Republicans Need New Leaders

Monday, March 21, 2016

Every journey begins with a first step.  If we have a clear vision of where we want to go, and if we hold true to our core foundational principles, then every step that we take brings us closer to our destination.  Otherwise, we are just wandering.  Otherwise, we are most likely moving in the wrong direction. 

Today, our nation must choose between two competing visions, two very different destinations.  Democrat’s versus Republican’s. 

In years past, it was often said about politics that we all wanted pretty much the same result, we all wanted the same destination; we just differed on the best way to get there.  People would say that we just had an honest disagreement about the best way to achieve the same goal.

Those days are long gone.  Today, the visions, the destinations, are clear opposites.  At the risk of oversimplifying:  the Democrat’s destination is socialism; the Republican’s destination is capitalism. 

It’s true.  Sometimes Democrats try to conceal the fact that their agenda is socialism, but at other times they brag about it.  When Democrats, such as Hillary Clinton or the current Democratic National Committee Chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz, are asked to explain the difference between their party and socialism, they scramble to explain the difference, but they can’t; they can’t because there is no meaningful difference. 

At the same time, other Democrats, such as Bernie Sanders and his many followers, wear socialism as a badge of honor.  That level of candor is becoming increasingly popular among Democrats, especially younger voters.  A recent survey reported that more millennials favor socialism over capitalism; socialism over capitalism.  This is not something to be taken lightly.  If we are not careful, our next President could be another Democrat; our next President could be another full blown socialist. 

While the Democrats are sometimes reluctant to admit that their vision is socialism, we Republicans are fairly consistent in aligning ourselves with the principles of free market capitalism.
However, the Republican establishment has two enormous problems.  One, the Republican message is not clear; and two, what little message that is presented is increasingly viewed as not being sincere. 

Not being sincere: this is a huge problem for the Republican cause.  Sincerity is a hard thing to prove.  Really, the only way to prove sincerity is to have your deeds match your words.  And that is precisely why the Republican establishment is currently having a crisis of confidence within the party. 

What’s gnawing at a lot of Republican voters is that we see battles that the Republicans could have won, but chose not to fight, while at the same time, there are battles that the Republicans had no chance whatsoever of winning, but made a huge spectacle out of their futile efforts.  It begs the question, are the Republicans really trying to change the direction in which our nation is moving, or are many of our battles merely for show? 

In any event, it is time to clean this up.  It is time for clarity, it is time for accountability, it is time for leadership. 

It is time for the leadership of the Republican Party to distill the essence of the Republican cause into a clear, unambiguous vision of where we want to take our nation, and most importantly, that vision must include the first few steps that we must take in order to get us moving toward the destination offered by that vision.  

Right now, we don’t really have that.  What we currently have is a lot of Republicans espousing a lot of disconnected ideas.  Voters hear buzz words, buzz phrases, plan fragments, 20 second sound bites, 60 second answers to complex questions, and “go to my website to see my plan”.
In the United States Congress, there are currently 247 Republican representatives, and 54 Republican senators; I’m certain each would say that they have a plan. 

Having 301 individual plans is the same as having no plan at all.  Having thousands of goals is the same as having no goals at all.  There is currently nothing specific to which to hold anyone accountable.  How convenient for them; how devastating for our party and our nation. 

All too often people say that Washington is broken.  Many say that the solution is to reach across the aisle to find common ground with the Democrats.  Aside from the fact that socialism and capitalism are pretty much opposites; before we strain to find common ground with the Democrats, perhaps we should first consider finding common ground within our own party. 

Liberty, free markets, competition, small government, lower taxes, opportunity, individual responsibility, strong military, national security, compassion.  Republicans say these buzz words all the time.  It is time that we gave meaning and direction to those words.  It is time that our leadership united us around a clearly articulated vision that is consistent with the principles behind those words. 

It is time for leadership, it is time for accountability.  It is time that we as voters hold those that we elect to the House and to the Senate accountable for the leaders that they select.  Selecting their own internal leadership may very well be the most important decision that our representatives make; yet on the campaign trail it is hardly questioned. 

All too often campaigns boil down to how powerful the candidate, more often than not an incumbent, has become.  Candidates, both Republican and Democrat, talk endlessly about the committee positions that they have been awarded and the bacon that they can bring back home from Washington.  The problem for our party and for the nation is that bribing voters with government largess usually works.  Incumbents are indeed difficult to defeat. 

Republicans are currently caught up in a contradiction, and that contradiction is killing our party.  We say that we are for small government but we fall into the trap of competing with Democrats on the basis of who can get the most from Washington.  If we are going to try to out democrat the Democrats, we will never succeed in accomplishing the goals that we say that we value.
Republican members of Congress must have the strength, integrity, and vision to base their selection of leadership not on what the leadership will do for them, but on how true the leadership will hold to our core foundational principles. 

Republicans frequently say that our nation is heading in the wrong direction.  That won’t change until we have better leadership.  Mitch McConnell is the top Republican leader in the Senate and Paul Ryan is the top Republican leader in the House.  The last significant thing that they did was to pass the Omnibus Budget.  That budget completely funded virtually every program that the Democrats currently have on their agenda in exchange for precious little. 

Our Republican controlled House and our Republican controlled Senate funded programs that our leadership had previously declared to be unconstitutional; they funded programs that they had pledged in previous election cycles to, at the very least, defund. 

Rather than offering a competing vision of their own, Republicans funded the Democrats vision.  They funded the steps that take us further away from capitalism and closer to socialism. 

As Republican voters, our first step toward a better destination is to hold the representatives that we send to Washington accountable for the leadership that they select. 

Every journey begins with a first step.  The important thing is not how big that step is; the important thing is that we take it. 

Jack F Huguelet

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