A lifelong Republican, I’ve spoken in the past of the possibility that we may need to form a Constitutional Conservative Party. It may come down to that, because, as we can see, the Republican Party is not getting the job done. How else could we be where we find ourselves in 2012? If our Party was effective, we wouldn’t be here. They just keep doing what they want, and keep making excuses. They are neither responsive nor aggressive enough. Bear in mind, I’m talking about the Establishment leadership. We’ve got some very exciting newcomers, but it remains to be seen if a little bit of new blood is going to be enough and in time. Obviously, it would be better if a new party could be avoided, but that can only be determined by wins and what we’re satisfied with. If we decide that socialism is for us, then we can keep things as they are and keep sending the same types of people to represent us. If not, and we decide that we want to not only stem the rising tide of socialism, but also begin to dismantle the existing socialist framework, something must change.
Policy Leadership Is Upside Down
Ever notice how when someone is elected to office, they become a celebrity to one degree or another? Some of that’s okay, but they often then become full of themselves, acting in office, not as their constituents wish them to, but as they themselves wish to. In our private lives that’s fine. But when you go to work, you don’t just do what you feel like. You do what it’s your job to do and that’s known to all involved. When we send someone to Washington, what’s his job? Is that known to us? We think it is, but, is it? In the meantime, the Party is just along for the ride, hoping only that the individual will be re-elected. In the meantime, it’s all fun, backslapping and smiles when that person shows up from Washington to attend a meeting in their own state. This elected bunch, depending on seniority, also decides what our policy platform will be, especially if we have the White House. Policy ultimately comes down to very few people and very often there is little if any real policy coordination. The platform as it’s delivered to us every four years is very, very general.
This is wrong.
An individual or small number of individuals which is changing fairly regularly is too mercurial and too inconsistent as a policy source or policy fighting force, as the case may be, to render a consistent result, in terms of policy. That elected official should be totally beholden to the party and its specific and previously established goals, not vice versa. He should be a party tool and the party should be the tool of its members. That elected official should not be dictating policy down to the party, telling the Party what the agenda is. He should rather be implementing policy determined in advance by the unelected party leadership, resulting from general meetings with the party membership at large. The party agenda, in very specific terms, should be written and posted for all to see so when we send someone to Washington, we know what their job is: vote and play to win those policies.
Only the actions of an officeholder toward the realization of those party objectives should determine whether or not the party even wants that person re-elected. If the Party determines that one of our elected representatives hasn’t done a good job, that person should be given the opportunity to resign his office and not seek re-election or be expelled from the party. Similarly, leadership in the House and Senate should be reviewed every six months. If that leadership is not making the grade and isn’t able to get party objectives won, then they should be replaced. Forget “seniority”. That may very well mean that a person has simply been in place too long and has gotten stale.
As things stand, everything is upside down…and it’s why we are being trampled by Democrats. It’s why our businesses are stymied at every turn and why the cost of everything is going up while our constitutional freedoms evaporate – because the leftists are putting up roadblocks to doing just about anything worthwhile, raising costs and eradicating freedoms while Republicans for their part have been almost totally ineffective in their efforts to counter them.
Our party’s approach and structure is why we’re failing, in my opinion. Unlike in times past, our nation is largely homogenized, with only subtle differences in core values, needs and wants regionally. When a representative, especially in the senate, is sent to Washington, it’s no longer about “bringing home the bacon” and appeasing a local mindset that’s very different from that of other parts of the nation. We need now to be a unified team to win national policy for the nation’s people at large, which will bring rewards to all the people in all the regions. At least, that’s part of it. There’s another part.
A huge obstacle to winning the policies we need to bring our nation right once again is the involvement of non-individuals in campaigns. By non-individuals, I’m referring to PACs, labor unions, or other legal entities. They are not individuals. They can’t vote. In the instance of unions, not all the membership even agree with the union’s political agenda, but are powerless to curb the donations their leadership chooses. Not being able to vote, by what logic are these legal entities which are not voters permitted to donate to politicians, separately from any individual donations their members might make?
