Can anyone lead America back to the future?

By: Guest Authors

By: David Coughlin

The 2010 midterm elections are projected to be a Republican landslide and repudiation of everything President Obama has “accomplished.” The question is why should voters select the Republican alternative? The Republican Party has become Democrat-lite led by moderates more concerned with raising money and getting reelected than leading with ideas for improvement. The Democrat Party has been taken over by “regressives” embracing failed socialist ideas from the past and ignoring the people’s wishes. Meanwhile mainstream America defines itself as conservative by a 2 to 1 margin and feels abandoned by both major political parties. In 2008 the political planets aligned: the liberal mainstream media came out of the closet as proud liberals; voters rejected the Republican party which won four years earlier with a landslide; and a brilliant media campaign was successful selling an inexperienced, nuanced, leftist with a theme of “Hope” and “Change.” Now nearly two years later President Obama has rammed an unwanted agenda of legislation through a complicit Democrat Congress. The American people have finally woken up to find their idealistic hopes and dreams have been replaced by an over-reaching government trying to takeover as much of the economy as possible.

America is waiting for someone to appear who will show the way back to American leadership and prosperity. This vision for change will require short term, medium term, and long term plans to return this country back to its original image. In 2008 change was desired, but unfortunately the change received only made the country worse. The last time change was called for and delivered as promised was in 1994 with the Contract for America. The transformation of this country back to its roots of free market capitalism, limited government, and a strong defense will take at least one term to reverse the damage done by the current administration and at least another term to begin the downsizing of our federal government back to the Founding Father’s common sense approach to government.

The “Contract from America,” is a blueprint for immediate short term action once real representatives are elected to Washington. Candidates for political office are being asked to sign this contract as a litmus test for support. The Contract is based on Individual Liberty, Limited Government, and Economic Freedom. There are ten actions to be taken immediately upon taking office: 1)Protect the Constitution; 2) Reject Cap & Trade; 3) Demand a Balanced Budget; 4) Enact Fundamental Tax Reform; 5) Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington; 6) End Runaway Government Spending; 7) Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-run Health Care; 8) Pass an ‘All-of-the-Above” Energy Policy; 9) Stop the Pork; and 10) Stop the Tax Hikes. This Contract has a strong emphasis on constitutional limits and restraints on legislation, spending, taxing, and government control of the economy.

The “Road Map for America’s Future” by Congressman Paul Ryan offers a comprehensive medium term proposal to ensure health and retirement security for all Americans, to lift the debt burdens that are mounting every day because of Washington’s reckless spending, and to promote jobs and competitiveness in the 21st century global economy. It is a radical plan to balance the federal budget by slashing the sacred cows of American entitlement spending: Social Security and Medicare. It restrains government spending, and hence limits the size of government itself; it rejuvenates the vibrant market economy that made America the envy of the world; and it restores an American character rooted in individual initiative, entrepreneurship and opportunity. This Road Map focuses on helping the poor, while encouraging the middle class to take more personal responsibility in a dynamic economy. It is the appeal of security vs. the appeal of independence and enterprise. The CBO estimated that Ryan’s plan would accomplish what no other recent proposal could claim to do – it would strengthen the economy and put the government’s finances on a sustainable track. The Road Map for America’s Future promotes our 1) national prosperity by limiting government’s burden of spending, mandates and regulation, 2) ensures the opportunity for individuals to fulfill their human potential and enjoy the satisfaction of their own achievements, and 3) it secures the distinctly American legacy of leaving the next generation better off.

The missing link in America’s future is a long term vision of where this country should strive to be in ten years? What will the country look like after all the changes are made? Obama has been open about his disdain for the Constitution and the role of the federal government. One of the major themes of the Tea Party movement is a return to the original intent and limitations of the Constitution. The ninth and tenth amendments place limitation on the federal government that have been ignored or abused repeatedly in the last 75 years. Obama’s overreach may be the tipping point to finally begin the return of this country back the original design of the Founding Fathers. We not only need to change direction, but we need to repair the damage done by repealing a number of laws that stretched the Constitution all out of shape.

The federal government today is doing many things never envisioned by the Founding Fathers, and we should stop doing anything not specifically enumerated in the Constitution. The first thing to do is to abolish more than half of the existing Cabinet Departments of: Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, and Transportation. Many of these functions are best performed at the state level. There are many federal programs and agencies that should be privatized: Social Security; Medicare; Fannie Mae; Freddie Mac; Ginnie Mae; all ownership positions in various private banks, insurance, and automobile companies; the Postal Service; Amtrak; and the Tennessee Valley Authority. Abolish all grants that favor programs in select states. The federal government could easily be cut in half by privatizing or transferring programs to the states where they belong. This reduction in size and mission should also reduce federal taxes by at least half. Imagine a world with half the federal government and half the regulations!

American people want to see a vision of where government is going and what it will look like once we achieve it. This framework must include a high level vision and then must expand into actionable plans for transition from where we are today to where we should be in the future. Government can be viewed as a cancer that never sleeps and never gives up nibbling at our liberty and freedom. Just once it would be nice to see this cancer in remission and turned back. A return to our Constitutional principles is long overdue and will be a real transformative change that America will welcome. Whatever party leads this effort will require a long term commitment of at least two full Presidential terms to accomplish, since the damage is huge and repairing this much will require continuity and a complex phased migration.

Many Americans have been yearning for someone to appear who can describe what needs to be done and the steps to fulfill his vision. The opportunity is now!

David Coughlin authors a political web site entitled “Return to Common Sense” at

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