(David Bozeman) – Senator-elect Marco Rubio, in one of the most rousing speeches on election night (is anyone really inspired by calls for bi-partisanship and compromise?) declared that the Republican Party was given a second chance to do what it had promised before. Last chance may be closer to the truth.
Indeed, the sweep of 2010 is wider than has been reported. North Carolina, for instance, is an anomaly, a conservative state that favors Democrats, but its legislature, for the first time since the late 1800s, is now under Republican rule. Yet Rubio is correct, 2010 was not a validation of a still highly-disfavored Republican Party but an opportunity to build a greater conservative movement for the next generation.
Right-wing pundits and intellectuals will generally speak the truth as they see it, but will Republican leaders in Washington succumb to the culturally ingrained notions of civility and bi-partisanship that typically undercut conservative values? That is a danger, because liberalism advances in increments, even small ones, while conservatism deals more in absolutes.
The notion that we are a centrist nation, that presidents of both parties must abandon their bases and appeal to moderates belies the fact that it is usually Democrats who win big by moving to the center. Bill Clinton, despite impeachment, left office on a high note after reading the writing on the wall in the ‘94 midterms.
How many Democrats this year won without mentioning stimulus packages or health care reform? Congressman Mike McIntyre won re-election to North Carolina’s seventh congressional district by distancing himself from Speaker Pelosi, calling himself his own man. Republicans, by contrast, generally win by sticking to their conservative guns. Who are the brightest stars in the conservative galaxy, Jim DeMint or the unpredictable Lindsay Graham, Marco Rubio or that lamentable has-been Charlie Crist?
To the Class of 2010, stay your course. Do not mold your convictions to the leftist/mainstream media standards of civility and expectations of “bipartisanship”. You will routinely be called extremists and bigots on the editorial and even the news pages. But stand your ground. It is not enough to answer your critics, turn the loaded questions back on them. Make them show the compassion and justice in economic policies that transfer trillions of dollars out of main street and inner city America to the wealthy suburbs of Washington, DC.
2010 has offered a golden opportunity to not just act on popular will but to mold it, to connect with and educate the voters. And to the policy wonks and foot soldiers, take it to the blue states, to the minority communities and to college campuses. Set the agenda, never ceding education, social security reform and other “failed” issues to the liberals. And again to the incoming class, you will not win every election or legislative battle, but if you stick with the people, they will stick with you.
Now is not the time to coast on merely reflecting public opinion, get out there and shape it! And never forget, you were not elected to get along with freedom’s enemies (of either party), you were elected to defeat them. Your adherence to your campaign promises could well determine the future of the conservative movement and solidify freedom’s last bastion for the rest of the 21st Century.
(David Bozeman, former Libertarian Party Chairman, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.)