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04.06.2011 0

Triumph and Not Unity in 2012

By David Bozeman – Will Republicans ever learn?

A little seen commercial from 2008 has resurfaced, featuring then-governors Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Janet Napolitano of Arizona (now head of Homeland Security) and Charlie Crist of Florida (soundly defeated in his US Senate bid by Marco Rubio) urging Congress to take action on global warming. The competent but charisma-deficient Pawlenty remarked that our current energy policies are “unsustainable” and concluded with a plea to “cap greenhouse gas pollution now.”

Another potential 2012 contender, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, toured briefly in 2009 with Al Sharpton to promote education reform, also filming commercials to promote improvement in what Sharpton called “a civil right.” Gingrich even praised President Obama’s courage in pursuing greater choice in education — interesting, by the way, given that Democrats nixed funding for school choice in the District of Columbia, and that the status of education in America has changed little, if at all, since 2009.

But the notion persists that Americans are clamoring for a unifier, thus politicians of every stripe are tripping over one another, casting aside clarity and conviction in a pursuit that has become a civic ritual, and a nauseating one at that. Republicans, typically not favored by the press, lay it on thick, naively believing that if they are nice to the Democrats and the media, the other side will return the favor, and peace, love and bi-partisan harmony will reign.

Strategically, however, joining forces with hucksters and incompetents lends them a degree of respectability that your side necessarily loses. Blurring the ideological divides with such tripe as ‘unity’ and ‘civility’ tends to favor liberals who enact their agendas incrementally over many years. By contrast, the ‘draconian cuts’ of which Republicans are routinely accused of proposing require a message that is bold, concise and unfiltered by pretense, ceremonial gesture and nuance.

But Republicans never learn. During the last State of the Union address, both sides broke the tradition of seating according to party, and Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn found himself sitting beside New York Democrat Chuck Schumer.

Yes, when I think unity I think of Chuck Schumer, who was recently heard on a conference call (when he thought no reporters were listening) recommending that his party tie the Republicans to the “extremist” tea-partiers in the ongoing budget battle. Just makes you want to go out and hug Michael Moore, now doesn’t it?

Generally speaking, of course, Americans are craving a leader, someone willing to define America’s defining attributes, among which are freedom and fortitude. Americans are uninspired by the sanitized, politically-correct finishing school chit-chat that passes for mainstream discourse and want someone to defeat the enemies of freedom and not just get along with them.

True leadership realizes that not all ideologies and belief systems are compatible and that words and concepts, such as ‘American exceptionalism’ convey specific meaning and purpose outside of desperate attempts by Democrat presidents to appear Reagan-esque.

Unity can be a noble thing but not as an end in itself. One can unite with anyone, no matter how wrong they are, to their own detriment. The ultimate end we should pursue is the freedom and security of America, regardless of the friction or hurt feelings caused along the way.

David Bozeman, former Libertarian Party Chairman, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.

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