This was the title of a post on Redstate by Aaron Gardner, regarding where the Republican Party goes from here.  Gardner started, as his foundation of what the Republicans need to stand for, from the party platform of 1980, when Reagan was swept into the White House with 489 electoral votes.  He made some of his own modifications, but overall the (lengthy) statement stands as a good starting point.

It’s quite true that Republicans have not lived up to their vision of government, most notably so under George W. Bush.  Given that, it would be good to take note of what this country voted for in huge numbers (the second time, with a larger margin than the first).

Some excerpts are below, but the full intent of these positions can only be properly gleaned from the full text.  Emphasis throughout is mine.

Taxes:  The Republican Party believes balancing the budget is essential but opposes the Democrats’ attempt to do so through higher taxes. We believe that an essential aspect of balancing the budget is spending restraint by the federal government and higher economic growth, not higher tax burdens on working men and women. Policies of the Democratic Party are taxing: work, saving, investment, productivity, and the rewards for human ingenuity. These same tax policies subsidize debt, unemployment, and consumption. The present structure of the personal income tax system is designed to broaden the gap between effort and reward.

Therefore, the Republican Party supports across-the-board reductions in personal income tax rates.

Welfare:  As a party we commit ourselves to a welfare policy that is truly reflective of our people’s true sense of compassion and charity as well as an appreciation of every individual’s need for dignity and self-respect. We pledge a system that will: Provide adequate living standards for the truly needy; End welfare fraud by removing ineligibles from the welfare rolls, tightening food stamp eligibility requirements, and ending aid to illegal aliens and the voluntarily unemployed; We support a block grant program that will help return control of welfare programs to the states. Decisions about who gets welfare, and how much, can be better made on the local level.

Equal Rights:  The truths we hold and the values we share affirm that no individual should be victimized by unfair discrimination because of race, sex, advanced age, physical handicap, difference of national origin or religion, or economic circumstance. However, equal opportunity should not be jeopardized by bureaucratic regulations and decisions which rely on quotas, ratios, and numerical requirements to exclude some individuals in favor of others, thereby rendering such regulations and decisions inherently discriminatory.

Abortion:  There can be no doubt that the question of abortion, despite the complex nature of its various issues, is ultimately concerned with equality of rights under the law. While we recognize differing views on this question among Americans in general—and in our own Party—we affirm our support of a constitutional amendment to restore protection of the right to life for unborn children. We also support the Congressional efforts to restrict the use of taxpayers’ dollars for abortion.

We protest the Supreme Court’s intrusion into the family structure through its denial of the parent’s obligation and right to guide their minor children.

Education:  Federal education policy must be based on the primacy of parental rights and responsibility. Toward that end, we reaffirm our support for a system of educational assistance based on tax credits that will in part compensate parents for their financial sacrifices in paying tuition at the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary level. This is a matter of fairness, especially for low-income families, most of whom would be free for the first time to choose for their children those schools which best correspond to their own cultural and moral values. In this way, the schools will be strengthened by the families’ involvement, and the families’ strengths will be reinforced by supportive cultural institutions.

Small Business and Regulation:  We believe that wherever feasible, small business should be exempt from regulations and, where exemption is not feasible, small business should be subject to a less onerous tier of regulation. Republicans believe the number one priority for small business in America is the achievement of lower business and personal tax rates for small businessmen and women and we intend to work to secure them.

By fostering small business growth, we are promoting permanent private sector solutions to the unemployment problem.

The Nation:  The intent of the Founders, embraced and reflected by succeeding generations of Americans, was that the Central government should perform only those functions which are necessary to preserve order, and do for people only those things which they cannot do for themselves. It is notable as much for what it permits as for what it proscribes. Government must ever be the servant of the nation, not its master.

Big Government:  The Republican Party believes that it is important to develop a growing constituency which recognizes its direct relationship to the health and success of free enterprise, and realizes the negative impact of excessive regulation. Education and involvement in the system are the best means to accomplish this. To this end, we will actively pursue new and expanding opportunities for all Americans to become more directly involved in our free enterprise system.

Government Reorganization:  The Republican Party reaffirms its belief in the decentralization of the federal government and in the traditional American principle that the best government is the one closest to the people. There, it is less costly, more accountable, and more responsive to people’s needs. Our states and localities have the talent, wisdom, and determination to respond to the variety of demands made upon them.

Election Reform:  Republicans support public policies that will promote electoral participation without compromising ballot-box security. We strongly oppose national postcard voter registration schemes because they are an open invitation to fraud. Republicans support public policies that encourage political activity by individual citizens. We support the repeal of those restrictive campaign spending limitations that tend to create obstacles to local grass roots participation in federal elections. We also oppose the proposed financing of Congressional campaigns with taxpayers’ dollars as an effort to protect its incumbent Members of Congress with a tax subsidy.

