The Republican Party leadership has become increasingly liberalized since the end of Reaganism. Ronald Reagan's presidency defined American conservatism in a way the middle class could relate to. He saw government as the problem, not the answer. He valued entrepreneurship above meddling bureaucracy. He recognized that the actions of individuals made America prosper, not the restrictions of government. Ordinary people saw hope and a better future in his words.
Ronald Reagan was a true fire breathing conservative that believed in conservative values, no ifs and buts. Today's Republican leaders have become nothing more than watered down Democrats. In fact, the Democrat Party built on its liberal principles over the years, while Republican leaders lost their conservative values and the party lost credibility because of it. There was a vast difference between Reagan and Obama politics but what about Bush and Obama? Was there any real differance?
This diluting of core values is not limited to Republicans in Washington, it has polluted local leadership just as completely. It seems that until the advent of the grass-roots Tea party, America was becoming a one party system. The downward spiral of conservatism was rapid and unchecked. America was being socialized in the image of Europe with the aid of a liberalized Republican Party, but now America is waking up.
Regardless of what liberal media polls reflect, Americans are basically conservative in core values. While Europe is awash in the socialism that is bankrupting nations, Democrats and Republicans in Washington are dragging conservative America screaming down the same path. The screaming by itself had little effect on old school tie Republicans, that's when the Tea Party evolved to get their attention. Unfortunately the national Republican Party has not taken the Tea Party seriously enough to change its ways and are hanging on to a spend now, pay later mentality that is destroying their party. The Libertarian Party tried to fill the void but was disappointing in trying to win wide support. This time, the Tea Party has the enthusiastic support the Republicans have lost and the Libertarians struggle to attain. All it needs is for the new Tea Party supporters to organize a viable national leadership and the Republican Party will be history. Something I believe is long overdue.
What about the home-town party leadership, and home grown republicanism, how are they reflecting grass roots values?
Republican leaders in Cleveland and Bradley County, supposedly the epicenter of conservatism in Tennessee, do not seem to hold on to Republican ideals as steadfastly as they should. At election time they support proven liberals over conservative newcomers because ideals mean nothing. While liberals like Cleveland Mayor, Tom Rowland, shelter under republican disguise fool no-one, others, like County Mayor D. Gary Davis, seem to have compromised the idea of smaller, less intrusive government, to appease people like Rowland, who love socialism. I have yet to hear of a social service the City of Cleveland doesn't want to fund, regardless of whether it is needed or not. The Lincoln Dinner, the highlight of the Republican year, is overrun with proclaimed liberals while rank and file Republicans are pushed to the back.
You can expect a liberal slant to Cleveland's way of doing business, because the city is being run by closet liberals in Republican clothes, but why Bradley County? Bradley County government is doubling its budget every 7 years or so but the population is unlikely to double for decades.
Why is that?
To be fair to Mayor Davis and the Bradley County Commission, there has not been a property tax increase in ten years and they have exhibited restraint on many occasions when asked to break the trend. At present, the growth in government is being financed by growth in sales tax and other collections, not increased property tax. But negatively, it is still spending more and more money, the county's debt has sky-rocketed and government is growing by leaps and bounds. To the political observer Bradley County is an example of conservative values being lost to expanded Republican government. Every time an employee is added, that employee needs an office and resources to function, which like their pay and benefits, gets ever more expensive as the years progress. Multiply this while adding new services needing more employees and pretty soon spending is out of control. Rapidly growing government is never a good idea if conservative values are to be protected. The majority of Bradley County leaders may be Republican, but they are not conservative.
Washington is experiencing out of control government that has broken free from the restraints of the citizen's needs or ideals. It demands unfettered growth even if it is unnecessary and bankrupts the nation. The same thing will happen locally if our leaders do not retain conservative ideas of smaller, less intrusive government. Taxes are relatively low in Bradley County but collections are being strained by government spending to a point that taxes will need to be raised to feed the machine and its debt.
It will not be easy to hold, or shrink the size and cost of that machine. It will take extreme political courage and a steadfast belief in traditional conservative values. Republicans have proven they don't have the stomach for it, so conservatives must do it without them.
That's what I think. What do you think?
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