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Rules for Republicans

Want your country back? Learn from our mistakes and be proactive.

by
Clayton E. Cramer

Bio

April 22, 2010 - 12:00 am

1. Put your money where your mouth is.

America is in a fight for its soul and its future. As this blogger recommends:

As someone who is woefully underemployed, I don’t have large stashes of cash to send to candidates, so I was thinking that the best option would be to contribute $10 every week to a candidate of my choice until the election. Incidentally, the candidate I’ve chosen is Rick Berg, who hopes to unseat Earl Pomeroy (D-ND).

If you want to stop the progressives in their tracks, it’s going to take money contributed to the campaigns of their opponents. Ask yourself: “Should I kick in $50 to ten different congressional campaigns this year? Or suffer vastly larger losses when the U.S. goes bankrupt and I lose my job?”

2. Diversify your politician portfolio.

You diversify your investment portfolio to reduce the risk that any single investment will disappoint you. Diversify your political contributions for the same reason. I’m making small  contributions ($20-$50) to a number of different candidates around the country, such as Pia Varma, a Republican running for Pennsylvania Congressional District 1, and Vaughn Ward, who is running for Idaho Congressional District 1. And I am actually contributing to two different Republicans running for Idaho State Senate District 17 — the louder their primary battle in this urban, Democratic seat, the more conservative ideas will be heard by voters.

3. Special interest money is the enemy — even when it is corporate contributions to Republicans.

Unfortunately, when corporate PACs give money to Republicans, it is seldom done to protect free markets or individual liberties. Sometimes the goal is protecting a business from government regulation — but as often as not, it is to protect a business or industry from “ruinous competition.”

In 2004, the Bush administration made serious attempts at health care reform — but couldn’t get free market proposals through a Republican Congress because health insurers didn’t want the competition from interstate association health plans. The only way to break special interest control of Congress is to elect candidates who don’t see government as an instrument for protecting their backers.

How to do that? See rule #1.

4. Financial collapse takes precedence over everything else.

I’m mostly a social conservative. I don’t agree with libertarians on some issues, and vice versa. But guess what? We’ve got a bigger problem.

Moody’s is talking about the possibility of lowering the rating of U.S. Treasury bonds because of how severe the deficits are that Obama is intent on creating. Lowering the rating means that the interest rate that the government has to pay goes up — and that makes it that much harder to pay down the national debt when Congress again has adult supervision. We all need to focus on a smaller and more fiscally responsible federal government, and elect either conservatives or libertarians to Congress as appropriate to a particular congressional district. We have a common enemy that is larger than our differences.

We can still debate, but anyone who sits out a campaign because “he’s a libertarian” or “she’s a conservative” is helping to elect someone that is neither.

5. RINOs are better than real Democrats.

Yes, I get frustrated by Republicans In Name Only. I ran for Idaho State Senate two years ago because my state senator was well to the left of what I thought a Republican should be. If a RINO represents a conservative or libertarian district, by all means let’s challenge him in the primary. But there are parts of America where the choice is a RINO or a Democrat. We don’t want to ever get comfortable with a RINO representing us, but at least a RINO won’t be helping Nancy Pelosi remain speaker of the House or Harry Reid remain Senate majority leader.

6. DINOs are better than real Democrats.

Many Democrats here in the First Congressional District of Idaho are frustrated with Democrat Walt Minnick, who voted against the stimulus package and against the health care deform bill. I see them moaning that Minnick is a DINO, and I look forward to seeing these Democrats carry through with their threat to sit out the November election. But even if Minnick wins reelection, better a DINO who sometimes votes the right way than a Democrat who will be consistently wrong.

7. Be proactive with fixing problems.

One of my great frustrations with the time that Republicans controlled Congress and the presidency was their failure to be proactive. President Bush proposed a number of incremental fixes to the health care system that relied on tax incentives and free-market solutions. It was not perfect, but it was a step in the right direction. But the combination of Democrats doing what unions told them and many Republicans doing what health insurance companies told them meant that nothing was fixed. Similarly, Treasury Secretary John Snow pointed to serious mortgage regulatory problems that needed to be fixed in 2003 — but we couldn’t get the Republicans who controlled Congress to take the problem seriously. Look where we are now, at least partly because of waiting for problems to become a crisis.

8. Recognize the difference between “minority viewpoint” and wacko.

There are ideas out there guaranteed to marginalize everything else you say. For example:

I think people that don’t have health insurance should be left to die in the streets when they get sick.

While this might make you feel all self-righteous and ideologically pure, this position is held by very few, and is right up there with the 9/11 truther claims for its ability to turn people in the middle against you. Perhaps you believe that people who don’t buy health insurance (or can’t afford it) deserve to die. Say it loud enough and long enough and you will guarantee that Americans in the middle will vote for politicians who will use “compassion” as an excuse to loot the Treasury.

Clayton E. Cramer teaches history at the College of Western Idaho. His most recent book is My Brother Ron: A Personal and Social History of the Deinstitutionalization of the Mentally Ill (2012). He is raising capital for a feature film about the Oberlin Rescue of 1858.
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