It’s more obvious every day: If Republicans wants to put the “Grand” back in the GOP, then the party needs to stand for something again. Luckily, one presidential candidate, former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani, seems to have a message that appeals to the party and the nation.
A year ago, as the 2006 elections were just under way, I wrote about the GOP’s two options – run a campaign of hate and fear against illegal immigration or choosing to return to the roots of the Gingrich Revolution and renewing the Contract with America. Sadly nothing has changed, except for that Republicans lost both the House and the Senate.
And, predictably, left to their own devices in Congress, Democrats are demonstrating as great an ability to muck things up as their pachyderm predecessors. Whatever happened to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s 100-hour Agenda? None of those proposals have become law and the subject seems to be wiped clean from the Speaker’s website. Fighting pork-barrel spending? Implementing earmark reform? Not if the Democrats need to win over swing votes against the War in Iraq! And let’s not get started with the investigations – and the investigations of the investigations – that do little more than swaddle the Capitol in clouds of corruption and scandal.
By and large, Americans believe in Republican values. Americans support tax cuts. Americans support law and order. Americans want to win the War on Terror. Americans are against big government, do not want to pull out of Iraq in disgrace and would rather our leaders not sit idly by as Social Security and Medicare go bankrupt. When he was running for President, George Bush articulated these American values – and won election twice because of it, despite the odds being stacked against him running against a sitting Vice President.
But the Republican Party is not leading these days, and instead, is letting Democrats define it. Democrats have led many Americans to believe that Republicans want to take prescription drugs away from senior citizens, send our boys off to die in a pointless war, send the gays to concentration camps, deport anyone with more than a midsummer’s tan whose last name ends in a vowel and use the power of big government to benefit a handful of large corporations with ties to the Administration.
Those aren’t the Republican values I believe in, and – honestly – I don’t think they’re what the party faithful believes. Which I why I think we’re seeing an unpredicted groundswell of support for the presidential ambitions of New Yorker Rudy Giuliani.
Giuliani’s message is simple: The most fundamental of American values is freedom. The role of government should be to establish law and order and to protect people so they can exercise their own liberty.
Government, Giuliani believes, should trust that people will be better off when they decide what to do with their own money – evidenced by the fact that he cut taxes more than 20 times as Mayor of New York. Likewise, Government should get out of the way when it comes to individuals’ rights to exercise their own social liberties. Foreign policy should be based on the principle of advancing freedom abroad. Countries which recognize human rights and economic liberty, by and large, do not fight each other.
To quell Christian conservatives, Giuliani reminds us that if we’re going to preach freedom abroad, we cannot be limiting it at home.
That, I believe, is a powerful message that Americans can buy into – and if the party will come for the ride – lead the GOP back to the promised land.