Donations to political campaigns by any of these organizations must be stopped. What makes such donations necessary? Nothing makes it necessary except that everyone else is doing it too, and if you don’t, then you’ve shot yourself in both feet. But look at how it affects us: if someone wins elected office – say, a senator — having received tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or millions of dollars the chairman of a PAC or other special interest donates, what do you think happens when those people call the senator? Do you think that he/she will run to take the call? You can be sure that he will. Recently, President Obama, a man who as far as I know has never worked for any business making a profit, has been bragging about the billion dollars in his campaign warchest! How does a man who's done what Obama's done, get a billion dollars ... to do it some more? No wonder he doesn't listen to us or even the people in his own party! One wonders if that money comes from the unions in the businesses he "bailed out" with our money. They need only turn around and donate it to a Liberal SuperPac.
But what happens when you (or me) call the senator’s office? Will he take your call? Call you back? Is he going to seriously consider your suggestions if they run counter to the narrow interest of his biggest donor, perhaps a union or someone who wants no competition for whatever his business happens to be? Will he even get your suggestions? Hmmm. Does anyone doubt that money of this sort corrupts? Okay, agreed: it corrupts.
So what would happen to our campaigns without money from special interests and PACs? For starters, it would relegate candidates to those who can personally muster the necessary funds to finance the campaign via their own resources and those of private donors who might know them. That’s not a good thing, you say? Well, allow me ask, why should someone who has been so unsuccessful in the general conduct of his life that he has no standing in his community – hence few donors — be able to win national office? Is that the sort of person who we want to see governing? Yet, I believe that that’s exactly who we’ve been getting in many instances. That is, people who are hacks and who will do the bidding of others faithfully are given enough money by groups and PACs to win election. For most Democrats, in particular, the attainment of a congressional office represents a pay raise! For Republicans on the other hand, most take a pay cut. Taking that statistic alone, who’s most likely in office to give service to the nation… and who is in the office to line their pockets?
Campaigns driven solely by private donations would certainly restrict appearances, private jet flights, advertising, debates and etc. Yet, how much of this is needed to get out a given political message, especially if all are playing by the same rules? Do we need debates, week after week as we’ve just seen in the Republican primary race? They were absurd — insulting even, considering the manner in which they took place. A candidate can easily write a position paper and now, more than ever, get his message out to likely voters in a multitude of relatively inexpensive ways to reach a mass audience.
So why all the money? Let’s get it out of our elections.
What about free speech? Free speech is expressly guaranteed to individuals, not to legal entities. The rights of the components of entities, that is, individuals, would remain fully intact. They can donate individually according to the rules for individual donations. Even so, as things currently stand, the amount of “speech” which can be expressed in dollars by entities is limited. So how does banning entities entirely from these donations alter anything legally? A ban would simply limit the speech by legal entities (businesses, pacs and etc) in dollars to zero.
Summing It Up
This is only about who we want our elected officials beholden to. Do we want them beholden to “special interests” or do we want them beholden to us? It’s up to us to go vote for them. The PAC’s can’t do that. Yet who ends up with the influence? As I’ve pointed out, no one is left out by requiring that only American citizens of voting age may make campaign contributions. Every person of the age of majority still has the right to vote and donate to the party of his choice.
I’m convinced that the combination of an old, outdated party structure and practices along with the practice of accepting special interest donations works against the Republican Party delivering to Americans the policy wins that we want and need to continue with our way of life. This isn’t to be construed as an “evolving” way life in other than material things, but rather a way of life which features individual responsibility, individual justice, equality in all things under the law – not outcomes or position — and simple common sense management of the nation’s business affairs. We need a return to a government which is not front and center in our lives on a daily basis, micro-managing our every choice and through that micro-management, restricting and hobbling our private sector economy and restricting or removing our freedoms.
Most of us know a better time and a much better nation in terms of its political leadership. It’s up to us to turn it around. If we don’t, then who will?