It is a line I have used to open speeches on the lecture circuit for years and it never fails to get a laugh: "I'm happy to be here tonight from Washington, D.C., where the only politicians with convictions are in prison."
That's only partially true. Democrats have convictions. They know what to do with power when they get it and how to isolate, even punish, any member of their party who dares to take a different position on an issue. Republicans seem to constantly react to the policies of Democrats or slam each other instead of making a case for the superiority of their ideas. It doesn't help Republicans that they lack the Democrats' uniformity.
President Obama's approval ratings continue to plummet while polls showing that voters think the country is on the "wrong track" seem to be on the rise. Republicans should focus less on scandals and policy failures and begin promoting a positive, inspirational and motivational message that reminds Americans of who we are, where we came from and what we can be again. Rather than settle for a Democratic nanny state, Republicans should feature in their speeches, political ads and conversations the virtues of liberty and the benefits and personal satisfaction that come from the power within each of us to make decisions that can improve any life far better than government.
Telling America's story might inspire a younger generation to reach back and consider the values that sustained this nation in the face of numerous challenges. Good history is worth repeating.
Cynics might say it is too late, that government has grown too big and there are far too many dependent on it to turn the country around and embrace liberty and personal responsibility. What the country needs is the political equivalent of a Rev. Billy Graham to rally the nation. A spiritual revival would be even better, but that's for a Higher Authority to direct.
Americans should never have to "settle," even in the midst of a failed presidency, as this one is by any objective standard. Americans have always believed we can do things better than other nations and we have proved it in the past.
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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