There is growing angst in Republican circles over the direction the Republican Party ought to take. While I am not a Republican operative (far from it), Republican concepts of government appeal to me more than Democratic concepts, so I feel somewhat equipped to recommend a course of action for Republicans, especially Utah Republicans, to keep their party relevant and attractive to all people of good will.
First, Republicans ought to champion fiscal prudence that lies at the heart of limited government. Understanding and articulating the proper role of government (even acknowledging that there is a proper role of government in this day and age) should be their constant drumbeat. They must also strive to understand and then articulate the nature of limited government, especially the vital understanding that government cannot be limited if society continues to marginalize and denigrate the power of the private sector to address public problems.
In this spirit of fiscal responsibility, Republicans need to understand and articulate the natural but ultimately destructive spending bias that exists at every level of government.
The spending bias is that relentless influence to spend every last penny of revenue, reach for every next penny of revenue and never, ever, see someone’s personal pocketbook as the priority over the government’s pocketbook. Think of it this way: If you and seven of your best friends were elected officials, sitting around a table, and the revenue man dumped bags of cash on the table, the spending bias would push each and every one of you (no matter how fiscally conservative you think you are) to spend that money on government programs.
By the way, here in Utah, Sutherland Institute has a solution to the spending bias. In this year’s legislative session now under way, a government spending constitutional amendment will be introduced to help combat this powerful and unhealthy influence.
Second, Republicans must be the champions of federalism. If states cannot understand and articulate why they exist in this constitutional republican form of government, they might as well genuflect before President Obama right now. Besides the important issue of federal lands in the Western states, the Medicaid expansion threat is a perfect opportunity to remind ourselves that states hold constitutional powers to keep the federal government at bay. The recent Supreme Court decision on Obamacare was a great reminder that states have these powers despite often necessary federal relations.
Again, Sutherland Institute has a wonderful alternative to push back against Obamacare.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Republicans must champion traditional family structures. The difference between childhood poverty or not is most typically dependent on family structure. Does that child in poverty have both a mom and dad in the home, married, who love each other and that child? Probably not. If Republicans go down the road of “inclusion” wherein they think they can appeal politically to every sort of lifestyle choice, even champion diversity of behavior in principle, not only will we subject children to even more temporal and spiritual poverty, but the Republican Party will die a death of a thousand cultural cuts.
The Utah Republican Party, among all other Republicans nationwide, should embrace fiscal prudence, federalism and the traditional family if it wants to maintain its leadership for freedom. It should ignore every plea for the politics of spending, inclusion and diversity.
For Sutherland Institute, I’m Paul Mero. Thanks for listening.