Friday, November 14, 2008

GOP Failure Revealed, almost.

Today's Detroit News editorial page carries an op-ed by US Representative Peter Hoekstra R-Holland (MI) titled "GOP loses by failing to acknowledge mistakes." In it Mr. Hoekstra does cite some concrete mistakes made but doesn't identify the underlying principles. He claims for instance that the GOP slide started with No Child Left Behind Act.
"Republicans began losing America with the passage and signing into law of the No Child Left Behind Act in December 2001. No Child was a massive shift from the previous Republican position, which would empower parents, teachers and local administrators. No Child rested on the wrong-headed premise that the federal government was better equipped to direct the education of our children."
This last sentence is true but he fails to see that the entire public school system is and has been based on that premise. I disagree that NCLB was a massive shift. It was nothing but a pragmatic (unprincipled) stab at fixing a failed school system caused by its equally pragmatic (unprincipled) philosophy of progressive education. He goes on to make another point:
"Republicans passed President George W. Bush's massive spending plans during the last eight years. If Republicans and the president had increased discretionary spending at the same rate as the Republican Congress and President Bill Clinton did during the 1990s, our deficit would be $363 billion less, a 32 percent reduction. Clinton could only have dreamed of the spending that Bush advocated and received."
Exactly! And that proves that whenever Republicans are in power they try to outdo the Democrats in enacting statist policies. He makes another observation:
"Americans are sick and tired of Washington excesses and government programs that don't work.

Instead, the Republican message was that Democrats were big spenders and Republicans were tax cutters. Based on the GOP record during the past eight years, no one believed us."
He's so close you could say he needs one number for a bingo. Is it coming?
"Republicans never addressed the issue that was compelling to America: Government is too big and doesn't work anymore. What good is an Energy Department that can't predict an energy shortage or a Treasury Department that can't anticipate a financial crisis? We failed to address what many people now believe: Republicans like big government as much as Democrats."
Bingo!

Unfortunately it's not a coverall. He goes on to lament:
"We left the American people, they didn't leave us."
True.

But he doesn't dig any deeper by asking why do the Republicans like big government, why do they outdo Democrats in expanding the size of government and spending? To do that would require looking at their basic principles, their philosophy. So-called Republican ideals like small government, low taxes, more freedom etc. cannot be justified on altruistic grounds. Mr. Hoekstra ends with this hope:
I'm confident about the future of our country. The check on a liberal federal government will not come via the currently rudderless Republican Party, it will come from the American people who love freedom and opportunity. A political party will develop to present the future the American people desire. I just hope it's the Republican Party.
If it is to be his party Mr. Hoekstra needs to get them to ditch pragmatism and start thinking in terms of principles which in turn will help them stand up to the onslaughts of government enforced altruism. One political and moral principle that will help right away is a dedication to the concept of individual rights and it moral base rational self-interest. They must learn that the concept 'inalienable rights' is not a concept of altruistic sacrifice but of self-interest.

One has to wonder how many other perceptive men like Mr. Hoekstra will continue to be disillusioned by the repeated failures of their party, simply because they aren't thinking in terms of principles.


(As a side note, I heard a few hours ago on the Michael Medved radio show that two men are currently vying for the party leadership. I didn't catch the name of one but the other was Mike Huckabee. Good Grief!)

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