Compassionate Conservative

I am trying to be detached. I am a Republican who has taken a sabbatical until my party gets back to being what George Bush called a compassionate conservative. This is one who believes in free enterprise, competition and having a strong government to control free markets. These conservatives also recognize there are some objectives of society that are better overseen by government rather than the private sector.

My Republican party recognizes free markets purpose is to help meet the needs of society. Society is not here to meet the needs of free markets. Therefore, government has the responsibility of being a fair referee ensuring our markets are indeed free and not controlled by a few entities depriving society of the wonders of competition. Many conservatives today forgot what Milton and Rose Friedman in their book, Capitalism and Freedom, said of the role of government in a free society.

“…But we cannot rely on custom or conscious alone to interpret and enforce the rules; we need an umpire. These then are the basic role of government in a free society; to provide a means where we can modify rules, to mediate differences among us on the meaning of rules, and to enforce compliance with the rules on the part of those few who otherwise would not play the game.”

My Republican party acknowledges there are some functions better controlled by government than markets operating freely with no controls. These functions are generally those providing benefits to society as a whole including defense, basic research and development, preservation and optimal utilization of our natural resources including its people, education, care for the poor and needy, building and maintaining the countries infrastructure and of course the protection of free markets from corruption and unscrupulous behavior.

Sometimes both parties lose their way and presently it is my party, the Republican Party, that has gotten too far off track and needs to take corrective action. The Democrats have also made blunders including their handling of health care reform. We needed health care reform but it went too far and the Democrats, and the country, are now paying the price of not allowing sufficient Republican input into the passage of the bill.

Republican Party

Obama did not win this election. The Republicans lost it. Many Republicans like myself could not support the candidates the party selected in the primaries to win the minds of the Tea Party. Reflect on the candidates the Republicans put up; Cain, Santorum,  Bachmann,  Gingrich, Perry and Romney. Go back and listen to the rhetoric. A moderate like myself had no choice but to leave. It started for me when McCain chose Palin as his running mate in a desperate move. It backfired.

If Republicans go back to being a party comprised of of moderate conservatives like myself, it will lose the Tea Party. They need to choose. Choose wisely. Along the way, the Republicans need to push Rove to the rear bumper on the bus.

Marginalization of Republicans

No place in the article appearing in the April 7, 2012 edition of the New York Times Obama Must Walk Fine Line as Congress Takes Up Agenda, does it mention that the Republicans are trying to craft legislation that is in the best interest of the country. Instead, it discusses the Republicans perceptions of what is in the best interest of the party and how this is blocking efforts to pass legislation. As long as voters believe this to be the case, the Republican party is doomed to fail.

The Republicans take this view because the voter has been marginalized by big money campaign contributions. Until we take back our government from big money we will continue to suffer and decline as a nation.

Frustrated Republican Base

Last election the Republicans went against one of the laws of science; for every action there is a reaction. When the GOP wooed members of the Tea Party, members of the more moderate party wing became disenchanted. The party gained far right conservatives and lost much of their moderate base.

Moderates felt alienated as the Tea Party and other far right contingents became more vocal and prominent. The seeds of this disappointment began in 2008 as a desperate presidential candidate, John McCain, selected Sarah Palin as his running mate. It was obvious she was not qualified as McCain kept her in hiding for over a month after her nomination.

Over this past week  the Republicans did a good job of identifying why they lost so badly in 2012. In 1858 Abraham Lincoln made the following statement referring to slavery, “A house divided against itself cannot stand”.  This is also true of a political party.  A party needs core values and therefore if they are to be successful  they must define themselves as either staunch conservatives or a conservative-leaning moderate party.  They cannot be both and win. They must choose and they are just beginning this process.

Below is an article written in June 2011 on the blog “Free Free Markets”  describing the feelings of one such frustrated moderate. More

Republicans: Choose Tea Party or Victory

The Republican Party will be back. A major reason Obama won so handily is the GOP became focused on capturing the Tea Party vote without thinking how moderate republicans would bolt the party and vote for Obama.

Once the Republicans rebuke the Tea Party, the moderates will come back and the party can start competing again. I am one of those moderates. I started voting in 1968 and backed Richard Nixon. I voted Republican in every Presidential election until 2008 when McCain selected Palin as his running mate. McCain should retire, he is a bitter man and it is disgraceful.

In this recent election all you have to do is look at the primary candidates on the Republican side. Gingrich, Bachmann, Santorum, Cain, Romney and Huntsman. Huntsman was the only moderate conservative of the bunch. Paul Ryan has possibilities  but he better give up tea. Cruz would be a one term senator if he were anywhere else but Texas. Canter lacks candor.

Where was the pre-Fox Huckabee or the Indiana Governor? Jeb Bush has promise, but he has a weight around his neck.