So many of my friends here who were life long Republican voters, switched in 2008 for one reason: Sarah Palin who caused many of them not only to vote for Obama but actively campaign for him on the basis that the GOP, the party of Lincoln had finally ‘lost its marbles’. Nothing since then: the rise of the Tea Party and the four remaining Republican Candidates has done anything to shift their views. So I thought it might be interested to lay out one of our Top Ten Conflict Tips on what moderate Republicanism would look like, given we haven’t seen any for a long time and my friends would like some hope.
So what would Ike (President Eisenhower) do?
- Defense: well as he warned in his farewell speech against the power of the ‘military-industrial complex’, I think he would keep very tight reigns on defense spending and might even get us value for money rather than shareholder value for defense stock holders
- Foreign Policy: having experienced a lot of war first hand and knowing how bloody awful it is, his foreign policy would probably be more like Ron Paul than Rick Santorum. ‘Talk softly and carry a big cost effective stick’ as Teddy Roosevelt might have said it. No crusades.
- The Economy: Ike would likely have understood the need for regulation. Conservatives traditionally stood for Hobbes Leviathan keeping order in the world, and I think Ike would have seen Wall Street as needing regulation to avoid future tax payer bail outs. He would place much more emphasis on wealth creation and manufacturing than Republicans or Democrats in recent times.
- Infrastructure. Given Ike created the modern inter-state highway system, I suspect his counter cyclical economic measures would have been infrastructure projects that got us some pay back in terms of renewed infrastructure rather than unemployment pay for nothing
- Healthcare. Ike would not have seen Obamacare as creeping socialism as it is so close to both Romneycare in Massachusetts and what the early 90s Republicans proposed. But he would want to improve it to make it much more cost effective and less of a burden on employers
- Education and Science. Ike presided over a massive increase in government funding scientific research that paid off hugely for private industry as well. He would want to try to solve our most pressing problems by government and private funded rigorous research, and the education to support it. He would not be anti-science.
- Climate Change and the Environment. Given he would see that climate change is a major potential de-stabilizing force in the world, and likely to lead to bloody wars, he would share the Pentagon’s view that it is worth avoiding, even if the science is not 100%, the precautionary principle of conservatism would apply. He would have no time for the GOP ostrich head in the sand approach, though he would be very cost effective in what measures were applied and he would keep his Vice President Nixon’s EPA too as he probably would not want Beijing’s air quality in the US.
- The Deficit. Ike would be realistic enough to realize that taxes have to be raised as well as government spending cut to bridge the government deficit. He would not be ideological on this, but would be tough in cutting spending especially pork and other government waste and he would cut cross party deals to get real reductions fast.
- Immigration. His immigration policy would allow a path to legal citizenship, as proposed once upon a time by both John McCain before the Palin virus got him, and Republican President George W Bush
- Democrats. He would be unlikely to see the Democrats as the anti-Christ and would be willing to negotiate and cut deals in the interests of the country with them, especially to ensure a long term bi-partisan approach to China and get the deficit down fast.
The last moderate Republican President: Dwight ‘Ike’ Eisenhower (1890-1969), who also I don’t think would have been obsessed with what people do in their bedrooms, and would have welcomed anyone into the military who could contribute regardless of sexual orientation.