As I have watched the current spectacle of our GOP Presidential race unfold, I am as worried as anyone over the future of both my country and my party. Based on last night’s results (in Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan, and Mississippi), it is becoming clearer to me that either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz will become the nominee of the GOP this year, even if the nomination process is goes beyond one ballot at the convention.
What also is clear is that voter anger against, and distrust of, Washington includes anger and distrust toward elected Republicans in Congress, and their consultants, lobbyists, think-tank supporters, and media apologists; and this anger and distrust spills over to cover all of the unelected factional leaders at the national, state and local levels. These people, many of whom don’t even like or trust each other, are now derisively referred to collectively as the “establishment” by our grassroots activists and November-only voters, who are driving a movement to change the Republican Party and the way Washington operates. Unfortunately, Mitt Romney, who is the poster child of our voter’s image of the “country-club Republican,” only made matters worse by inserting himself into the debate last week and calling many of these voters “suckers” for supporting Trump.
Then, in the midst of this fever, came the news of Nancy Reagan’s death—almost like an omen that the “Age of Reagan” has come to an end, and something new is taking its place.
My hope is that the GOP—the party of Lincoln and Reagan—will survive this unsettling time; and that, if it is to transform, it will continue to be the party dedicated to preserve the exceptional ideals that formed this nation. Whatever happens in Cleveland and beyond, we must remember that since 1856 our party has stood for certain principles, even as the times, and our policy preferences and priorities, have changed. If America is to survive these troubled times, its founding principles must survive our party’s present turmoil.
So, we must insure that the “new” party that arises from this turmoil is dedicated to a set of principles that reflects the best of our heritage, while being relevant to the new era we have entered. To do this, I believe our party must abandon its tendency of the last few decades to produce ever longer, more policy-specific platforms, and replace it with a simpler platform embracing our shared principles—a platform more like those original platforms from 1856 and 1860 that were drafted as the party was forming.
So, to divert our attention from the current campaign, and to foster a discussion of what such a new Republican platform might look like, I am going to present the following draft for your consideration. Please read it, think about it, and give me your comments, as well as the edits, subtractions or additions you would make to draft your own proposed platform.
As Republicans, we are dedicated to the proposition that all individuals “are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” We believe that the Federal Constitution was adopted and amended to advance this proposition; that each of the ten amendments included in the Bill of Rights, and the Fourteenth Amendment, are necessary to constrain the power of all levels of government and to protect specific rights of the people, while preserving the delegated responsibilities of each state government; and that the Federal Constitution, as amended, must be interpreted and applied as it was written. We believe that all other laws, regulations, and treaties must be subservient to the fundamental proposition of the Declaration of Independence as advanced and secured by the Federal Constitution. We believe that the preservation of this fundamental proposition is a sacred trust held by Americans for their fellow countrymen, and as a beacon for all humanity.
As Republicans, we believe that the preservation and promotion of human life, and of the dignity of each individual’s life, is the most fundamental responsibility of our society and government. We believe that “liberty” means the freedom of the will of each individual, the exercise of which must be protected to the greatest degree that is consistent with safety and security. We believe that the proper exercise of liberty inevitably guides each citizen toward the pursuit of happiness, which is the ageless desire for a life well spent.
As Republicans, we believe that the division of responsibility among local, state and national governments, and the national republican government of limited and separated powers, as designed in the Federal Constitution, is the best protector of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and of the property rights needed to secure these inalienable rights; and that the proper exercise of liberty and the pursuit of happiness is the best protector of our republic.
As Republicans, we believe that the exercise of liberty and the pursuit of happiness produces the greatest good for all citizens with an economy based on free markets and fair free-trade, which allows each citizens to reach his or her God-given potential; but we also believe that limited government and a free economy cannot be sustained without the active participation by each citizen in the life of our neighborhoods through the creation and maintenance of the family unit, the creation of businesses that employ our neighbors, and the engagement of our neighbors in the civic life of our neighborhoods. We believe that the promotion of the welfare of our neighbors is a civic duty of each citizen, because—no matter how well intended—bureaucracies can’t love our neighbors, only people can. Therefore, we believe that each citizen owes a duty to each other, and to future generations, to care for each other and this nation, and that government at all levels should adopt policies that promote the exercise of this duty by each citizen, rather than the delegation of this duty to government.
