Star Parker

The “liberal” label is no longer the political death ray it was in the ’90s. Sen. Obama’s record is as left as you can get, yet it is doubtful that Republicans will defeat him by simply pointing this out.

New Gallup polling on party identification shows 39 percent Republican or leaning Republican and 52 percent Democrat or leaning Democrat - the biggest gap in party identification in years.

How has the Republican Party managed to thoroughly squander the commanding heights achieved under Reagan’s leadership?

Unfortunately, courage and leadership are rare. Reagan understood and was committed to what this country is uniquely about - traditional values and individual freedom.

Most come to Washington for career, not to serve. With Reagan’s departure, the risk-averse, career-motivated establishment, which quaked at the idea of the president publicly challenging the Soviet Union or taking principled stands on anything, began to take over.

With the loss of ideals, the first casualty is our youth. Today, Democratic control over the 18-29 vote is commanding. This was also the case in the 1970s. But throughout the ’80s and ’90s, the 18-29 vote was divided roughly equally between Democrats and Republicans.

Republican politicians also have lost touch with their own base. A Pew Research Center survey shows that Republicans are more religious now than they were 20 years ago. Today’s Republican leadership refuses to acknowledge that the social agenda has increased in importance.

My office in Washington is in the Reagan Building, where a piece of the wall is on display. It’s a reminder of a great leader, and how the Republican brand has been tarnished by many less principled and less committed.

Star Parker

Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can do About It.