In the late summer of 2004, a contentious battle was brewing between a war time president and incumbent Republican Party nominee, George W. Bush, and the Democratic Party nominee, John Kerry. As America was embroiled in a very real war against Islamic terrorism, now in its third year, the country naturally sought a steady hand at the helm of the ship of state. John Kerry, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, was the DNC answer to the “Cowboy diplomacy” of President Bush, however, John Kerry soon found himself defending an embarrassing series of political flip-flops that damaged his “steady hand” image.
Kerry’s almost manic inability to stake a position on issues continued to haunt him throughout his campaign. His poll numbers began to sag as his demonstrable lack of conviction revealed just how much political expediency informed his politics. His name became synonymous with flip-flopping. His campaign speeches were interrupted by young Republicans waving their flip flops in the air to make a visual point of Kerry’s inconsistencies. Then came the magic moment, and Kerry managed to encapsulate his ideological inconsistency in one painfully honest statement at a campaign event in Huntington, West Virginia.
In one sentence, Kerry’s campaign all but imploded, as he gave the Bush campaign the sound byte of the election. The narrative was set, and a few well placed shots from the Swift Boat Vets and POWs for Truth later, the Kerry campaign was in life boats and taking on water. Kerry never recovered, and, of course, Bush went on to be reelected handily for a second term.
“I actually did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it.”
It once seemed that, at least on our side of the aisle, consistency mattered. Even Reagan, who was once a union man and even a Democrat, became a conservative in the 1950’s. After spending a decade talking to hard working manufacturing workers across the United States on behalf of General Electric and expounding on pro-growth economic policies of limited government, Reagan left the Democratic Party and demonstrated his conservative chops in a 1964 speech for Republican presidential nominee, Barry Goldwater, laying the foundation of his reputation as the “Great Communicator“.
By the time, Ronald Reagan recited the presidential Oath of Office on January 20th, 1981, he had been a Republican for two decades of his life and staunch defender of the virtuous principles of limited government for three decades. His vision of conservatism was crystal clear and battle tested. On the issues that most troubled the nation his course was sure and steady, as he struck a careful balance between his conservative values and the national interest in matters of foreign and domestic policy. It is why his legacy remains today, a powerful touchstone of Liberty loving conservatives.
This is why it is so troubling that so many Republicans seem to have forgotten what it means to be consistent, let alone conservative. If John Kerry’s policy flip flops made him inconsistent, Trump’s whiplash inducing policy reversals make him positively erratic. The only consistent position Trump has held in the last five years is consistently abandoning every position he’s previously held, sometimes multiple times in a week. Take any political statement Trump has made since 2011, and he has literally been on both sides of every political issue that is relevant to current politics, from health care to tax policy, from gun control to abortion.
This is to be the face of the Republican Party in 2016?
“And once you get to a certain level, it changes. I will be changing very rapidly.”
How does the Republican Party go from lampooning a presidential nominee for flip-flopping on matters of public policy and national security to wildly supporting a candidate who openly admits that changing his political positions to whatever way the wind is blowing that morning is how he operates in just 12 short years? Where are those young Republicans who held aloft the gritted symbols of political expediency, chanting “Flip! Flop!“? Where are the patriots?
A brave people, who are worthy of liberty, do not sacrifice, in times of uncertainty, proven virtues upon the altar of political necessity. If a political philosophy is worthy of our support and enthusiasm, then the individual that we put forth to represent us should embody that political philosophy, wholeheartedly, without shame or reservation. Our opponents embrace this principle, and their candidates are clear examples of their political visions of how the American government should best, at least in their leftist view of the world, serve the interests of the people.
Why on earth can the Republican Party not find the will to do the same, not in three decades? If Donald Trump is what the Republican Party has become, a spineless, philosophically bankrupt political chameleon, then it is no longer a home for Liberty or her patriots. It is time to seek a new fertile ground to plant the Tree of Liberty.
Long live the Republic! Be Brave! Be Free!
Liberty is For The Win!