Frum proposes an agenda that uses conservative principles to actually solve, rather than just talk about, serious problems. He wants universally available health insurance, but offered through the private sector; lower taxes to encourage savings and investment, but higher taxes on energy and pollution to promote conservation; a conservative environmentalism that promotes nuclear power to reduce our need for oil and coal (this would satisfy the Left's misguided belief in "global warming," while simultaneously pleasing the Right by freeing us from dependence on foreign oil); federal policies to encourage larger families; major reductions in unskilled immigration; a campaign for prison reform and a campaign against obesity; higher ethical standards inside the conservative movement and Republican Party; and a renewed commitment to expand and rebuild the armed forces in order to crush terrorism and prepare for the coming challenge from China.
I would add a micro-loan program to help the poor out of poverty, rather than more government programs that subsidize the poor in their poverty and offer no hope for the future.
Conservatives also need to do a better job of storytelling. They should celebrate people who have overcome poverty and hopelessness as examples to others. It is not enough for conservatives to advocate for lower taxes and smaller government if the purpose is for Americans to acquire more money and material goods Americans already have so much they are renting storage units in which to place the overflow. Imagine the economic - even spiritual - revival that might occur if conservatives "adopted" one person or family and made it their goal to help them improve their lives. There are few thrills greater than seeing a life transformed in which you have played a part.
Reducing the "need" for government would shrink its size and cost. It also would pay political dividends for conservatism and the Republican Party.
If conservatives really want to win, they will adopt new ideas based on old principles. Conservatives are in danger of losing the coming election and future ones because they have not reinvented themselves for a new era. Liberal ideas mostly don't work. Conservatives must demonstrate to voters their ideas do.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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