National Review posed these questions to me and to others such as Newt Gingrich and Dr. Ed Feulner: Has the conservative movement begun to fight? Facing the specter of increasing Democratic majorities in Congress, can it rebuild? What should the Right be doing right now? Is it doing it?
You can read all the responses at their website, including mine. Here's what I proposed:
Conservatives are fighting but not persuading. We must reeducate a nation whose core principles have been eroded by left-leaning media, Hollywood, political correctness, and conservative misbehavior.
Liberal ascendance reflects American attitudes more than we like to admit, in a country where only 53 percent say capitalism beats socialism.
Simply promoting lower taxes and smaller government won’t resonate with millions who enjoy zero income-tax liability or who receive government benefits. We must explain that they still have a personal pocketbook stake.
How? With a kitchen-table agenda. In a single word: Consumerism — the belief that the free choice of consumers should dictate society’s economic structure.
Washington mandates have pushed up prices on everything that’s important. Some examples:
- The 2007 energy bill will raise car prices by $5,000 to $7,000 per vehicle.
- Health-care costs reflect 135,000 pages of regulations.
- Ethanol mandates have fueled soaring food prices.
- New light bulbs cost 5 times more than the old.
- How about the economy-wrecking mortgage meltdown? A HUD regulation created a quota (28 percent last year) for how many Fannie and Freddie mortgages must go to those with the poorest incomes.
And the red tape and mandates just keep on coming. Cap-and-trade will be the granddaddy of them all. As candidate Barack Obama said, “Under my [energy] plan . . . electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”
Congressionally engineered hikes in the cost of everything should be discussed as families sit around the kitchen table. The full cost goes beyond regulations and taxes; it’s also an issue of freedom.
Big government remains the cause of big problems, not the solution. We know the message can work when delivered well. Ronald Reagan proved it.