Loyal Opposition

Ken Blackwell

1/22/2009 12:00:28 AM - Ken Blackwell

Now that the Inauguration has ended, it’s time to govern. President Barack Obama has been chosen by the American people to lead. The Republican Party must work to find common ground with the new President, and to support him whenever possible. But Republicans cannot sacrifice principles to do so. If the President wants bipartisan support for his policies, he must find solutions that do not involve asking opposition leaders to violate their core beliefs.

The most powerful nation in the world swore in its 44th president in a peaceful transfer of awesome power. America continues to show the world how democracy works, and how far America has come in its pursuit of a more perfect Union.

But now that the parties have ended, the work begins.

President Obama was elected on a platform of change, and received clear majority support. He has a mandate to propose bold new policies to move our country forward. And he is entitled to the support of every patriotic American in the high hope that he will be a successful president, including support from the opposition party.

The GOP must be the party of loyal opposition. But to what is the “loyal opposition” loyal? Both parties have certain principles they believe best embodies America’s promise. The principles of limited government, personal responsibility and economic opportunity form the bedrock of the Party of Lincoln.

Party affiliations are not simply labels. America has two major political parties because people hold differing beliefs. Democrats and Republicans agree that our nation is founded on the premise that government exists to secure the blessings of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But while they agree on many things, Democrats and Republicans differ on what policies best secure these blessings and what role government ideally plays in the process.

One of the reasons Republicans lost last November was because many of them weren’t true to the party’s principles. Many Republicans lost their way and lost the people’s trust and the right to govern. They must not make that mistake again.

Therefore, Republicans must be willing to do everything possible to work with the new administration. However, President Obama needs to be keenly aware that Republicans cannot betray their core beliefs for political expediency.

Three examples perfectly illustrate how these beliefs inform policy decisions:

We live in a dangerous world, and terrorists like those who attacked our homeland and murdered our countrymen on 9/11 still seek to kill the innocent. We need a foreign policy predicated on strength, and must not lower our guard. We’re in a fight for our very way of life.

Judges must faithfully apply the law as written. Americans do not want judges who force extremist views with no basis in the Constitution. Redefining marriage or striking down even modest restrictions on abortion, while denying rights such as the Second Amendment right to bear arms will not fly.

Our economy is in shambles, and increasing any taxes on any Americans will only undermine efforts to get the economy moving forward. Burdening businesses and private citizens with higher taxes to fund unrestrained spending will not create sustainable jobs.

Republicans must not support our country’s defenses being weakened, our nation’s courts being stacked with left-wing activists, or taxes being raised during an economic downturn.

With the daunting problems facing our country, political leaders must work together to find solutions. But those solutions must be principled solutions for all involved. Democrats and Republicans should work together to find not Democratic solutions or Republican solutions, but American solutions.

Republicans will honor President Obama’s office and the American people’s choice of him by doing everything possible to work with him. The nation has one president at a time, and it’s his time to lead.

So Godspeed, President Obama. Republicans stand ready to work with you, if you give them real opportunities to do so.