The old adage that “personnel is policy” applies in politics too. If Republicans hope to put together a winning coalition much like Ronald Reagan did thirty years ago, social conservatives will have to be on board. It’s foolhardy to think the GOP can win without them.
Thinking that “times have changed” and that human behavior doesn’t matter except when it comes to economic behavior – well, that’s incredibly short-sighted and naïve.
Some might think the social conservatives in Illinois are willing to set aside their principles and support a pro-partial birth abortion and pro-homosexual rights Republican because things are so dire.
That argument ignores 2006, when the corruption-challenged and fiscally irresponsible governorship of Rod Blagojevich was awarded with a second term because the socially liberal Judy Baar Topinka was the Republican nominee. She couldn’t even get 40 percent in the general election because social conservatives stayed home in droves.
Here’s another facet of this entire sad Mark Kirk saga: is there no consequence for failure? As we’ve noted in earlier posts – Kirk’s tenure in the U.S. House hasn’t exactly benefited Illinois let alone the nation or the IL GOP. In fact, his close relationship with former Speaker Dennis Hastert’s staff is evidence that he actually was an enabler of the Hastert-disaster.
It’s not exactly news that the TEA party movement has arisen because of the failures of Republican politicians to stick with or to advance their principles. Part of the TEA party call for renewal is a call for new blood – and Mark Kirk is not new blood.
In an article adapted from his new book “We Hold These Truths: Rediscovering Our Principles, Reclaiming Our Future,” author Matthew Spalding makes the case for an American Renewal. In it, he writes:
“The primary reason the United States has not gone the way of Europe-though there are clear parallels throughout our society-is that our country has long maintained a political culture grounded on America’s moral and constitutional principles, which has kept it moored in the Western tradition of reason and faith, protected from the radicalization (and the emptiness) of modern thought that has devastated Europe.
Indeed, the European-style arguments that American progressives imported in the last century have not fully succeeded here precisely because they are working against rather than with the deep currents of America’s ideas and institutions.”
I bolded that word “moral” so you wouldn’t miss it. Don’t think for a minute the Founding Fathers weren’t conscious of the importance of morality when they were fighting for their liberty and then designing a government that would be run by “we the people.”
Spalding continues (again, the emphasis is mine):
“We don’t need to remake America or discover new and untested principles. The change we need is not the rejection of America’s principles but a great renewal of these permanent truths about man, politics, and liberty-the foundational principles and constitutional wisdom that are the true roots of our country’s greatness.
We must look to the principles of the American Founding-its philosophical grounding, its practical wisdom, and its limitless spirit of self-government and independence-not as a matter of historical curiosity but as a source of assurance and direction for our times. In a world of moral confusion, and of arbitrary and unlimited government, the American Founding is our best access to permanent truths and our best ground from which to launch a radical questioning of the whole foundation of the progressive project.”
I know – President Barack Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi are spending us into oblivion. I hear people saying that a Republican social liberal claiming to be fiscally responsible is better than a Democrat social liberal claiming to be fiscally responsible.
I don’t buy it. In fact, after years of experience with double-dealing socially liberal and fiscally irresponsible Republicans (otherwise known as RINOs), it’s my view that the worst thing GOP voters can do is elect the wrong people.
Republicans are the only people who can damage our party – Democrats can’t. Republicans are the only people who can set back the cause of restoring limited government and defending traditional values – Democrats can’t.
While I don’t admit it very often, when it comes to the principles of our Party, I’m a Ronald Reagan like optimist. I fully believe that when articulated right, our ideas sell. And the evidence is all over the place that when moral people are free to prosper – all of mankind stands to benefit. That’s the reason the United States has been a source of great good in this world.
We can’t allow our party to be led by individuals with a track record of failure and terribly wrong thinking. Conservative and reform minded voters should reject the candidacy of Mark Kirk.
©2010 John Francis Biver