As Republicans, we believe that a self-governing republic cannot endure without promoting the development and exercise of each citizen’s character and wisdom. We believe that it takes a strong character, and the exercise of wisdom, to use liberty to make the right choices that promote the pursuit of happiness and sustain a functioning society of free people. We believe that strong character and wisdom are developed by recognizing and teaching the difference between right and wrong, and by encouraging citizens to make right choices and engage in good behaviors; but also by tolerating, and learning from, an acceptable range of wrong decisions in our personal lives. And, we believe that the fundamental right to freely exercise religion provides each citizen with a path toward learning and developing the character and wisdom needed to sustain a society of free people, and that this fundamental right must be respected by each citizen and protected by government.
As Republicans, we believe that this republic is a sovereign nation containing a unique society, which is grounded in the heritage of Western Civilization and shares the English language. We believe that it is our duty to preserve this nation and society, and to assimilate all of our neighbors into the culture of our society. We believe that assimilation must never coerce anyone to adopt ideas, practices or faiths with which they disagree, but rather must provide each citizen with the tools needed to become full participating members of our free society. And, while we believe that continuing to invite others into our society to share in our ideal is our duty to humanity, our duty to our countrymen requires that such invitation be honored with a commitment by all newcomers to respect our laws, to assimilate into our culture, and to preserve our unique society.
As Republicans, we believe that the only appropriate uses of our armed forces, or appropriate purposes for our alliances, are to protect and defend our countrymen, our nation, our allies, our fundamental interests and ideals, and our borders. We believe that the defense of our country requires the maintenance of the strongest military on Earth, and our continued exploration of space; but that our most effective defense arises from the protection and promotion of our fundamental principles at home.
As Republicans, we believe that the present age requires that we immediately and thoroughly alter the prevailing approach to governance of this republic consistent with the Federal Constitution and our inalienable rights described in the Declaration of Independence. Such change requires
- the containment, and ultimate defeat, of our enemies, and the protection and support of our allies, abroad;
- the protection of our most basic rights to freedom of speech and religion, to bear arms, and to the privacy of our persons and homes;
- a comprehensive approach to immigration that defends our borders, our heritage, and our language, while still welcoming newcomers who come to our neighborhoods legally;
- a complete reorganization of our educational system at the state and local level to produce self-responsible citizens capable of flourishing in a free society, and a free and global economy;
- a non-coercive assimilation that welcomes all our neighbors, including newcomers, into our culture and society;
- the effective mentoring of our neighbors at the state and local level to break the cycle of under-education, under-employment and over-incarceration that presently condemns so many families and communities to multi-generational poverty;
- the promotion of fair free-trade, and the dedication of resources at the state and local level to re-train adults throughout their lives, so that they can be productive citizens regardless of the consequences they will experience as result of free trade;
- new federal and state zero-based budgets that prioritize and promote the exercise of personal responsibility for ourselves and our neighbors as the foundation of our social safety net, while preserving Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for those who truly need economic assistance from society as a whole;
- the replacement of Obamacare with a health-care system that allows patients and doctors to control their relationship based on principles of the free market;
- the reduction of federal regulations and taxes that burden private job creation, and the adoption of a sunset process that requires periodic review of all federal regulations for elimination, amendment or renewal;
- energy independence and environmental prudence, consistent with our national security needs and sound science; and
- coordination of all levels of government to modernize our nation’s infrastructure and electrical grid, reconstruction and modernization by our national government of our military capacity, and a re-dedication by our national government to space exploration.
As Republicans, we know we will disagree from time to time about the best policies needed to turn our principles into concrete policies, but we shall not waiver from these principles. To these principles, and to our continuing experiment in republican government, we hereby re-dedicate ourselves with the pledge of our ancestors: the pledge of our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.
Ok, let your comments fly.