The Republican Party: Lost in the Wilderness
By: Guest Authors
By: J. Matt Barber
After Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, they rebelled against God and were made to wander aimlessly in the desert for 40 years on a needlessly roundabout journey to the Promised Land. God kept the coveted prize out of reach until that rebellious generation passed.
Today we find an improvident Republican Party lost in the political wilderness. As the GOP seeks to find its own Promised Land â€“ a return to majority leadership â€“ it has, to its own detriment, rebelled against the core conservative principles solemnized within its own party platform.
In a â€œbig tentâ€ effort to be all things to all people, the GOP â€“ charmed by a gaggle of â€œmoderateâ€ RINOs (Republicans in name only) â€“ has taken a hard left, hustling along in exactly the wrong direction. As a result, that elusive Promised Land shrinks in the rearview mirror with every â€œcentristâ€ capitulation.
Much of the party leadership has become emotionally addicted to the placebo of political pragmatism, swallowing the media-driven misconception that, to voters, ideological â€œmoderationâ€ is somehow the political gold standard.
So, the Grand Old Party has become the Bland Old Party, suffering a largely self-inflicted electoral thumping at the ballot box two election cycles running.
But alas, a defiant elephant refuses to cry â€œuncle.â€
Despite the party platform explicitly affirming unborn children’s â€œright to life which cannot be infringed,â€ current RNC Chairman Michael Steele recently chose to parrot the DNCâ€™s pro-abortion talking points.
When asked about â€œabortion rightsâ€ in an interview with GQ magazine, Steele said: â€œI think that’s an individual choice.â€ A clearly stunned interviewer followed up: â€œAre you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?â€ Steele: â€œYeah. I mean, again, I think thatâ€™s an individual choice. â€¦ Yeah. Absolutely.â€
In fairness, Steele later issued a statement insisting that, in fact, he is â€œpro-life.â€ This, of course, begs the question: â€œHuh?â€
But the enigmatic Steele didnâ€™t stop there. While addressing the highly polarizing issue of homosexuality, he flippantly cast aside the GOPâ€™s moral values banner, sounding off like a spokesman for the â€œgayâ€ activist Human Rights Campaign.
Taking a jab at the untold thousands of ex-â€œgayâ€ Americans who have found freedom from the homosexual lifestyle, he opined, â€œI don’t think I’ve ever really subscribed to that view that you can turn it on and off like a water tap. You just can’t simply say, oh, like, â€˜Tomorrow morning I’m gonna stop being gay.â€™â€
Then, to a liberalâ€™s delight, he wrapped up his pro-â€œgayâ€ exposÃ©, by falsely equating changeable homosexual behavior to his own immutable skin color, concluding, â€œIt’s like saying â€˜Tomorrow morning I’m gonna stop being black.â€™â€
Even in liberal California, most Democrat-leaning African-Americans disagree with Steeleâ€™s apples to oranges comparison. Although 96 percent voted for Barack Obama, 70 percent also voted to pass Californiaâ€™s Proposition 8, doing away with court invented â€œsame-sex marriage.â€
In fact, 46 states have either passed legislation or a constitutional amendment protecting natural marriage. Yet, according to Steele, a proposed federal amendment to do the same is, â€œmucking around with the Constitution.â€
Although the marriage issue has, time and again, been a verifiable winner for the GOP, the party treats it like a political third rail.
The American people demand much more. They have forsaken the GOP because it first forsook them. Yet the partyâ€™s ideologically emaciated leaders remain oblivious to the obvious â€“ blind to the political sustenance aplenty that pelts thick skulls like manna from Heaven. If the GOP ever wishes to reverse its spiral into the abyss of irrelevancy, it must, in word and deed, make a bold, unapologetic return to the fiscally conservative and socially conservative policies that fueled the Reagan revolution.
Still, in what amounts to chronic wishful thinking, the left has â€“ over and again for decades â€“ prematurely penned the conservative movementâ€™s obituary. To borrow from Mark Twain: Reports of our death are, once again, greatly exaggerated.
Liberal Democrats and â€œmoderateâ€ Republicans alike continue to misrepresent votersâ€™ ballot box rejection of todayâ€™s â€œcentristâ€ GOP as an overall aversion to larger conservatism. Frankly, itâ€™s tiresome and a bit embarrassing. In fact, precisely the opposite is true.
An August 2008 Battleground Poll reported that 60 percent of all Americans deem themselves conservative. Evangelical Christians â€“ an estimated 70 million â€“ and other social conservatives make up the base of that 60 percent. Almost universally, social conservatives are also conservative on economic and national security related issues, representing what I call: â€œThe complete conservative.â€
Yet, as we plunge headlong into the dark age of social and economic Obamunism, the GOP inexplicably continues to treat complete conservatives like that crazy uncle you only have over for Thanksgiving. When election season rolls around, itâ€™s all hugs and kisses. After the returns â€“ not even a phone call.
Well, complete conservatives have finally taken their ball and gone home. And, until the GOP finds the moral compass it so long ago tossed in the unforgiving wilderness sand, itâ€™ll just have to keep pitching to Independents, liberal Republicans and moderate Democrats.
You know, like John McCain did.
Matt Barber is Director of Cultural Affairs with both Liberty Counsel and Liberty Alliance Action. He also serves as Associate Dean of Liberty University School of Law and co-hosts the nationally syndicated â€œLiberty Liveâ€ talk radio program on AFR Talk. Send comments to Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org. (This information is provided for identification purposes only.)