By Howard Rich
There’s a disturbing hypocrisy emerging from within the “establishment” wing of the Republican Party lately — a belief that it’s okay to work against fiscal conservatives who garner the support of the vast majority of GOP voters, just not fiscal liberals.
On the one hand it is clearly permissible for establishment Republicans to endorse Democratic opponents — even work on their campaigns — in the event the GOP nominee is not to their liking. Yet on the other hand fiscally conservative, pro-liberty Republicans who offer anything less than their full-throated support of liberal GOP candidates are routinely accused of “destroying the party.” Also many of these fiscal conservatives — who happen to be advancing the very limited government ideals the GOP is supposed to stand for — are mocked by establishment Republican politicians and told that their movement will “die out.”
Frankly, the fiscal recklessness of Bush-era Republicans is what nearly killed the GOP — and it is only the socialist overreaching of Barack Obama and his Congressional allies that has afforded the Republican Party an opportunity to become relevant again. But can America afford another aborted “Republican Revolution?” Particularly if the party’s default setting is to put its own political interests (i.e. Washington’s special interests) ahead of the core beliefs it is supposed to be fighting for?
Along with its abysmal fiscal record during the prior decade, this dangerous proclivity for protecting fiscal liberals (while ostracizing fiscal conservatives) is the latest evidence that the GOP — or at least its establishment wing — is still every bit as dangerous to our pocketbooks and personal liberties as Obama and his army of socialists.
Perhaps the most glaring example of this trend took place in New York’s special Congressional election last fall, when liberal Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava — a supporter of the failed Obama “stimulus” — saw the vast majority of GOP voters in the 23rd Congressional District defect to the ranks of conservative candidate Doug Hoffman.
With her support slipping into single digits, Scozzafava pulled out of the race — but rather than endorsing Hoffman, she chose to back Democratic candidate Bill Owens, who won the race by a narrow margin. Amazingly, in spite of his huge lead over Scozzafava, some Republicans still blamed Hoffman for “handing the seat to a Democrat,” a storyline that the national media eagerly lapped up.
In Utah last week, another “Republican” demonstrated his definition of loyalty to the party.
Jim Bennett, the son and campaign manager of soon-to-be-former U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett, announced recently that he was working for the campaign of Democrat Sam Granato. In doing so, he declared that Granato’s beliefs were “more consistent with the values of mainstream Utah than Mike Lee,” the conservative Republican nominee who defeated his father for the GOP nomination.
Once again, these establishment Republicans apparently believe that anyone who takes the ideals of limited government, individual liberty and lower taxes seriously is some sort of fringe ideological kook — despite the fact that these values form the basis not only of the Republican Party, but of the American Republic itself. Fortunately, contrary to the wishes of GOP politicians like Dede Scozzafava and Jim Bennett — it is becoming increasingly clear that Republican voters prefer candidates who support these values.
The vision of government articulated by our Founding Fathers is not going to “die out.” Nor is common sense fiscal policy that upholds a constitutional view of government’s role in our free market economy and our individual lives. If the Republican Party wishes to regain the trust of the people it betrayed during the Bush years, then it should think long and hard about reversing its current “default setting” with respect to party purity.
Otherwise, its ideological impurity will continue to shine through.
The author is chairman of Americans for Limited Government.