The problem with George W. Bush was not that he was conservative, but that he was not conservative enough. He hurt the credibility of the GOP by bloating the government further, and not just the military and the Department of Homeland Security, but in his “compassionate” conservatism, blowing money on domestic spending as well.
If the Republicans stick to constitutional and classical liberal principles, they win elections. They got drunk with power after Newt Gingrich took over as House speaker in 1994 and didn’t deliver on their promises. Since then, they have collectively failed to practice what they preach. The worst of their transgressions was the Medicare Part D entitlement that House Speaker John A. Boehner and Mr. Bush added, worth about $13 trillion in unfunded dollars, hoping to bribe their way to a permanent majority. This is what we complain about the liberals doing.
I find that when you talk to people about the issues, they are far more conservative than they know. They want small government. I’m hopeful that we can repent, be actual conservatives again and win elections.
Who has been getting their way? The big-government crowd. Most Americans - not all; certainly there are true believers in government omnipotence out there - are angry with the state of our nation. It can’t be that there aren’t enough free handouts; it’s that there are too many. It can’t be that there aren’t enough abortions; it’s that there are too many. It can’t be that there are too few loopholes in the tax code; it’s that there are too many.
America, despite its 40-year expansion of the bureaucracy and erosion of the Constitution, is still at heart a center-right country, and the people will not be satisfied until it is once again governed by center-right principles. We can win this year; we just have to practice what we preach.
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