Curing Our National Schizophrenia
By Phil Perkins
August 2, 2010
The U.S. Congress has fallen to new lows in recent popularity polls. Most polls have the heavily Democrat body well south of 20 percent approval. Yet there is still some hesitation to declare the upcoming election in November a landslide for Republicans. Why?
I’ve often wondered why right-of-center states such as Nevada would elect someone like Harry Reid to any political office, let alone the U.S. Senate. The answer may be, at least in part, due to our national schizophrenia regarding our politicians. That is, while the vast middle-of-the-road majority may not favor a slide toward socialism, that may not stop them from voting for a national pol who has socialist tendencies as long as he or she “brings home the bacon” as Reid is no doubt crowing about in his current re-election campaign. The real question is, how do we as a nation—state by state and locality by locality—stop this vicious cycle of being turned off by most politicians except our own incumbent?
We need to be willing, first of all, to not give “bringing home the bacon” the priority it does not deserve in the voting booth. If the Tea Party movement is any indication, we have reached a tipping point on how much federal government power and intervention in our lives most of us are willing to accept. But, in order to kill the attractiveness of bringing home the bacon we must focus better on who we elect in our home districts.
A true revolution has to build from the grass roots, and that is indeed what we must have in America to drive out the socialists and return to the limited government envisioned by our Founders. If we can elect true conservatives to local positions, then they with their more responsible fiscal policies are less likely to have their hands out to Uncle Sam for help. This in turn will lessen the allure of the liberal politician who stays in office term after term with the old canard that he or she is “fighting for you” or “looking out for you,” meaning that he or she has become an expert on diverting federal largesse to the state or district. If we are not convinced of the increased federal power that inevitably accompanies that largesse by the passage of Obamacare, then I don’t know what it will take.
Primaries are in progress to determine who will be running in this fall’s elections. We must diligently study the candidates’ resumes to ensure that we vote for true not faux conservatives. This will not be easy since, given the opportunities for such an overhaul in Congress, many folks are running and from varied backgrounds and philosophies. With the economy as the justified number one issue, we nevertheless need to be mindful of candidates’ positions on other issues—abortion, defense of family and traditional marriage, illegal immigration, and so on—issues that more truly define a candidate’s conservative bent. I’m seeing a lot of candidates whose sole issue is the economy. Unfortunately, most of them simply are trying to ride their business experience of being a “job creator” into office.
We have seen, time and again at the national level, that Republicans, even those who call themselves “conservatives,” have a penchant for abandoning the cause when the chips are down. The atrocious handling of the Elena Kagan hearings is just the latest example of Republicans such as Sen. Lindsey Graham (more about him in a companion article) not doing what they were elected to do. And we cannot count on the atmosphere truly changing in Washington DC until we—the grass roots—make enough noise across this land that they will have no choice but to hear us.