Whether we have Democrats like Barack Obama or Republicans like George W. Bush in the White House, one thing seems clear: America is stuck between big government/big spending progressives and big government/big spending evangelicals, leaving small government libertarians and fiscal conservatives like me stuck in the middle.
Despite that fact that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has won the clear majority of presidential primaries thus far, now putting him halfway in the delegate count to clinching the nomination, mainstream media reporters and political pundits are constantly claiming that Romney is having difficulty closing the deal with “the base.”
I disagree. The silent majority of Americans – fiscal conservatives and foreign policy hawks who support sound economics and strong national security – are making Mitt Romney their choice for president. They’ve had enough of progressives and evangelicals expanding government’s reach and bankrupting us all in the process.
Progressives believe government is the answer to all of America’s problems, and thus, there’s no limit to what government should run and regulate. Liberal Democrats have staunchly supported and passed legislation for government to regulate everything from education and health care to energy and finance. Keynesian economists believe big government social engineering policies can lower unemployment and fund cradle to grave entitlements, and look to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Great Society,” and Europe’s socialistic models as examples to follow. Big spending needs revenues to support it, so progressives will do anything from raising tax rates to printing money to maintain these high levels of spending, and aren’t alarmed at rising inflation, unsustainable entitlement programs, or that the federal debt has now eclipsed our entire GDP, leading to a credit rating downgrade.
While evangelicals claim to support small government, spending cuts, and strict Constitutionalism, actions speak louder than words (for some of us anyway). Social conservative Republicans want to use big government to force unwanted pregnancies, regulate who can and cannot get married, and determine what instructors can and cannot be teaching in schools. They want to amend the Constitution to ban everything from abortion and stem cell research to gay marriage and pornography. And while many may favor lowering taxes, the “compassionate conservatives” of the 2000s did not follow up tax cuts with spending cuts, entitlement reform, or balanced budgets.
In last week’s edition of “Keeping Up with the Keynesians,” I detailed how the big government/big spending policies of the both the Bush and Obama administrations have now added almost $10 trillion to our national debt in less than 12 years. The silent majority of America does not support these reckless spending policies. They punished the Republicans for these actions in the 2006 and 2008 elections, and then punished the Democrats in the 2010 election for the same reason: They don’t want special interests using big government to control society. The silent majority wants to be left alone.
Unfortunately, there seems to be plenty of people on both sides interested in increasing government to advance their own agendas, rather than limiting its powers and spending sprees. These special interest groups maintain their presence and influence all year long and have been successful in getting big government progressives or evangelicals elected during the primaries.
But the silent majority is catching on. They’ve had all the “hope and change” they can handle and are now looking for a new direction. What I can’t understand is why some Republicans would go back to the same policies that pissed off the silent majority in 2006 and 2008. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum was a rank-and-file evangelical Republican, who supported and voted for each and every big government/big spending piece of legislation enacted under Bush. Progressives and evangelicals like Obama and Santorum are career politicians who made a living off of expanding government and jacking up spending ten-fold.
However, the silent majority looks at Romney and sees something different. They see someone who cut his teeth in the private sector for 25 years instead of government, and was quite successful at it too. In his one term in public office, he was able to cut spending by $1.6 billion and balance the budget without raising taxes, which lowered unemployment, turned a $3 billion deficit into a $700 million surplus, and gave his state a credit rating upgrade. That’s exactly what the silent majority is looking for, and that’s why Romney has won more than half the primaries in 2012 and collected 568 delegates for the convention in August.
Romney sees exactly what this country needs in Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R – Wisc.) fiscally conservative budget proposal. It is a bold, refreshing plan that cuts spending by $5.3 trillion, tackles entitlement reform, and puts America on a path to balance the budget by 2040. It is why Romney has come out in strong support of it on the campaign trail. Ryan himself has publicly stated his confidence that Romney will enact his budget into law if elected President.
You may be asking yourself, “If it’s small government the silent majority wants, why not vote for Rep. Ron Paul (R – Texas)?” The answer, I believe, is because the silent majority is made up of both fiscal conservatives and foreign policy hawks. The silent majority wants to maintain global military superiority. They do not want to adapt an isolationist foreign policy, which is what they see Ron Paul’s views as. And while both liberal pacifists as well as libertarian isolationists may agree that defense spending should be cut drastically, the silent majority has already seen defense spending fall from 56.8% of the federal budget to 19.6% over the last 50 years, and thus does not hold further cuts as a high priority.
The silent majority does not have a political ax to grind. All they want is a productive economy and strong national security so they can make money, feel safe, and go home at the end of the day without being bothered by some far left progressive or far right evangelical using big government to tell them what to do with their money or their personal lives.