This column is archived at http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com/c2006/cbarchive_20061110.html
The elections of last Tuesday surprised no one. Most people saw the handwriting on the wall for a Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives. As for the Senate, it is almost impossible to tell the difference between Democrats and Republicans, so who controls the gavel is of little consequence.
As I said before in this column, the GOP deserved to lose this election. Under President George W. Bush, the Republican Party has become little more than a carbon copy of the Democratic Party. Therefore, voters concluded, "Why settle for phonies when one can have the genuine article?"
As the Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, president of Human Life International, said, "If the Republican Party truly wants to know why they lost, they need only look in the mirror. The most vulnerable seats in both houses were those held by politicians who had abandoned the pro-life and the pro-marriage principles that first brought them to power."
As an example of the GOP's neglect to fight for conservative principles, Euteneuer noted the loss of pro-life legislation in South Dakota. He correctly said, "While South Dakotans fought valiantly to defend their babies, we once again witnessed an almost total lack of support from the national [Republican] leadership."
Euteneuer is right. George Bush's neocons have all but decimated whatever genuine conservatism remained in the GOP, and they did it on the backs of the faithful conservatives still in the party.
There is also no question that the American people are fed up with Bush's war in Iraq. They are tired of being lied to about why our young men and women were sent to war, and they are tired about being lied to about why they are still there.
There is little that MSNBC's Chris Matthews says that I agree with, but he said something election night that I believe is profoundly true, and it's something that I haven't heard any other media spokesman repeat. He said (paraphrased), "By invading and occupying Iraq, President Bush asked conservatives to do something that is completely against their nature: he asked them to support a war of interventionism. So, this vote was not a vote for liberalism, it was a vote where conservatives and independents came home." That statement by Chris Matthews is brilliantly astute and accurate.
Real conservatives resent compromising their convictions. They resent being asked to support a war that appears to be fought for Bush's own personal reasons rather than for the good of the country. This war has all the earmarks of commercial expansionism, which is not worth the life of one U.S. soldier, much less nearly 3,000. And the American people said as much last Tuesday.
That President Bush has fired Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld signals a significant policy reversal for Bush. As late as the day before the election, Bush said emphatically that Rumsfeld would stay until the end of his term. But the day after Democrats seized the House, Rumsfeld was fired.
It does not take the gift of prophecy to predict that Rumsfeld's successor, Robert Gates, will almost certainly assent to some form of an American troop withdrawal from Iraq. The Republican Party now understands that if the war in Iraq continues as it is into 2008, the GOP will be murdered at the polls, and the Democratic nominee (whoever he or she is) would most certainly win the White House. In other words, President Bush and Republicans are about to engage in the biggest "cut and run" strategy you have ever seen.
In addition, one should know that a part of the Republican Party's "cut and run" strategy will also involve a further retreat from conservative principles. I, here and now, predict that the GOP nominee for president in 2008 will most definitely be a pro-choice "moderate" who will enthusiastically embrace the Bush/Pelosi doctrine of open borders and amnesty for illegal aliens, as well as Bush's goal of establishing a North American Union. I also predict that he will most certainly endorse civil unions for same-sex couples.
Yet, the real question is, "What will conservatives and constitutionalists do in 2008?" By then, it will be completely clear to people of faith and supporters of constitutional government that neither the Republican nor Democratic candidate for president remotely represents them. Indeed, what will they do?
I believe that it is absolutely essential to our future and to the preservation of our form of government and way of life that a major third party quickly appear. It is time for Christian ministers and conservative leaders to get some backbone and take a stand. This pathetic loyalty to the GOP for some "lesser of two evils" mantra is so utterly bankrupt that only the most apathetic lackey could continue to embrace it.
The American people must have a constitutional option. We must have a political vehicle by which conservative, constitutional principles can be transported to public debate and policy. It is time to forget the Republican Party. It is time to forget business as usual. In fact, it is time to forget the traditional two-party system. A constitutionally-oriented third party must emerge. And it must emerge in time for the 2008 elections.
I challenge Alan Keyes to lead the charge. I challenge Pat Buchanan to lead the charge. I challenge Joe Scarborough to lead the charge. I challenge Phyllis Schlafly to lead the charge. I challenge Charley Reese to lead the charge. I challenge Ron Paul and Tom Tancredo to lead the charge. I challenge Jerry Falwell, D. James Kennedy, James Dobson and John Hagee to lead the charge. I challenge my preacher-brethren to lead the charge. We need the Black Regiment. We need conservative libertarians. We need constitutionalists of both major parties.
Republicans come and go. Democrats come and go. Little changes. We need a spiritual revival in our churches, and we need a revival of constitutional government in Washington, D.C. The former will take courageous, independent preachers. The latter will take a courageous, independent party. I'm ready for one. Aren't you?