It's the Personal Liberty, Stupid

It therefore would behoove Republicans to return to some first principles and explain that their opposition to Obama-ism goes beyond the eye-popping debt and the implications for future economic growth. It is about personal freedom. With this in mind the platform for Republicans struggling to avoid the tag of “do-nothingism” practically writes itself.

In place of ObamaCare, Republicans offer tax credits for individually purchased insurance, market competition (including the right to buy insurance across state lines), and legal reform. In place of cash for clunkers and government-run car companies, Republicans offer car company stock divestiture. In lieu of spending the remainder of the non-stimulus plan monies, Republicans urge tax reform, including reduction of corporate taxes and payroll tax relief, and restoration of funds for a real shovel-ready program: the F-22.

The contrast between the parties is especially great for young voters who were swayed to vote for the hip, young guy over the grumpy senior citizen in 2008. It turns out the hip guy wants to force them to buy health insurance, load debt and an enormous future tax burden on their backs, and raise energy prices. It’s not very 21st century. As Michael Barone observed after ticking off the list of statist policies at the core of the Obama agenda, “The larger point is this: You want policies that will enable you to choose your future. Obama backs policies that would let centralized authorities choose much of your future for you. Is this the hope and change you want?”

And finally, Republicans would be well to make the case that larger government not only means less personal freedom but more corruption, influence peddling, and “rent seeking” as interest groups and industries inevitably must seek to sway government representatives and bureaucrats who would hold enormous power over their economic destiny. It is not just that Nancy Pelosi faces a slew of ethics inquiries that have snared her closest allies. It is that by crafting legislation, most clearly cap-and-trade and ObamaCare, which would supplant millions and millions of private-sector decisions with government edicts, the opportunities for mischief making grow exponentially.

So perhaps the American people are ready for “change” -- once again and faster than most imagined. End big government power grabs, restore personal liberty, defend free markets, empower young people, and remove the temptation for corruption. Thanks to Obama we now know what the alternative looks like -- and it’s not a pretty sight. If the Republicans can seize on the unique opportunity (never let an overreaching president go to waste?) they may find the sojourn in the political wilderness much shorter than they feared.