The elephants in the room: The growing minority in the Republican Party

| Staff Columnist

Following an electoral victory with heated rhetoric aimed at reducing the national debt and returning to constitutional government, the Republican Party seems unwilling to seriously address America’s problems. “The Party of No” once again seems incapable of leading. That is, some Republicans are incapable of leading. Presently, the Republican Party is at a crossroads, and the future looks brighter. A growing number of Republicans, old and young, are standing up to leaders of both parties and denouncing the unsustainable plans for the future. This growing minority in the GOP is the only group of politicians in Washington fighting for common-sense proposals to deal with America’s problems.

“Big Government Republicans” are slowly losing their appeal. Despite the rise of John Boehner to speaker of the House, the victory of Roy Blunt in Missouri and the continuous media coverage of presidential “contenders” such as Newt Gingrich, the American people and Republican voters are demanding real change in Washington. The past decade is littered with Republican failures to contain spending, protect the Constitution, roll back the size and scope of government and responsibly use America’s military. In fact, Republicans did just the opposite when in power during the Bush administration. These leaders who blindly endorsed Republican policies in the past can’t continue to give lip service to Americans at home. Just as Pinocchio’s nose failed to disguise his lies, the record of much of the Republican establishment makes them unfit to be vehicles for change in the future.

Far from being monolithic, divisions have occurred throughout the history of the Republican Party. However, recent history has blurred the lines separating various Republican factions, and in fact, even many differences between Republicans and Democrats. Today, both parties’ leaders support the continued wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the new war in Libya, the unconstitutional Patriot Act, the majority of government expenditures, record deficits, unlimited detainment at Guantanamo Bay and the federal government’s intrusion into health care, education, housing, agriculture, business, banking and energy. The only difference between the current agendas of Republicans and Democrats is not whether government should be involved at all, but how much government should be involved. All of that is changing.

As the national debt becomes the nation’s top priority, only the growing minority within the Republican Party has appropriately addressed it. While many Republicans focus on attacking funding for National Public Radio and Planned Parenthood, Senator Rand Paul’s plan calls for eliminating $500 billion from the federal budget. His plan calls for eliminating waste, corporate welfare, farm subsidies and foreign aid, programs that don’t affect the average American. Instead of focusing on millions of dollars in a $1.5 trillion deficit, this plan seriously addresses America’s spending problem in an appropriate, rational fashion. Rather than eliminate the welfare programs that millions of Americans depend on, this Republican minority is focusing on eliminating items that provide little or no benefit to the American public. The doubling of the defense budget in a decade is unsustainable, and this plan reduces military spending while still allowing for a more than capable defense of the nation.

Newly elected congressman Justin Amash has come out strongly against the president’s decision to go to war without first consulting Congress. “When there is no imminent threat to our country, he cannot launch strikes without authorization from the American people, through our elected representatives in Congress,” the representative from Michigan said. In fact, then-Senator Obama said in 2007 that “the president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” One would expect far less hypocrisy from a Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

Obama’s adventure into Libya, supported by members of both parties, will soon cost American taxpayers more than the recent budget cuts passed by Congress. Add to that the ever-increasing interest on the national debt, the expansion of entitlements under Obamacare and the recent executive orders by the president further eroding the Bill of Rights and it’s clear that neither Republican nor Democratic leadership has the right answer.

The crossroads facing the Republican Party is the same one facing the American public as the 2012 Presidential election nears. President Obama has delivered anything but “change” as his administration continues to support the policies of the Bush administration in domestic and foreign policy. Americans, and Republicans, must decide if they want to continue following the Patriot Act and War Powers Resolution or return to the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The former will bring more of the same and continue down the unsustainable path America is headed. The latter, which the Republican Party would be wise to choose in 2012, will bring real, much needed change.

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