November 05, 2008
12 Lessons for the Republican Party
by Carl Milsted, Jr.
Years ago, I told my Republican friends that George Bush would destroy the Republican Party. Well, it finally happened. The GOP just received a well-deserved spanking at the polls, and we are looking at a new era of one-party rule by the Democrats.
The signs were obvious for those not drinking the talking-points Kool Aid. Bush was no Ronald Reagan. Reagan was a great orator and a self-made man who rose up despite an alcoholic father. W. Bush is a stumble-tongued alcoholic who rode on his daddy’s coattails. Reagan called for getting government off our backs and sometimes delivered. Bush gave us ballooning budgets, nationalization of the public schools, the PATRIOT Act, crony capitalism, and a new federal entitlement. With “conservatives” like Bush, might as well vote socialist.
The Republican Party deserved its spanking, but I fear one-party rule by the Democrats. So, in the interest of maintaining competition, here is my advice to the GOP so we don’t end up with corrupt one-party rule:
1. Lose the seniority system. Your method of nominating presidential candidates favors those who ran before, no matter how badly. When it comes to orators, it’s hard to do worse than Bob Dole or either Bush. Get rid of your winner-take-all primaries. Better yet, adopt score voting.
2. Remember your libertarian wing. You can justify tax cuts for the rich if they are part of an overall plan of small government and free enterprise. Otherwise, you are just the country-club party the Democrats say you are.
3. Corruption, it stinks. You cannot be the party of Christian morality and the party of Halliburton. Decide.
4. Competence, it matters. Don’t just hand out appointments to your fundraising cronies. The results can be embarrassing. Remember Katrina.
5. Science, it really works. Deal with it or lose the educated vote.
6. You cannot be the bubba party and the boardroom party at the same time. If you want the God-fearing, gun-toting, blue-collar masses on your side, you cannot turn around and attack unions, foster merger mania and give handouts to the rich.
7. Do your homework. Don’t go invading countries you don’t understand. Learn why democracy as we know it is not a panacea. (Again, consider score voting.)
8. Introspection is patriotic. Many an empire has fallen because its leaders believed their own propaganda. Even if you want to be interventionists, listen to the Ron Pauls. The U.S. has made evil mistakes in the past and we are paying the price.
9. Learn some economics. Just because you love capitalism doesn’t mean you understand it. The Republican Party has become the Keynesian economics party and doesn’t even know it.
10. Deficits matter. Today’s deficits are tomorrow’s high taxes. Given the looming retirement of the Baby Boomers, we need to run large budget surpluses now or face national bankruptcy.
11. Understand the Laffer Curve. When marginal tax rates are at 70%, tax cuts do indeed increase revenues. When they are at 35%, tax cuts reduce government revenues.
12. Have an urban agenda. The Republican Party has become the rural party. It desperately needs to put together a compelling agenda for making city life better. Think neighborhood zoning, tradable easements, school choice, better traffic systems, community fostering architecture, pollution control, noise abatement, and ending the drug war.
There you have it, Republicans. Learn from these lessons or face being a minority party until the Democrats become unbearably corrupt.
Carl Milsted is a senior editor for The Free Liberal.
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