The Loyal Opposition

Glenn Reynolds has a letter from a Republican who isn’t about to give an Obama Administration the benefit of the doubt on anything:

I consider myself a libertarian/conservative. Like many people of that bent, I was uncomfortable with Bush when he was nominated. But Al Gore’s increasingly-erratic behavior during the 2000 election made me hope Bush won.

Once Bush won, and it became clear that the Florida democrats were trying to steal the election, I became something of a Bush loyalist. Throughout his first term, I took note of all the really horrible things that were said about him, saw that a large portion of the left would rather see Bush fail than see America succeed, and was alarmed by the complicity (and often, participation) of the MSM and mainstream Hollywood. It wasn’t far into his second term that I succumbed to Bush Fatigue, due to his inability to make the case for his foreign policy to the American people, and his inability to find the veto pen. He has truly been a terrible steward of the Republican brand, and because of this, the Conservative and libertarian causes are suffering.

I’m no fan of McCain , but as I dislike Obama (and love Palin), I’ll be pulling the lever for McCain in November.

This is surely small of me, but if Obama wins, I plan on giving him as much of a chance as the Democrats gave George Bush. I will gleefully forward every paranoid anti-Obama rumor that I see, along with YouTube footage of his verbal missteps. I will laugh and email heinous anti-Obama photoshop jobs, and maybe even learn photoshop myself to create some. I’ll buy anti-Obama books, and maybe even a “Not My President” t-shirt. I’m sure that the mainstream bookstores won’t carry them, but I’ll be on the lookout for anti-Obama calendars and stuff like that. I will not wish America harm, and if the country is hurt (economically, militarily, or diplomatically) I will truly mourn. But i will also take some solace that it occurred under Obama’s watch, and will find every reason to blame him personally and fan the flames.

Obama’s thuggish behavior thus far in this election cycle – squashing free speech, declaring any criticism of his policies to be “racist” (a word that happily carries little weight with sensible people these days), associating with the likes of Ayers, Wright, and ACORN – suggests that I won’t have to scrape for reasons to really viscerally dislike Obama and his administration. And even if he wins, his campaign’s “get out the vote fraud” activities are enough to provide people like me with a large degree of “plausible deniability” as to whether he is actually legitimately the president.

I’ve seen a President that I am generally-inclined to like get crapped on for eight years, and I’ve seen McCain and Palin (honorable people both, despite policy differences I may have with them) get crapped on through this election season. If the Democrats think that a President Obama is going to get some sort of honeymoon from the folks who didn’t vote for him, as a wise man once said: heh.

Prof. Reynolds finds this depressing. So do I.

Granted, I understand the sentiment behind it. Whatever Sen. Obama’s personal qualities, his policies will be devastating to this country. The Democratic Party has consistently and disgustingly put loyalty to party over loyalty to country, especially on Iraq. They have corrupted the Constitutional role of the Senate from “advise and consent” to playing partisan games with the Judiciary. They have acted like children with petty and childish attacks against the President—and even engaged in fantasizing about the assassination of President Bush. Individual Democrats may be honorable and patriotic, but the machinery of the Democratic Party is to be reviled.

Given all that, why would Republicans want to be like them?

That sort of thing didn’t help the Democrats in 2004, and it won’t help the Republicans—especially with our one-party media covering for the Democrats at every turn. The politics of hate are not the path towards a better country. What the Republicans need to do as a party, and what conservatives need to do as citizens, is become a loyal opposition.

I’ve been harping on this for a while, but it remains true—the Republican Party has to stand on principles to win. We have to uphold our principles in everything we do. That means that Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill need to uphold the highest standards of ethics and fiscal restraint. That means that people like Rep. Don Young, Sen. Ted Stevens, and Sen. Larry Craig need to be politely told to start acting responsibly, or leave. If the party machinery won’t do it, then the grassroots needs to take control of the party machinery.

We need to fight a war of ideas, not a war over politics. We are losing the war of ideas. We are letting the left define us. Conservatism is not an ideology of the rich, it is an ideology that encourages people to be rich. The American Dream will never be achieved by punishing the successful. Our strength comes not from the size and scope of our government, but from the ingenuity and spirit of our people. No government program can ever hope to do as much good as the American individual. Government is merely the most inefficient way of aggregating the power of the individual. We must be prepared to redefine our message, not spend all of our time engaged in stupid kneejerk politics.

The American people are sick and tired of politics as usual, and Barack Obama is nothing more than a typical machine politician. If Obama wins, the American people will be desperately hungry for a real alternative to what Obama will have brought upon them. The Republican Party had better be ready with a real and relevant alternative. We had better rediscover our principles, and be willing to stand firmly upon them.

There are far more important things to do than engage in the sort of childishness that marked the last 8 years of Democratic rhetoric against Bush. We are above that sort of thing, and if we want to win and save this country from taking a leap backwards down The Road to Serfdom we had better be able to do more than just attack the other side.