November 13, 2008
Editor’s note: Ron Paul is a Republican congressman from Texas who ran for his party’s nomination for president this year. He served in Congress in the late 1970s and early 1980s and was elected again to Congress in 1996, serving continuously since then. Rep. Paul is a member of the House Financial Services Committee.
The questions now being asked are: Where to go from here and who’s to blame for the downfall of the Republican Party?
Too bad the concern for the future of the Republican Party had not been seriously addressed in the year 2000 when the Republicans gained control of the House, Senate, and the Presidency.
Now, in light of the election, many are asking: What is the future of the Republican Party?
But that is the wrong question. The proper question should be: Where is our country heading? There’s no doubt that a large majority of Americans believe we’re on the wrong track. That’s why the candidate demanding “change” won the election. It mattered not that the change offered was no change at all, only a change in the engineer of a runaway train.
Once it’s figured out what is fundamentally wrong with our political and economic system, solutions can be offered. If the Republican Party can grasp hold of the policy changes needed, then the party can be rebuilt.
In the rise and fall of the recent Republican reign of power these past decades, the goal of the party had grown to be only that of gaining and maintaining power — with total sacrifice of the original Republican belief in shrinking the size of government.
Most Republicans endorsed this view in order to achieve victories at the polls. Limiting government power and size with less spending and a balanced budget as the goal used to be a “traditional” Republican value. This is what Goldwater and Reagan talked about. That is what the Contract with America stood for.
The opportunity finally came in 2000 to do something about the cancerous growth of government. This clear message led to the Republican success at the polls.
Once the Republicans were in power, though, the promises faded, and all policies were directed at maintaining or increasing power by trying to whittle away at Democratic strength by acting like big-spending Democrats.
The Republican Congress never once stood up against the Bush/Rove machine that demanded support for unconstitutional wars, attacks on civil liberties here at home, and an economic policy based on more spending, more debt, and more inflation — while constantly preaching the flawed doctrine that deficits don’t matter as long as taxes aren’t raised.