The past week has not been a good one for conservatives or Republicans. Not at all.
Make no mistake about it: Conservatives are under siege. Heady with irrationally-concocted victories fashioned by the Supreme Court (including two GOP-appointed justices) and a Republican Congress that seems rudderless, liberals are on the march. They are drunk with a new sense of power and triumph. Barack, Uncle Joe, Plastic Nancy, Crazy Harry, HillBill and their ragtag army are all on a roll. And suddenly, for them this is not the end but rather, a rainbow-colored new beginning -- a new dawn. Yes, they've just begun. And they're target is us, our liberties and our freedoms.
So, what to do? How to answer this new assault?
Here are five things that can get us moving in the right direction:
This is no time for retreat. Conservatives must return to our core values. When a big company faces bad times, slashed profits and angry stockholders it learns how to get back to basics real fast. We must return to what makes conservatism strong and meaningful: Smaller government, lower taxes, more individual responsibility, more power to the people, grassroots democracy. And these core values must be crafted and hammered home in a simple, basic manner that it easy to understand for all Americans.
There are dozens of conservative groups representing millions of people and raising zillions of dollars. To name just a few: Americans for Prosperity, American Conservative Union, Freedom's Watch, Family Research Council, Eagle Forum, Citizens United, etc. There's no shortage of ideas or energy. But we must find a way to regroup and work together on clear, simple, common goals. If liberals can do this (and they can and have) so can we. Remember: so long as we remain splintered among so many different groups and interests, the liberals will have the upper hand. The time for internecine squabbling is over!
We don't have to give up our core beliefs. But we must reimagine them. We must make them relevant to today -- to the here and now. We can learn a lot from groups such as Turning Point USA, Young Americas Foundation and Generation Opportunity. These groups are working hard to make our message meaningful to new generations. They can help us reawaken conservatism's belief in all that is right and just.
Now is the time to reach out. Now is the time to recruit and engage new followers. Many, many people are confused, dismayed, frustrated and even angry. They can't understand what's happening to our nation, its institutions, its traditions and its heritage. They're looking for like-minded individuals. They're looking for a way forward. We are those individuals. We are that way forward. We must recruit.
We must resolve to unite. We must unite around clear, simple ideas clearly and simply stated. We must unite around fresh, new plans to carry out those ideas -- good, solid, alternative plans that are practical and relevant to today's challenges and problems. And finally, we must unite around a single person -- a single voice who will convey our message and move us forward. More than anything else, this personality (our new standard bearer) will have the potential to capture the nation's imagination and bring our movement and our party to victory. We've got lots of choices but we must settle on one person soon -- real soon!
The darkest hour is often the precise moment when the brightest light emerges.
Remember these words of Ronald Reagan in 1980:
"They tell us we must learn to live with less, and teach our children that their lives will be less full and prosperous than ours have been; that the America of the coming years will be a place where — because of our past excesses — it will be impossible to dream and make those dreams come true. I don't believe that. And, I don't believe you do either. . . . I cannot and will not stand by and see this great country destroy itself. Our leaders attempt to blame their failures on circumstances beyond their control, on false estimates by unknown, unidentifiable experts who rewrite modern history in an attempt to convince us our high standard of living, the result of thrift and hard work, is somehow selfish extravagance which we must renounce as we join in sharing scarcity. I don't agree that our nation must resign itself to inevitable decline, yielding its proud position to other hands. I am totally unwilling to see this country fail in its obligation to itself and to the other free peoples of the world."