Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie are certainly, deliberately or not, acting as exhibits A and B in illustrating for the American public what the establishment Republican Party’s true values really are: big surveillance, big foreign intervention and big deals with Democrats that are anathema to conservatives.
And the rhetorical battles that both men have had in recent months with Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) further reiterate the point that there is no room in the party for anyone who disagrees with the sort of big-government phony conservatism that appeals to voters with cheap moralizing on social issues only to win elections. Once those elections have been won, however, conservative voters are all too often swiftly reminded that the Republicans they voted in have no power, no business and no real willingness to spend their time in Washington crusading for moral righteousness by putting a stop to abortion, gay marriage, drugs or even, in a bygone era, lewd literature.
And here’s the problem: If you cast a vote for a politician in the hopes that that the power of political office can legislate morality, you cast a vote with the understanding that you are enabling big government. After all, a government powerful enough to dictate what drugs (traditionally a conservative issue), food (usually a liberal issue) or sexual organs may interact with your physical being is also powerful enough to mandate universal healthcare.
The Republicans — or at least those elected because of a conservative fixation on using government as a tool by which to legislate the moral order of church teachings on a public containing some people who have long since accepted a moral code that largely disregards certain religious mandates — realize the gift they have been given. Thus, lip service is paid to moral issues whenever a distraction is needed, while elected officials — Republican and Democrat — work to expand the power and reach of the Federal government and feather their own nests.
One could comfortably argue that there is no hope for a return to traditional moral values based on religious teachings gaining a foothold in the United States, unless a bloody rebellion were successful and a theocratic government installed. But at that point — setting aside any arguments over the difference in the doctrines of world religions — the U.S. would be in no better shape than many of the Mideast nations that have foolheartedly handed power to whoever is the loudest Muslim fanatic when upheaval begins.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”
America is a Nation of many faiths. And if you must argue that the Nation was predominately founded on Christian teachings, modern America is a Nation of many Christian denominations that, incidentally, often vehemently disagree on certain moral matters. However, the Nation has but one Constitution.
As a population, it would be helpful to think of religious matters in the United States as those of style. And they always have been; many colonists made their way to the new land for religious freedoms not afforded in the King’s Church.
The principle matter that binds Americans as a population is adherence to the mandates, liberties and limits set forth in the Nation’s Constitution. That’s because, while a Methodist may be unconcerned with breaking a Mormon rule and a Catholic may have no problem drinking a glass of wine in the same restaurant where a group of Baptist preachers have convened to launch a local prohibition effort, the Constitution protects the right of each to believe another is making a poor decision in the eyes of God.
Conservatives’ primary concern in electing national leaders should be whether the person asking for a vote has a record that indicates loyalty to the Nation’s Constitution. Everything else is simply a distraction.
The reason the GOP isn’t packed with politicians like Paul, Ted Cruz (Texas) and Justin Amash (Mich.) is because establishment Republicans are fond of accusing any lawmaker who dares question government’s power of having “libertarian ideas.” And it’s certainly an effective strategy, packing a one-two punch that makes foreign policy hawks balk at the idea of a Federal government unwilling to stick cannon in the face of any nation brazen enough to question American imperialism and giving religious right conservatives nightmares about a GOP moving toward accepting gays, abortions, drugs and all-out godlessness.
If you’re a foreign policy hawk, small government advocate or a member of the religious right, it’s time to take a serious look at where the largely un-libertarian GOP has gotten you. Because the Libertarians watching from the dugout are keeping score, and your team of establishment GOP lawmakers has brought the conservative team to two outs in the bottom of the ninth. There was the moral fastball you were sure they’d smack. Strike One: Gay marriage, gay military, abortion pills for teens. And then came the chance to knock that big government ball out of the park. Strike Two: National Security Agency spying, militarized cops, trillions of dollars in debt.
Put the two misses behind you and focus squarely on the Constitution — before conservatism strikes out for good.