Are You Listening, Frist, Hastert, Delay????

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Are You Listening, Frist, Hastert, Delay????

Post by Corlyss_D » Wed May 11, 2005 10:59 am

A future in which the way Conservatives behave no differently than Liberals is not the future I voted for when I pulled the levers for Republicans starting in 1980. I gave 'em a pass on 9/11-nomics and the war, but I'm not going to give 'em a pass forever. Where's the fiscal discipline talk? Where's the smaller government talk? If Newtie is registering these cautions, and he's the most dynamic visionary involved in Republican strategy, things are not going well.

by Newt Gingrich

The Des Moines Register May 10, 2005

Despite its recent election victory, the conservative movement today faces a test of its dedication to its core principles of smaller government and greater economic freedom that will ultimately decide conservatism's continued relevance in America's political landscape.

Entitlement spending is growing at an astonishing pace, threatening to overwhelm the federal budget and make higher taxes almost unavoidable. If health-care costs continue at their current trajectory, total federal spending is projected to balloon to 33 percent of the gross domestic product by 2050. The three principle drivers of those costs are Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Without their dramatic transformation, Republicans will find themselves defending a system more like socialist Europe than entrepreneurial America.

A future in which the federal government consumes one-third of America's productivity is a future in which conservatives have lost and the liberal Democrats have won, even if Republicans manage to hold the majority in Congress and keep the presidency.

The unfortunate truth is that the longer conservative elected leaders stay in office, the more they will be torn between the revolutionary ideas and values that got them elected and the need to explain and defend the institutions they inherited.

Thus, the conservative movement is at a crossroads. Will it merely preside over a government created by liberals to solve yesterday's problems? Or will it reaffirm its commitment to transform government into an institution capable of meeting the challenges of the 21st century?

Only the American people, with a massive infusion of energy and spirit, can steer it in the latter direction.

We can accomplish our goals by adhering to four principles:

Transformative movements come from the country, not the capital. Capitols oppress idealism under a "tyranny of the present" that breeds timidity and caution, causing elected leaders to confuse the day-to-day tasks of holding office with meeting the historic demands of governing. Without citizen involvement, our leaders would interact primarily with lobbyists and creatures of the bureaucracy. Only the past has lobbyists who protect what they already have; the future is unrepresented unless citizens engage.

To rally the country around transformation, we must follow Margaret Thatcher's rule that "first you win the argument; then you win the vote." Furthermore, we must commit ourselves to the length of time necessary to win the argument. Ronald Reagan first proposed welfare reform in 1970, and nobody supported him. By 1996, polls showed that 92 percent of the country favored it. With that type of support, its passage was inevitable, despite opposition from the entrenched bureaucracy. But it took 26 years.

Winning the argument requires clarity, simplicity and repetition. Since defending the past is so much easier than explaining the future, the burden will always be on the conservative movement to be much more compelling than the left.

Applying these principles requires the courage and commitment Ronald Reagan displayed from his "Time for Choosing" speech in 1964 until his last day of office. During that entire time, he was derided by the elite media and opposed by the Democratic majority in Congress. In 1980, with the election won, he cut taxes and boldly proclaimed his then-heretical vision for the end of the Cold War: "We win; they lose." Naturally, this only unleashed more scorn. But with the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the reinvigoration of the American economy, his legacy is the freedom and prosperity of millions. None of that could have been possible without the support and energy of the American people.

Today, the movement is at a similar place as it was in 1980. With an electoral victory under their belts, our conservative elected officials are faced with a choice to govern or merely preside. It is our responsibility as citizens to make sure they make the right choice. It is time for the country to lead the capital once again.
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