Energy:  Republicans believe shrinking energy prospects and expanding government regulation and meddling is wholly unnecessary. We believe that the proven American values of individual enterprise can solve our energy problems. They seem to believe not only that we are a nation without resources, but also that we have lost our resourcefulness. Republicans believe in the common sense of the American people rather than a complex web of government controls and interventions that threaten America’s ability to grow. We are committed to an alternative strategy of aggressively boosting the nation’s energy supplies; stimulating new energy technology and more efficient energy use; restoring maximum feasible choice and freedom in the marketplace for energy consumers and producers alike; and eliminating energy shortages and disruptions, which are a roadblock to renewed national economic growth, rising living standards, and a reawakening of the hopes and dreams of the American people for a better and more abundant future.

We believe the United States must proceed on a steady and orderly path toward energy self-sufficiency. But in the interim, our pressing need for insurance against supply disruption should not be made hostage to the whims of foreign governments, as is presently.


Republicans believe that in order to address our energy problem we must maximize our domestic energy production capability. In the short term, therefore, the nation must move forward on all fronts simultaneously, including oil and gas, coal, and nuclear, wind and solar, electric and hybrids. In the longer term, renewable resources must be brought significantly on line to replace conventional sources. Finally, in conjunction with this all-out production initiative, we must strive to maximize conservation and the efficient use of energy.

The return to the traditions that gave vitality and strength to this nation is urgent.

The free world—indeed western civilization—needs a strong United States. That strength requires a prospering economy. That economy will be secure with a vigorous domestic energy industry. That vigor can only be achieved in an atmosphere of freedom, one that encourages individual initiatives and personal resourcefulness.

Environment:  The nature of environmental pollution is such that a government role is necessary to ensure its control and the proper protection of public health. Much progress has been made in achieving the goals of clean air, clean water, and control of toxic wastes. At the same time, we believe that it is imperative that environmental laws and regulations be reviewed and, where necessary, reformed to ensure that the benefits achieved justify the costs imposed. Too often, current regulations are so rigid and narrow that even individual innovations that improve the environment cannot be implemented. We believe, in particular, that regulatory procedures must be reformed to expedite decision making. Endless delay harms both the environment and the economy.

We strongly affirm that environmental protection must not become a cover for a "no-growth" policy and a shrinking economy. Our economy can continue to grow in an acceptable environment.

We believe that agricultural policy should give emphasis to the stewardship of the nation’s soil and water resources. The permanent loss of productive farm land is a growing problem and we encourage states and local communities to adopt policies that help maintain and protect productive agricultural land as a national asset.

Immigration:  Residence in the United States is one of the most precious and valued of conditions. The traditional hospitality of the American people has been severely tested by recent events, but it remains the strongest in the world. Republicans are proud that our people have opened their arms and hearts to strangers from abroad and we favor an immigration and refugee policy which is consistent with this tradition. We believe that to the fullest extent possible those immigrants should be admitted who will make a positive contribution to America and who are willing to accept the fundamental American values and way of life. At the same time, United States immigration and refugee policy must reflect the interests of our national security and economic well-being. Immigration into this country must not be determined solely by foreign governments or even by the millions of people around the world who wish to come to America. The federal government has a duty to adopt immigration laws and follow enforcement procedures which will fairly and effectively implement the immigration policy desired by the American people. We a absolutely against and form of blanket amnesty. 

[Note: It is interesting to realize that Reagan himself granted amnesty, which ultimately encouraged more illegal immigration, showing that he should have stuck to the principles.]

Taxes & Government Spending:  The Republican Party pledges to place limits on federal spending as a percent of the Gross National Product. We pledge to reduce it. If federal spending is reduced as tax cuts are phased in, there will be sufficient budget surpluses to fund the tax cuts, and allow for reasonable growth in necessary program spending.

By increasing economic growth, tax rate reduction will reduce the need for government spending on unemployment, welfare, and public jobs programs. However, the Republican Party will also halt excessive government spending by eliminating waste, fraud, and duplication.

Defense Strategy:  Republicans approve and endorse a national strategy of peace through strength. The foreign policy of the United States should reflect a national strategy of peace through strength. The general principles and goals of this strategy would be:

To inspire, focus, and unite the national will and determination to achieve peace and freedom

To continue overall military and technological superiority

To create a strategic and civil defense which would protect the American people against terrorism and nuclear war.

To accept no arms control agreement which in any way jeopardizes the security of the United States or its allies, or which locks the United States into a position of military inferiority.

To reestablish effective security and intelligence capabilities.

To pursue positive non-military means to roll back the growth of communism, socialism, fascism and terrorism.

To help our aggression and to maintain a strong economy and protect our overseas sources of energy and other vital raw materials.

Our strategy must encompass the levels of force required to deter each level of foresee-able attack and to prevail in conflict in the event deterrence fails. The detailed analysis that must form the intellectual basis for elaboration of such a strategy will be the first priority of a Republican Administration.

Filed under: AbortionConservativeDougEconomics & TaxesEducationEnergyEnvironmentGovernmentMilitaryPoliticsRepublicans

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