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The Next Conservatism: Restoring the Republic

Tuesday, 30 August 2005 12:00 AM

In my view, restoring the American republic needs to be a central part of the next conservatism. As the Founding Fathers understood, we cannot both seek empire and preserve liberty. Our liberties are only safe in the hands of a republic, a limited government with limited objectives, responsive to the American people, not just to the Washington Establishment and special interests with lots of money.

The next conservatism cannot content itself with calls for reform. It has to propose, and implement, specific reforms. Some of the reforms that I think could open the political system back up to the people include:

Along with term limits, we should prevent legislators (and their wives) from working as lobbyists, where too often they "cash in" for interests they helped while in Congress. And we should limit the length of congressional sessions, so members of Congress spend most of the year back home, not in Washington.

One way to do that might be allow challengers to spend several times as much money on their campaigns as incumbents. It is much easier for incumbents to get free media attention, and the government subsidizes incumbents, to the tune of $2 million for each congressman, with regional offices, staffs, mailings and so on. Allowing the challenger to spend more would reduce the incumbent's unfair advantage.

We also need to find a way to prevent one member of the New Class, a judge, from overturning the people's will in the form of a referendum outcome just because he disagrees with it.

I am sure that as the next conservatism develops, other conservatives will come up with more ideas, possibly better than these. But the next conservatism must make restoring the republic a priority. I don't want to pass a tawdry, corrupt, oppressive empire on to my grandchildren as their heritage.

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In my view, restoring the American republic needs to be a central part of the next conservatism. As the Founding Fathers understood, we cannot both seek empire and preserve liberty. Our liberties are only safe in the hands of a republic, a limited government with limited...
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Tuesday, 30 August 2005 12:00 AM
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