Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the possibility of a civil war within the Republican Party. Right now there seems to be a considerable disconnect between grassroots activists and legislators, between those advocating fiscal responsibility and those who spend and increase the debt without much regard, between those who promote enhanced civil liberties and those who wish to clamp down upon them. These aren’t fights across partisan divides, but rather conflicts inside the GOP itself.
Although some may lament this feud, I say bring it on!
For limited government, liberty-minded, constitutional conservatives like me, the Republican Party has provided ample disappointment for years. Raising the debt ceiling again and again with no hope of paying it off? Check! Expanding federal control of health care (Medicare Part D) and education (No Child Left Behind)? Check and check! Eroding freedom of the internet through acts like SOPA and CISPA? Check! Unneeded and irresponsible meddling of the federal government in airport security through the TSA? Check! The horrible consequences to our civil liberties and the liberties of foreigners as a result of the so-called ‘Patriot Act’? Check! A legacy of war and massive foreign interventionism? Check! And friends, the list goes on.
Here in my home state of Virginia, the Republican Party controlled both houses of the General Assembly and the governorship in 2013. As a result, did we see our state government take a strong stand for the 10th Amendment against the encroachment of the federal government? Not really. They more or less rolled over to Obamacare. However, we did get a transportation tax increase which has been billed as the largest tax increase in Virginia history. All this with Republicans in charge!
Is there any wonder why Republicans continue to lose nationwide and got trounced statewide in the 2013 elections in Virginia? When both parties advocate big government why should voters choose the Republican Party over the Democratic? The answer is, they shouldn’t. Voters don’t trust the GOP any more…and for good reason.
So what does the GOP stand for these days, if anything? I asked this question last year and I still have no answer. Here in Virginia we have a Republican Party creed, but good luck finding leadership in the General Assembly or Congress who actually adheres to it. Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t principled Republican legislators in either Richmond or Washington, because there are, but they are often marginalized or go along with the party mentality to promote the least principled legislators as their leaders and the speaker.
Activists are tired of holding their noses to vote for big government. They are tired of being reminded to support party unity while their principles get trampled upon year after year. They are tired of conservatives and libertarians being ignored or abandoned by the leadership, especially during the election season.
So yes, I say the GOP Civil War is long overdue. Its time to stand up for your supposed values or else go the way of the Whigs.