The Many Deaths of the Republican Party

Herbert Hoover & the Great Depression
Herbert Hoover & the Great Depression

The Republican Party has “died” many times. Yet it always seems to be resurrected.

We can start with Herbert Hoover, whose administration coincided with the Great Depression. Elected in 1928 at the height of economic prosperity, Hoover has ever since been associated with the worst economic disaster in American history. He did help make it happen; specifically, he helped prolong it with his government interventionist policies. But his successor, FDR, was the one who made sure it lasted an entire decade. Hoover gets all the blame; FDR is considered the “savior” of America. Life isn’t fair.

It took a while for the Republicans to return to the top. Not until 1952 did another Republican candidate win the presidency: Dwight Eisenhower. His two terms were marked by an economic upswing similar to the 1920s.

Barry Goldwater Suffered a Major Defeat in 1964

Barry Goldwater Suffered a Major Defeat in 1964

In the 1960s, after the assassination of JFK, then-president Lyndon Johnson took advantage of the sorrow over that tragedy to lead the country into an interventionist stage from which it has never fully recovered.

Due to the shock of the Kennedy assassination and the general mood of the country–ready to try full government intervention–the Republican nominee in 1964, Barry Goldwater, didn’t stand a chance. The electoral margin was so huge that many commentators again suggested that the Republican Party was nearly as extinct as the dinosaurs.

Vietnam, though, proved LBJ’s undoing, and in a year of unequalled civil strife in the 20th century, Nixon was able to gain the presidency in 1968. The Republicans returned from the grave once more.

Nixon\'s Undoing: Watergate

Nixon's Undoing: Watergate

 Nixon brought the soldiers home and won an astounding electoral victory for his reelection in 1972. He lost only Massachusetts and Washington, DC. But that campaign featured the Watergate breakin, which then dominated the news for the next two years, ending in Nixon’s resignation. That debacle did nearly bury the Republicans. They lost so many congressional seats in 1974 that their influence was virtually nonexistent. As the 1976 election approached, it seemed that President Ford (who rose to the presidency through appointment and then the Nixon resignation) had no chance at all. Surprisingly, he almost pulled it off, losing narrowly to Jimmy Carter.

The Carter years, though, were a disaster. I won’t recount all the problems at this point except to say that the economy was the worst since the Great Depression and the Iranian revolution had created the embassy hostage situation, which Carter seemed ill-prepared to handle.

Reagan: A New Beginning

Reagan: A New Beginning

That set the stage for Reagan’s victories–electoral, economic, and in the Cold War. The Republican Party was back again. And even though Clinton won two terms in the 1990s, it is probably (should be) a consensus that Reagan changed the terms of political debate with his policies. Although Clinton was president for eight years, for six of those years, Republicans controlled Congress and remained in control until 2006.

We are now at a place where some people are insisting, once more, that the Republican brand is out of date and nearly extinct. That has been the story for decades, but the story never seems to end there. Can a new generation of leaders actually do some leading? Will the Republicans regain their footing (beginning with a true and consistent message)? We will see. It would be foolish to count them out now.

The Republican Future?

Palin: The New Republican Leader?

What does the future hold for the Republican party? Is it dead? Whether dead or not, what type of “revival” does it need?

I believe Republicans need a couple of key things at this point: first, a clear message that resonates with voters; second, a leader who has the ability to communicate the message.

The message cannot be new. Some want Republicans to walk away from their roots. I disagree. The focus, now more than ever, needs to be on limited government, economic freedom, and a morality based on Biblical principles. Why? Because those are truths that must be the cornerstone of a society. You can’t mess with those truths and expect the nation to prosper.

As for the leader, I am open to whomever the Lord raises up. Yes, I do believe that the Lord is interested in placing someone in that leadership role. Right now, all the attention is on Sarah Palin. She has continued to be maligned in the press, and now from so-called “insiders” from the McCain camp. Yet she has handled herself well in responding to them. She has made herself available to a number of media interviews since the election, and has shown an ability to hold her own.

Is she the person the Lord wants? I don’t know. But my exhortation remains the same as it was prior to the election: pray for her. Let’s see what the Lord will do.

R.I.P? Not Yet

A few days ago, I received the following picture in an e-mail.

Yes, I did post a message that I entitled “America’s Suicide Attempt?” But this picture is premature. November 4, 2008, was definitely a step in the wrong direction, and the America of the future may be unrecognizable to us today. Yet that is not set in stone (so to speak).

As I’ve stated before, I believe Obama is a radical. His philosophy is radical and his instincts have been trained in radicalism. He will take this nation as far to the left as he deems possible. Some commentators have been theorizing that he will not be able to do nearly as much as he has promised. They say that if he goes too far too fast, there will be a backlash because the country is not willing to accept his type of radicalism. I hope they are correct, but I will not make such a rosy prediction.

