What’s Right: The Right Choice?

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John Lyon

As a card-carrying Republican for as long as I can remember, I wish I could say that I am excited about the rising tide for the GOP in 2010. I badly want to believe in the Republican Party this year, especially because the opposing Democrats seem to be getting more and more oppressive by the day. It seems that the Republicans, bolstered by the impassioned and surprisingly diverse Tea Party movement, are more deserving of my support than ever before. Yet there is something that makes me uneasy about these right-wing candidates. Sure, I agree with their general sentiment that the government, particularly under Democratic leadership, is encroaching too far into our daily lives. The zeal and radicalism shown by these Tea Party candidates, however, will only translate into more change, more legislation and more government. While the alternatives of Democrats and moderate Republicans are wholly unappealing, the right wing will not bring the answer to the real problems of big government facing the nation.

The Republicans’ chances in the 2010 races are an exciting prospect for any American conservative. The GOP needs 39 seats to regain a majority in the House of Representatives. Recent reports indicate that 68 Democratic House seats are at “substantial risk” for loss to Republican challengers, while there are only 10 Republican House seats at risk in this year’s race. Many of the seats are projected to fall into the hands of conservative Republican challengers, meaning that the election will not merely be a transfer from the moderate left to the moderate right. On the Senate side, there are multiple young right-wing candidates, including Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida, who appear poised for victory. It appears that the Democrats will retain their majority in the Senate, but their margin will likely be very slim and subject to loss in the 2012 election. From a pragmatic perspective, those who support low taxes and low spending should support some form of Republican Congressional majority in 2010.

The Republicans are not the answer to all of our economic problems, but the combination of a Republican Congress and a Democratic President might provide a solution. The best economic conditions occur when a Democratic President and Republican Congress lock horns. Democratic Presidents will not sign off on any spending bill by the opposition party, but he will be unwilling to risk his political skin and veto the tax cuts that Republicans are certain to pass. As a result, Congress spends no money, lowers taxes and effectively reduces the size of government and stimulates the economy. This situation occurred when the Republicans took over Congress opposite President Bill Clinton in 1994, and a similar scenario will occur with Republican triumph in 2010.  

Despite the promise of principled conservative leadership and economic recovery with a 2010 Republican victory, I am still apprehensive. The moral tones and radical zeal of the right wing are disenchanting. The right has made promises to restore the moral fabric of American society and rescue the country from tyranny. These guarantees should be treated with skepticism, as promises of “restoration” in government often lead to more laws and less freedom. Take Carl Paladino, for example. He is running as a right-wing Republican candidate for Governor of New York against moderate Rick Lazio and Democrat Andrew Cuomo.

Paladino, a Buffalo real estate developer, has been an ardent critic of the corruption in the bloated New York State government. Beneath Paladino’s crusader veneer, however, he is just as amoral and power-hungry as the rest of them.

Paladino proved his disregard for common morality by being unfaithful to his wife and fathering a child through an extramarital affair with an employee. Paladino also shows that he is willing to extend government beyond its constitutional limits by promising to use New York State’s power of eminent domain to seize the property for the planned mosque at Ground Zero. While many are morally ambivalent about the construction of such a mosque, anyone who supports basic freedom should be appalled when the government attempts to confiscate private property in order to prohibit the free exercise of religion. The right to private property and the right to free exercise of religion are fundamental guarantees in this nation. The fact that Paladino is willing to take away these rights shows that he and conservative Republicans in general are willing to extend their power as far as possible.  

In most races, Democrats and moderate Republicans present no redeeming qualities that might persuade a centrist or Republican voter to support them. Although conservative Republicans seem to be attracting the broadest bases of support, their motives are just as questionable as their liberal counterparts. These Congressional and Gubernatorial candidates, regardless of party affiliation, only care about themselves.  The voters’ only real hope now is to condemn corrupt candidates and have faith that our democratic system of gridlock will work as well as it has for the last 200 years.