After eight years of Clinton, things are looking up for Republicans. We control the presidency and both houses of congress, and actually picked up congressional seats in the last mid-term election. Bush’s current approval ratings are similar to the ratings of most reelected presidents at this point in their terms. And the economy is starting to show real signs of recovery: third quarter GDP growth was the greatest in 19 years, jobs are being created, consumer confidence is rising, and the stock market is up 30 percent since March. So why are things going so well for Republicans?
1. Americans are patriotic. We will fight to defend our security and our shared values. We agree with John Stuart Mill when he observed, “[W]ar is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things.” We are not war mongers, but will sacrifice to protect ourselves from insecurity at home and to defend democracy abroad. Republicans have been, and, listening to the Democratic presidential candidates talk about Iraq, will for a long time be the party of strong national defense.
2. Fiscal conservatism works. Republicans understand that if you want less of a thing, tax it. If you want more of a thing, subsidize it. We’re now seeing the positive effects of the Bush tax cut: removing excessive restraints from business and individuals allows them to function to the best of their abilities. The best economic systems are those that ensure opportunity and foster individual productivity.
3. America is a nation that was founded by, and indeed abounds with, individuals who want as little government administration over our lives as possible. We fought the Revolutionary War because we didn’t have enough control over ourselves. Republican governments transfer freedom back to the individual. I think Ronald Reagan said it right: “Government must not supersede the will of the people or the responsibilities of the people. The function of government is not to confer happiness, but to give men the opportunity to work out happiness for themselves.”
The right is winning because the American people love their country deeply and are willing to take responsibility for their own lives and their own fulfillment, and don’t need the government’s help to do it.