If Congress, which is dominated by the Democrats, passes the Freedom of Choice Act, for instance, I can’t see anything stopping Obama from signing it into law. His determination to remove all restrictions on abortion is a cornerstone of his philosophy. On other issues, he may go slower, but that is almost more dangerous. The old story about how if you put a frog in a frying pan, he will jump out, but if you put him in lukewarm water and slowly heat it up until he is cooked applies here. He can gradually bring some things to pass without most of the populace becoming aware of what he is doing.

The key is to remain vigilant and point out the dangers as soon as they arise. We must not be lazy and simply allow America to be transformed for the worse. If we do our part, I believe God will still pour out mercy and grace. Damage will undoubtedly be done, but we need to pray that it will be limited and reversible.

So let’s not write that epitaph just yet. It’s too soon.

A Veterans Day Remembrance

Reagan at Pointe du Hoc--June 6, 1984

Reagan at Pointe du Hoc--June 6, 1984

Ronald Reagan, commemorating the 40th Anniversary of D-Day, gave one of the most inspiring speeches of his presidency. Sitting before him were the survivors of the assault on the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc. Watch Reagan’s address on that day. These are words that every American should know, but sadly, our children are not taught them.

An Appeal to My African-American Brothers & Sisters

I am of the opinion that, Biblically, there is only one race, and that it is called “human.” Man is the one who has invented the idea of different races. In fact, we are all beings made in the image of God. Externals such as skin color are not that important. Yet we make them important to our detriment.

If we are Christians, that is our primary identity. Everything else is secondary to that. The real division in the world is not racial; instead, it is between those who are part of the kingdom of God and those who are not. As the Apostle Paul noted:

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:26-28)

For too long in America, white Christians were not following the truth of the Word in this respect. It has taken a long time to remedy this; unfortunately, it has also resulted in much bitterness. Now, there are black Christians who apparently, in reaction to past treatment, are making race into the determining factor in politics. To be black in America in 2008 almost reflexively meant voting for Barack Obama. My brothers and sisters, this should not be so.

If I vote for someone because he is white, I am elevating externals over the truth of the Gospel. If my African-American brothers and sisters do the same by voting for a black candidate primarily because he is black, how is that any different? In both cases, we would be wrong.

We must vote based on whether or not the candidate advances Biblical principles in our society. That is precisely why I could not vote for Obama. It had nothing to do with race.

Interestingly, in California, the proposition on the ballot that defined marriage as only between a man and a woman (and which narrowly passed) was supported by 70% of African-Americans. They helped lead it to victory. Yet, those same voters turned around and voted for Obama by over 90%. He is no friend to the Biblical definition of marriage. How can those two votes be reconciled?

We must be consistent.

God calls us to always vote based on His principles. Those principles tell us to treat everyone impartially, and to show no favoritism. By no means should we allow race to be the deciding factor in our vote. I urge all my brothers and sisters in the faith–whether white, black, Latino, Asian, or whatever–to recognize this truth and act accordingly. Let’s work together for the kingdom of God.

Pro-Lifers for Obama?

Perhaps the most disheartening development in this election was the specter of some pro-lifers voting for Obama. One gropes for analogies: animal rights activists clubbing seals? radical environmentalists burning a forest?

How can this be? How can a pro-lifer, particularly a pro-lifer who claims to be a Christian, violate one of the most easily discerned commandments of God–never take the life of an innocent person?

I’ve heard the rationales. “Well, I can’t be a single-issue voter; abortion is only one of the issues a Christian must consider.” I agree. When I vote, I take all issues into consideration. However, there is only one issue that deals with immediate life or death of the innocent. “I can’t vote for McCain because he divorced his first wife.” Yes, he did. It was wrong. But McCain himself acknowledges that. He freely confesses that he was selfish and immature when he did it. Have these Christians never heard of repentance? Are they going to hold a person’s sins against him for the rest of his life, even when he admits he was sinful? McCain, by the way, has continued to take care of his first wife, and she even supported his bid for the presidency. If she can forgive, what can’t we?

I must repeat points I have made previously. Barack Obama has stated that one of the first pieces of legislation he hopes to sign into law is the Freedom of Choice Act, which will wipe out all restrictions against abortion nationwide. He also pledges to nominate people for the Supreme Court (and all federal courts) who adhere to his philosophy. By the end of a four-year Obama term, this nation may be changed drastically for the worse.

And some Christians will have helped make that happen. I don’t wish to be harsh, but if you consider yourself a pro-life Christian and you voted for Obama, you have contributed to the ongoing slaughter of thousands upon thousands of unborn children. You will have to be the one to explain to the Lord why you did it. Neither I nor anyone else who values the sanctity of life will be able to plead your case for you. That blood will be on your hands.

New American Motto?

This is what happens when Biblical principles are no longer our foundation.