What is success and what is failure? We do not succeed when we win offices and keep them. We succeed when we can govern well, when government’s a gently guiding hand and not a foot that presses down on us, as government has certainly become, and threatens worse things still. Let’s put things in perspective. We say Franklin Roosevelt was a socialist when he presided over such a small and unobtrusive government which only made up six percent of GDP, and then we turn around, proclaim ourselves to be supporters of free markets with a government which uses forty percent of our GDP. A government Republicans presided over. Where’s the smaller government Republicans have promised us? Republicans took over Congress and the Presidency and turned into Democrats. The government was ours, and so we took the money and the power, never looking back. We won the Congress on the promises of Gingrich that we would shrink government, be different from the Democrats. We lost the Congress when, with Dennis Hastert, we became like Democrats, and spent like Democrats, and grew the government like Democrats. The public looked at us and looked at them, decided we were both the same, and went with them because at least they spoke the truth about the way they’d spend and grow the government. And then we chose a man to run for President whose ideology was that of what has failed us with both Bushes, Hastert, Dole, and Nixon. These are leaders who supported economic theories which have failed and failed again, especially the economic theory of John Maynard Keynes. His theories gave us terrible economies, inflation, and high deficits – stagflation in the seventies we blamed on Carter, who deserved the blame for stupidly continuing with policies which failed with Ford and Nixon. Reagan, after all, first ran against Ford, then he ran against the failing policies of Carter. Reagan’s policies succeeded, so we then rewarded them by voting in a man who brought us back to Nixon’s policies. We made the right decision once again with Gingrich, but then blindly chose to grasp to power without understanding how we got it. Market policies are what have worked. Throw out your Keynes and read your Hayek, Mises, Friedman, Adam Smith. Believe in markets, not big businesses. Support a system that has proven every time to work, when tried. Reject ideas that failed us. Republicans must stand for more than merely cutting taxes. We must have a full, coherent message if we want to win. And more, we must believe the things we say, which means that we must do the things we say we’ll do. If we believe in smaller government, then we must cut the budget – not just cut the growth we’ve built into our budgets. Zero-baseline budgeting is but a start. We have to then begin to cut, beginning with the subsidies which only help our donors and those engaging in bad business practices. And speaking of supporting failing business practices, the ones who voted not to spend the seven hundred billion dollars on the bailout voted to support reality in economics. Let the failures fail so better people can move in. But those who voted first against it and then voted for it when some money came their way exposed themselves for what they are: corrupt. Such people have to go. But only if we want a vibrant party. Such a party stands on principle and for reality. We win when we don’t try to win by being pragmatists. We won whenever we have stood for principles, for what is right, for liberty. We’ll win again if we can offer more than tax cuts as a way to separate ourselves from Democrats. But in the meantime, government just builds and builds in size. We should support a sunset law for every law we pass – if any law’s worth having, it’s worth voting for again each decade. Thus we can get rid of laws that we no longer need. Now, John McCain was right to stand against the use of earmarks, but we must go further. If a bill’s work voting for, then it should stand alone. No packaging of bills – let each stand on its merit. These are real, effective ways to stop the growth of government. We need coherent economic, international, and social policies which both address the world in its complexity, but which are easy for the general public to then understand. If you cannot explain whatever laws you want to pass, then you don’t understand them, either, and you have no business passing them. And, finally, we have to ask ourselves just why we want to win. If it is just so we have power, then we don’t deserve it and won’t get it. If, however, we want power so we can bring liberty to individuals once again, if we want power so our markets can be free so average people have real opportunities to have success, if we want power so America is once again a beacon to the world of what is best and possible and true, then we will win and, more, we will deserve to win.