party of smaller government, fiscal responsibility, national defense and social conservatism. But for six years, when they had all the power in Washington, they were fiscally irresponsible, they grew government and didn't even make an attempt at waging war for social conservatism. The evidence points to the fact that we don't have a two party system anymore. We have one party, the party of "Big, Powerful, Intrusive Government", with two wings. One wing has been at the game a long time, the other is a neophyte. The Republican neophytes, however, are finding that their usefulness parallels that of a sixth toe. The voters don't want two parties that pursue the same agenda with different language; they want real choices. Unfortunately, the system is rigged against "outsiders" so the choices remain what they are and a larger and larger percentage of the people feel disenfranchised as they lose their liberty.
The Republicans have a great advantage, if they chose to utilize it. The majority of the people in this country, for the moment, still believe in liberty. They believe in fiscal responsibility, they are socially conservative. They want to control our borders, they want smaller government, they want to hear English. When such ideas have been articulated in the past, they resulted in landslide victories for Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich. There are still people in the Republican party that believe this but they seem to be a rapidly shrinking minority. Just look at the last presidential candidate for the proof.
The rise of Sarah Palin and Bobby Gindal may give some conservatives a glimmer of hope but I will tell you here and now why the Republicans are going to go the way of the Whigs. It is more than a problem of image, it is a problem of courage. The Democrats don't believe in the give and take of the two party system. They believe they are the smartest people in the room and the reins of government belong in their hands and no other. To a Democrat, the ends justify the means, the rule of law is only useful when it can be used against an opponent, it does not apply to them. Their only principle is the acquisition of power. In this current administration this principle is on display for everyone to see and they are not ashamed of it. The strong arm tactics of President Obama and his cronies would have made Mussolini smile. The naked grab for power in the private sector would have brought a chuckle to Stalin. Encouraging death threats against corporate leaders who dare oppose his will would have brought nods of approval from Hitler.
The crux of the matter is this. The Republicans are not going to become the party of conservatism or, dare I say it, liberty, because that would put them fully in the cross hairs of a Democrat party whose aim is to destroy the opposition by any means possible. It takes a person of great courage to stand up against that kind of onslaught and a career politician is not that kind of person. Why did Sarah Palin connect with so many people? Because she was like us. She was forthright in her speech, she had principles and she stood up for them even when it wasn't easy. The American people respect that and the Democrats can't stand it. Palin was not the kind of person that could be bought or intimidated so she has to be destroyed. Dick Cheney was the same way, that is why he was the most hated man on the Hill for eight years.
To make sure that no Republican ever challenges the Democrat agenda in a meaningful way again, even if they do happen to win an election now and then, they have entertained the possibility of prosecuting former administration officials for activities that were legal at the time but now meet with disapproval by those in power, i.e. Democrats. With the thought that a future administration is going to drag an official into court, ruining their reputation and bankrupting them in the process, is anyone going to take any risks? In anyone going to offer an opinion that goes against the statist vision for this country? Is anyone within the government going to stand up for the people's freedom? No.
In addition to image and courage, the Republicans have a wrong headed strategy for growing the party. The Democrats have developed a strong base of support among those who benefit from the government's largess and contribute little or nothing to receive it. Add to this the unions and community activists who support their Marxist vision and the possibility they will incorporate millions of illegal immigrants into their voting block and they have a secure and formidable base of support. If the Republicans try to compete for that base, they will lose. If they are too intimidated to espouse the principles of the people in this country that still love liberty, they will lose. Unfortunately, it would appear that the leadership of the party is following those tends exactly and by so doing, will accompany the Whigs into the dustbin of history.