Monday, March 9, 2009

Op-Ed: The Republican Problem

Submitted by ASO member: Grant Woods

I am an Arizonan. It used to be easy to be a Republican here. We had Barry Goldwater as our leader and we stood for something. We didn’t need focus groups or campaign consultants. We knew who we were and what we believed in and we had the confidence to stand behind those beliefs.

We believed in freedom. It wasn’t freedom as a slogan or an excuse for military intervention, it was freedom as a way of life. For us, being a Republican meant that you thought people should be free to rise and fall based upon their own individual talents and ambition. The government was there to keep things fair and legal and to provide basic services and defense from those who would harm us. But the government wasn’t there to take care of us from cradle to grave or to decide for us the best ways for us to spend our time or money. We wanted government to be limited in its scope, but efficient in its execution of those limited duties.

It’s not so easy being a Republican here or anywhere else anymore. Republicans really don’t stand for anything anymore. They don’t have big ideas and they don’t seem to have a clue how to run the government. They stood and watched as Democrats sold the idea that everyone should own their own home, regardless of ability to pay for it, and under the folly of deregulation allowed their greedy contributors to put the nation’s economy at risk for the sake of padding their own bank accounts. It was an obviously fatally flawed scenario and very few Republicans said a word to try to stop it.

President Bush violated his campaign promises against nation building and Republicans moved in lockstep behind him. Civil liberties that Republicans once held sacred were unilaterally trampled under the name of national security. Spending for the war and spending for things that the government didn’t need or have any business being involved in escalated at a record pace. Surpluses turned to deficits and finally it all exploded. Now the Democrats see this as an “opportunity” to enact all of the policies that Republicans have traditionally opposed over the years and the Republicans bemoan the fact that they are “leaderless.”

Actually, they are without principles. This crew sold out when they had a chance to stand tall for real conservatism. They pounded social issues that the government should stay away from and allowed their big business contributors to do whatever they wanted.

Frankly, they don’t deserve to be in power. But the Democratic ideas of bigger and bigger government, of class warfare and redistribution of wealth will ultimately change this country so as to make it unrecognizable. We broke away from Europe to form this Union. We should not crawl back now.

So how do the Republicans come back? They need new leaders. The old sell-out crowd should step aside or be pushed there. They need to stand for something and stick to it. But what should that bedrock principle be that guides their stands on policies and the proper role of government? Well, from out here in Arizona one word echoes from the Grand Canyon that Barry Goldwater so loved. Freedom.

We don’t need more government, we need better government. We don’t need government to dictate our morality, we need to be the sort of people who make moral choices on our own. We need a country that allows us the freedom rise up or fall down on our own. If the Republican Party could show that it would create such a climate, through competent governing and a philosophy that respected individual freedom, its future would take care of itself.

Click here to learn more to learn more about Grant Woods, former Arizona Attorney General.


Anonymous said...

Thank you thank you. This is exactly right. And very much in line with the Teddy Roosevelt philosophy of government serving a purpose. The fundamentals of our government are bordering on irretrievable and over the next 5 years we don't need a leader who will spend us into oblivion trying to solve every problem at once. Major problems should never be solved by a government that is not split. But what we do need is a bipartisan group to take any one of our major problems off the table. Medicare, energy, social security, whatever. Take something off the table! Given that it is large government entitlement programs that are sinking us as a People, I cannot comprehend the logic that adding to that government is the solution. And please stop with the "middle class" mantra. I'm offended that there is such a thing headed by V.P. Biden called the "Middle Class Task Force." And what exactly is the objective? To get the so called middle class into the upper class? No, instead it's a political s how that is not only designed to provide some sort of comfort to a group of Americans, but also to keep them exactly where they are while exploiting them for political gain. It's appalling and divisive, and it should be stopped.

Anonymous said...

You were right, Grant about one part in particular...until the existing Republican Party Regime is kicked to the curb, there will be no integrity or dignity in being a Republican. As a Centrist Republican, I believe in conservative fiscal responsibility and moderate social policies. Neither the "W" regime or the Obama machine represent anything that i hold dear in life. Thanks for raising the conversation!

Anonymous said...

Excellent piece; I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and hope that it reaches many others asap.

Anonymous said...

Outstanding. We need more from this guy! Will he ever run again?

Support free speech

Join us on these social networks:






Got a question?

Read the FAQ here

Paid for by, an organization focused primarily on nonpartisan education and advocacy on the issue of free speech and other important civil rights. is a 501(c)(4) organization.

Donations are not tax deductible as charitable contributions.