Freedom, Fairness and the Election

April 16, 2012

It’s not enough for Mitt Romney and other Republican candidates this year to talk about how precious our freedoms are. Unfortunately, they’re going to have to educate voters on what kind of freedom they’re talking about, how that freedom is slipping away, and why it’s so important to defeat the true enemies of freedom this fall. By the way, they need to do the same with the shopworn term “fairness.”

President Obama and his minions would have the public believe that Republicans are the true enemies of freedom, for women in particular but also minorities, seniors, the young, and so forth. If I had a dime for every time I heard the preface, “Republicans want to take away your…..(fill in the blank),” I’d have a war chest of my own to run for office. First, the preface is a lie that sets up a whole narrative that is based on lies and false premises. Second, much of what the liberals claim is liberating in fact brings shackles along with it—the shackles of ever-increasing government control over our lives. People are literally trading freedom for bread and security, and are either oblivious or simply don’t care.

The fairness issue is (or at least should be) even more of a slam dunk. First, who gets to define what is truly “fair” regarding taxes just as an example? Is a 30 percent rate for the “rich” not enough, too much, or just right? And what income level should be the threshold for identifying one as “rich?” A million dollars annually? Half a million? A quarter million? Second, is it better to be “fair” regarding equality of opportunity, or equality of outcomes? In the America in which I was raised, the answer was obvious. Today, not so much. But Mitt Romney and many other Republican candidates are walking, talking examples of the power of equal opportunity in this country and how far one can go with it, and they need to unabashedly preach this very important part of America’s exceptionalism.

In fact, let me illustrate a real case of unfairness that will exist after the upcoming election regardless of who wins. And this one gives the lie to the argument many on our side are making that it’s all right to lose the presidency as long as we pick up the Senate and retain the House, because then Obama’s worst impulses can be “reined in.” Seriously?

What this argument ignores is the president’s already all-too-frequent end-arounds of Congress via executive orders. But beyond that, the real 500-pound gorilla in the room is the vast bureaucracy—from the un-vetted “czars” and cabinet officers on down to the clerks—of left-of-center minions who are only too glad to do Obama’s bidding. Or alternatively, they would stand ready to thwart any effort by a President Romney or a Republican Congress to undo any of the damage of the last three-plus years. This bureaucracy has been built up over time, certainly more so by Democrat presidents who favor expanded government, and those who gravitate toward government service tend to be more liberal than conservative in outlook. All this has ultimately created what conservative talker Mike Church refers to as “Morador on the Potomac,” and rightly so. Why would entrenched government officials ever support a Republican president who was literally, in their view, gunning for their jobs and shrinking their power?

Given this scenario, it’s easy to conclude that what’s the use? Even if Romney wins and the Republicans gain the Senate, then what? Well, the X factor is going to be how well Romney can use the bully pulpit to bypass the media and the bureaucracy and take his case to the people. And he might as well start learning how to do that now if he wants to have a decent chance of occupying that large white house come next January. Not only that, let’s hope that he’s as “unfair” to Obama as he’s certainly been to his Republican opponents in this primary season.

Copyright ©2012 Phil Perkins