11.17.2008

Which Road do we take?

We face perhaps the greatest economic crisis of our lifetimes, record deficits at state and federal levels and -put mildly - uncertainty around the globe. We need strong and effective leadership to get us through these times, but to whom do we turn?

There are two roads down which we can go. One road's destination is clear; it leads to ever-expanded government and ever-higher taxes. The other road's endpoint cannot be seen because no one has yet mapped its course. If someone does not blaze the trail and show us where that road leads, we will have no choice but to go down the road we can see.

As I see it, that is the political situation in the United States and in Wisconsin at the moment. Despite the flaws in the plans of liberals like President-elect Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Governor Doyle, Sen. Decker and Speaker-elect Sheridan; the fact is that they are presenting a plan. If Republicans do not find leaders who are willing to stand up and present a forceful, thoughtful alternative to the Democrats we will face years of unchecked government expansion and intervention.

The pundits are arguing over the proper definition of conservative and whether or not the Republican Party is dead. My question is what does it matter? The Party was founded on the basic principles of liberty and has adapted to meet each new crisis the nation has faced. We cannot apply the solutions we used yesterday to the problems of today because the problems are not the same. So to should the GOP adapt today. I am not suggesting that we abandon the principle of free-market economics, strong national defense and personal and religious liberty; rather I am suggesting that we return to them and apply them to our present situation.

We have leaders, Paul Ryan and Bobby Jindal leap to mind immediately. We need to listen to them and adapt our beliefs to the current conditions. This is not the 1970s, Barack Obama is not Jimmy Carter and no one - at least not that I see - who ran for president this year in the GOP is the next Reagan. We cannot sit and wait for the Democrats to make mistakes. We need to look forward, not back. Take inspiration from our great leaders like Lincoln, TR, Eisenhower and Reagan, but do not expect to do the same things they did.

I am a conservative, but I am first and foremost a Republican. The Party of Lincoln and Roosevelt stood for great ideas and principles. It has not always done so in the last several years, and I will not sit idly by and let irresponsible politicians and pundits destroy it.

We need an internal revolution to cut out the corrupt and ineffective members of the Party who have become too comfortable in power. We need to map out that second road and bring the Party and the American people with us. I'm ready to go down that road. Is anyone else ready?