GOP must define itself

The following is a condensation of remarks to Republicans at the Randolph County Lincoln Day dinner last Saturday evening:

Let me begin by talking about our country and 2014.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher.” That seems to have special relevance these days, and we need to understand a couple of things.

– Democrats will stop at nothing to retain control of the Senate and capture control of the House in 2014. They’ll lie, they’ll cheat heck, they’ll even get the dead to rise up and vote early and often on Election Day.

– If Democrats succeed, the Republic, for all intents and purposes, will be lost. No one will be able to stop President Obama, especially if he has a chance to replace Justices Scalia or Kennedy.

So make no mistake about it. The nation, in my judgment, faces its greatest threat since World War II.

Enter now the Republican Party and my wish list.

1. I wish Republicans would figure out who they are.

A lot of people, including even some Republicans, have suggested that Republicans should be more like Democrats. That would be a grave mistake. John McCain tried it, and look where it got him and the party. To be more like Democrats would mean marginalizing the Constitution and abandoning important GOP principles.

I suggest an opposite approach. I suggest the GOP dump its moderation and provide the nation with a clear choice – socialism and oppressive government vs. free enterprise and freedom from government.

2. I wish Republicans would pursue a winning strategy for 2014 and beyond.

I suggest Republicans be bold. I suggest they put together a message that resonates with ALL Americans – Republicans, Democrats, men, women, young, old, hyphenated and non-hyphenated.

And what might that message be? How about love of country and respect for the Constitution.

In that regard, I suggest the GOP join with third-party friends to create a multi-media public relations campaign to promote patriotism and love of country and the Constitution. The sad fact is that a lot of people, young and old, either haven’t been taught or have forgotten what makes this nation great, and without that awareness and context, voters can and often do shake hands with the devil.

I suggest nationalizing the Congressional races as much as possible. Running against Obama still seems like a good idea. And I’d suggest focusing on three major issues – health care, the federal budget and deficit, and taxation.

Regarding health care, the Republican members of Congress need to develop a cohesive, easy-to-understand alternative to ObamaCare. And give it a name – maybe “YourCare.”

Regarding the federal budget and deficit, it might not be a bad idea for the GOP candidates to embrace zero-based budgeting. We don’t hear much about that these days, and the GOP budget sounds about as bad as the Senate budget or Obama’s budget.

Congressman Dennis Ross from Florida has introduced HR 239, called the Zero-based Budgeting Ensures Responsible Oversight Act. The bill has 16 co-sponsors. West Virginia Rep. Shelley Moore Capito is not one of them. According to one of her aides, she’s not sold on HR 239.

Regarding taxation, West Virginia Republicans back the Fair Tax Act. Good. It’s been introduced in the House as HR 25, and it’s intended to promote freedom, fairness and economic opportunity by repealing the income tax and other taxes, abolishing the Internal Revenue Service and enacting a national sales tax to be administered primarily by the states.

It has 53 co-sponsors. Rep. Capito is not one of them. Her aide said he has not called the bill to her attention.

I suggest that Republicans avoid issues such as abortion and gay marriage. Such issues need to be left in the hands of our social institutions.

Let’s face facts. Government can’t cure everything that ails us, even though Democrats would like us to believe it can. Government can’t even run the post office.

Republicans need to stop reacting to Democrats and worrying about what liberals say. Be yourselves. Stand on your own two feet – in 2014 and beyond.