My weariness for party politics came about midway through my time working for Republican Congressman Bill Sali.
Back when gasoline was $4 a gallon, I remember House Republicans issuing a treatise on high gasoline prices. The fault, the House Republicans said at the time, was those darned Democrats for failing to allow oil drilling offshore and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
It is true that during 2007 and 2008, Democrats controlled Congress, and those Democrats were refusing to consider any legislation that would open up American energy exploration and production. They deserved blame for bottling up oil supply.
But to accept that Democrats alone were responsible for high gas prices, you’d have to conveniently forget the role Republicans played in the moratorium. While in charge of both houses of Congress and the White House, the GOP leadership also failed to take the action necessary to lift those oil drilling bans.
I say all this knowing that there are members of both parties who consider it the ultimate act of loyalty to say nothing that exposes their own party’s failures on issues. This is wrong. If the major political parties have weaknesses, what is the harm in talking about them, addressing them and fixing them?
This summer, I proposed platform modifications for both major political parties in the state. Earlier this month, I suggested that the state Democrats expand their government transparency plank and that they recommend that all government agencies post their expenditures online. I also recommended that the Democrats give written support for parental choice in public education.
For the Republicans, meeting this week in Idaho Falls, I proposed government transparency language in the GOP platform, as well as tax and health care policy proposals.
For me, it’s all about the end result. As long as we have greater freedom, more government transparency and regulatory and tax policies that promote free markets and economic opportunities, I’ll be the first one to stand up and applaud, whichever party wants to include those principles in their platforms.
I hear a lot of gibberish in the legacy news media these days speculating about the viability of one political party or another. “Will Republicans embrace conservatives or support the Tea Party? Are Democrats supportive enough of the Left? Will a third party emerge and replace them all?”
Ultimately, who cares? I’m worried about the future of our country, the geometric disemboweling of the U.S. Constitution, debt being piled onto our kids and grandkids, the usurpation of liberty and freedom in order to satisfy the latest statist agenda.
My hope is that both major parties will embrace public policies that lead to greater freedom and liberty. If not, that’s their tough luck, because we’re not in this fight to save the “party.” We’re in it to save the Republic, and that’s what matters most of all.