The election of Republican governors across the country, particularly in northeastern Democratic states, is striking. There have been Republican governors elected before in blue states pursuant to specific circumstances that existed in such states at the time. But it is virtually unprecedented for governors to be elected on a national basis in several states for the same reason. A citizen votes for a member of Congress to debate the issues and, in reference to a particular philosophy, determine policy. They elect a Governor or a President to be a chief executive charged to make decisions, as a CEO, based upon the situation at the time, to solve problems rather than debate. In other words, to make decisions and lead.
What do I mean by “this is deeper than repudiation”? The American public heard, understood, and rejected the policies of liberals at the national level. They have come to the conclusion that what Democrats propose will not work. They turned to Republican governors to make decisions to affect change and produce action, even though they do not know exactly what Republicans are recommending or are going to do. If this was just repudiation of the President, then more Democratic governors would have been elected in the national election. It is important to remember that the general public has only a 25% approval rating of both parties. Eighty percent of the American public believes that the United States is on the wrong track. They voted Republican because they have come to the conclusion that liberal programs have not and will not work. Therefore, they made the choice that it is better to give a Republican governor a chance to lead than to remain in the status quo and tread water in the wrong-track channels.
An opportunity now exists to engage the public in a conversation. What is missing in the debate is the continuum of principles. What do we believe on which we base our decisions? What are the overriding absolutes that guide us and differentiate us from past failures of history and statehood? Do we believe in freedom and the right of the individual to pursue happiness as dictated by their God-given talents and gifts? Do we believe in the Constitution and the Federation that it establishes between the Federal government and the Sovereign states? It is important that Republicans explain to the American people who they believe we are and upon what foundations our country was formed. They must explain what principles they hold dear to maintain for the generations.
Let me suggest an outline for discussion centered on four basic pillars of principles. These would become the support for government action based upon principles, and in turn, determining priorities that require policy to implement those priorities. The four pillars are the Constitution, economics, government facilitation, and foreign policy.
Three axioms of the Constitution include: individuals have rights superior to all levels of government - citizens are not subjects and birth is not destiny; states have reserved rights over the federal government; the government exists to facilitate the policy desired by the people. The purpose of the Constitution is to provide and maintain the rule of law, due process, independent courts, a free & independent press, and transparency.
Three axioms of economic principles include: the government debt should never exceed 100% of GDP - optimum debt would be 70% of GDP; the percent of the population depending on government for direct primary support should never exceed 10%; and, 90% of the population should pay some minimal amount of tax or contribute to the general revenue, even if their income is from welfare support.
Three axioms of government facilitation include: the city is the primary unit of political authority, states are made up of cities, the nation as a federation is made up of states; localism, including churches, are critical in meeting society’s needs; and, the government’s purpose is to implement policy which meets society’s priorities based upon proven principles.
Five axioms of foreign policy include: rule of law, due process, independent courts, free and independent press, and transparency. These five axioms are what the United States should be promoting to help foster governments’ prosperity and build a positive relationship with our foreign partners. Therefore, the purpose of foreign policy is to establish these five principles worldwide.
The foundation upon which the four pillars stand is made up of the substance of individual character and responsibility of the citizens. The elements of sound character and individual integrity include: stated values, attention to the environment, commitment, service, accountability, discipline, and care for others. This foundation, through the support of the four pillars of principles, covered by a roof of freedom and a belief that we should treat others as we want to be treated, establishes a structure for society for the ages.
The overall purpose of the Great American Experiment is to provide freedom to individuals. Nothing trumps this principle.
Let’s take a look at how a government policy should be decided based upon a priority resulting from a principle. The United States can buy oil on the open market, but we would advocate the building of the Keystone Pipeline. Why? Because it allows for energy independence, creates jobs, and generates revenue for the federal and state governments. This helps in keeping the government debt below 100% of GDP and allows the United States to implement a foreign policy based upon principles rather than needs. The opposition to the pipeline may be based on protection of the environment. This must be considered in reference to priorities. Yet, that political position is not generated from the four pillars of principles. In addition, this type of debate allows the American public to make decisions based upon principles that they hold tantamount, allowing for choice and final decision making.
The point of the exercise is that you cannot make a decision about government policy until you know the overriding principles in which you believe. You then set your priorities as in this case the Keystone Pipeline versus the environment on those principles and then one supports government policy to implement the priority determined.
It is now critical that the Republican party manifest leadership that produces real results for the prosperity of the American people - progress that they can feel and measure. It doesn’t have to be radical change. They can start with passing legislation to allow for the Keystone Pipeline and to abolish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. These could be non-partisan issues promoted for the economic well-being and energy independence for the United States of America.
It is imperative that we, as an American public, establish the debate on what we understand unalienable rights to be. As we seek solutions together in the 2016 presidential campaign forum, this is of ultimate importance if we are to determine what principles we believe and how those principles determine priorities and policy. Without establishing principles, this election will be just another turn in the cycle of non-determinative electoral contests. If new leadership can define culturally who we are as Americans, by codifying principles resulting in liberty and freedom, then this last election cycle and the next will be a turning point in our history.
My name is Marc Nuttle and this is what I believe.
What do you believe?