Firings, contraception, immigration, gay marriage, and one-upping conservative values. Had enough? GOP candidates are sounding a little less attractive to Republican voters every time they open their mouths, but the alternative is grimmer than we dare to consider. By the time this winds up in Tampa and the gloves come off for the real battle against the Democratic machine will anyone still be listening? The time has come for some honest American nationalism, but are Republican candidates giving us anything worth listening to?
Both Parties Claim to Support the Middle Class
GOP hopefuls have one thing in common with Democrats. They support the middle class. Even Rick Santorum backs the middle class, despite remarks about our classless society. American classlessness is a hoax. Any visit to a candidate’s 2012 campaign site reveals a laundry list of issues and talk of opportunity, jobs, and a chance to do better that is aimed squarely at middle class Americans.
Every candidate needs an underdog. Salt of the earth voters are the bedrock of political campaigns, the stuff of every stump speech and teary-eyed remembrance. With the exception of the president, who says he supports the middle class but has a predilection for citizens from south of the border, what better symbol to summon American nationalism than long-suffering, hardworking but forever disadvantaged Middle America?
Elections bring us hyperbole recycled from countless campaigns about a way forward, about new visions and righting the wrongs of the past. What we rarely, if ever hear is a vision that sounds genuine, something the American people can get behind. Instead, voters mutter about settling for the lesser of undesirables as candidates disguise personal agendas, telling us what issues are important and what values we should embrace.
Time for a Groundswell of American Nationalism
Republican voters deserve a party and candidates who repudiate everything President Obama and congressional Democrats have subjected us to, not a rubble of hackneyed position statements borrowed from campaigns past. Call it an honest American nationalism if you like, a nationalism directed at those who pay to keep this country going. Voters need to know that they count as more than a revenue source. The candidate who gets that message across deserves to win the 2012 Election. Here is where that candidate can start:
1. Taxpayers Matter.
That taxpayers and their money matter is more than an excuse to parrot a list of spending proposals or rhetoric about reforming the tax code that will go nowhere. It is a value in and of itself. Americans hand far too much of their incomes to Washington to hear how their taxes are wasted, improperly paid out, misappropriated, and lost to fraud. When the IRS doled out benefits to illegal immigrants for the additional child tax credit it handed out the money first and decided later whether recipients were entitled (see: New Immigration Policy Could Force Us to Overlook Fraud). When Illinois foisted its DREAM Act on taxpayers it claimed public money would not go to illegals, failing to acknowledge who pays for public education (see: Illinois DREAM Act: Smarter Illegals, Better Frauds?).
The candidate has not been born who does not talk about cutting waste, fraud, and abuse, or that has been elected and made a noticeable dent in Washington’s disregard for our tax dollars. Just visit Paymentaccuracy.gov and have a look at the numbers for our high-error programs. Then look at the error rates Washington strives for, and ask why a 9.7% improper payment goal for unemployment benefits is something to be proud of.
2. Problems exist to be solved. They are not speaking points to be nurtured so they never go away.
Spending, deficits and debt, immigration, reforming the tax code, and balancing the budget are favorites that are most valuable to politicians if they are never resolved. These issues are the basis of our time-honored partisan divide, and would turn the dynamic between Democrats and Republicans on its ear if they ever went away. Do not believe for a moment that 2013’s across the board cuts have anything to do with cutting spending or reducing the debt. Congress sent the super committee on a fool’s errand, took the coward’s way out, and when they figure out how to circumvent their own mandatory spending cuts their fix will be used to stage a repeat of the grandstanding we witnessed last summer.
Term limits is another issue that pops up every now and again. Do not hold your breath for that one, either.
3. Everything that prevents moving the country forward can wait.
We need to deal with long-term unemployment, a crisis the December jobs report showed is unchanged and affects 5.6 million Americans. We need to deal with spending and debt, not delay decisions until they become someone else’s problem. Gay marriage, amnesty for illegal immigrants, and other inflammatory, hot button issues directed at Republican voters can wait. These are ploys that advance special interest agendas and will not fix the problems that are destroying our economy and eliminating any hope for the future.
4. Bureaucrats and legislators are paid to do a job. They should do it.
Even the president is a paid employee. Our leader has been busy on the campaign trail for months to make sure he gets his next four years while unemployed Americans search for work. Voters do not have a ready mechanism to remove legislators or a president who do not perform, or an entire Congress so dysfunctional that it would not be able to agree on the day of the week. The only choice we have is to tough it out until the next election.
Getting value from our government is not a policy we can legislate. It has to be a compact between voters and their candidates that serving the American people is a reason, not an excuse for seeking office. If that compact exists, we are not seeing it.
5. When all else fails, see #1.