An epiphany for Republicans

Timothy Philen Freelance writer
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We conservatives love to quote Will Rogers’ line that he didn’t belong to any organized political party — he was a Democrat.

Well, here’s a quote from Ralph Kramden: “Hardee-har-har-har!”

The unfunny truth is, today’s Democrats are as doctrinally disciplined as any party has ever been. Other than the occasional dust-up over the Deity or the timetable for Afghanistan withdrawal, they’ve been in virtual lock-step since the end of Vietnam on most every major issue.

And Jack Kennedy and Dr. King — as much as we enjoy reciting conservative-sounding excerpts from their speeches — would most certainly have evolved seamlessly into the collectivist ideology, and the decadent social issue mindset, of the 2013 Democratic Party.

Unlike Republicans, Democrats don’t suffer from heretical splinter groups. There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the views of the Trotsky-Trumka base of the party and that of the Great Triangulator in his current incarnation.

And they’ve also been teaching their children well. And yours too.

For the past 40 years our public schools have been virtual madrasas of progressive and permissive thought, from kindergarten through college. Evidently, the same Richard Dreyfuss alien urge that draws a disproportionate percentage of young liberal students to the mothership of journalism is at work in would-be teachers as well. And it’s paying off handsomely for liberals in seismic cultural shifts, the latest leading to our spanking at the polls November 6th.

I’m not sure we can solve the youth indoctrination problem, but I am sure of one thing: the solution to the current Republican trajectory is not simply shedding a few Tea Party pounds on taxes, or trimming our pro-life platform language, or donning now our gay apparel.

And it’s certainly not — as pundits love to advise — making our tent bigger. Our primary tent held an ideological circus so big and unwieldy, it made the Democrats’ 2008 debate season look like a North Korean parliamentary vote.

No, we need an epiphany. The revelation of a series of resolutions that will make our tent ideologically smaller — and numerically and demographically larger — than ever before.

And here it is:

Choose a handful of classic conservative principles and policy positions that speak to the hearts and minds of the widest possible swath of America, and downplay the rest, beginning with religious issues.

Let’s resolve to concentrate on the life-and-death issue of abortion — not because pro-choice sentiment is, thankfully, at a record-low 41% — but because the murder of more than one million innocent unborn children every year in America remains the defining moral issue of our lifetime. And our voice is their only voice.

Contraception, on the other hand, is largely a Roman Catholic issue that’s only of the narrowest concern even to Roman Catholics. And every time it’s brought up, the liberal media falsely links it to abortion. When contraception is a conscience issue related to Obamacare mandates, fine, but otherwise, let it go.

As for gay marriage, even God himself was willing to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if Abraham could find 10 righteous men. I’m sure the city of San Francisco can do better than that. Hold firm to your beliefs and respectfully explain them when asked, but as for the GOP, let that one go too.

Neo-conservatives, start acting like the Founding Fathers we supposedly admire so much and stop trying to build democratic nations through carpet bombing. Keep the surgical drone strikes on jihadist havens, and respond to threats of genocide fiercely and quickly, but otherwise, beat those swords into shares of Halliburton.

Fiscal conservatives, we’re the single moms cooking fresh vegetables, trying to keep our kids healthy, and being sabotaged every Saturday by the Democratic dad with the open box of chocolates. Let’s tell the truth about spending, deficits and debt, but let’s put a little butter and salt on those veggies — by leading with the benefits of fiscal responsibility — whenever we can.

Libertarians, please take all the drugs you want, channel Hunter S. Thompson, form a third party at the next Burning Man gathering, bury your gold bullion in the ground, guard it with your AR-15, and hang the Creature From Jekyll Island in effigy, but please, leave us — and our chances of being seen as a reasonable alternative to the left — alone!

And Christians, let’s stop letting politics inform our reading of scripture. It leads to inane deductions like “Jesus doesn’t want assault rifles banned.” Remember, “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal …”

Also remember that the left’s gun demagoguery will backfire soon enough. As any rational person knows, there’s about as much chance of seeing the next Adam Lanza at a Democratic “gun buyback” as there is of seeing Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Finally, let’s resolve to stop piling on Hispanics with immigrant-bashing. Even the “Sage of the Southwest,” Rick Perry, was right on this one. We like to make a distinction between hard-working legal Hispanics and hard-working illegal Hispanics, but when the illegal is your cousin, you don’t. And you’ll probably punish the politician who does.

If we’re not willing to line up our gardening crew and demand to see their papers, let’s stop bellyaching about people doing jobs we want done, but not by our own sons and daughters. Let’s provide the illegals a penitent’s path to citizenship, and their legal friends and relatives a path to the Republican Party!

That’s the revelation and the resolutions. And what are the chances that this epiphany, if implemented, will lead to victory in 2014 and 2016?

Excellent, I think, even though we’re now pitted against an increasingly disciplined, energized, younger and larger Democratic Party. And they’ve got an army of friends in the news media who control most of the content and tone of American political discourse. The reality is, the “Fourth Estate” has become little more than a bonus room in the White House. And that’s not likely to change anytime soon.

What will change, however, is the take-home pay of the average Democrat. And, little by little, year by year, as Obamacare and a host of other entitlements siphon off more and more of every liberal’s hard-earned pay, another epiphany will begin simultaneously dawning in the minds of millions of resentful Democrats who are just one “Governor Susana Martinez moment” away from realizing “we’re Republicans!”

Timothy Philen is an author and songwriter. He served for 15 years as a Ruling Elder of the Presbyterian Church in America.