Tips for a Red State Uprising

President Obama recently asked the growing Tea Party movement its plans for turning the country around.

But all Obama had to do is leaf through Red State Uprising: How to Take Back America for tips Tea Partiers would heartily endorse.

The new book, by co-authors Erick Erickson and Lewis K. Uhler, details the hard choices needed to steer the country back from the economic brink.

Red State Uprising spends plenty of time blasting Obama for his economic policy blunders, but the book starts by taking Republicans to task for abandoning their core conservative values. It all started with President George W. Bush’s ill-fated nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, the “first visible break between conservatives and Republicans,” the book recalls.

Bank and auto bailouts followed, leaving conservatives worried their favored party had become reliably conservative only on social issues. A true conservative would battle earmarks to the bitter end, but today’s GOP members rarely blush when including them in legislation.

“Republican leaders in Washington, like their Democratic colleagues, have developed a profound sense of their own righteousness and infallibility,” they write. And whenever a true conservative tried rising up the ranks, the GOP establishment threw their weight behind their more moderate—and sometimes liberal—members.

That leads us to Obama, who in his first year in office passed the stimulus bill that would define wasteful spending while ballooning the welfare state. Obamacare simply added to the financial house of ruins, making it harder for businesses to stay afloat without cutting employees and stores while passing on new costs to consumers.

The one-two legislative punch has left more people dependent on the government than ever before, hardly a way to instill choice and freedom in the populace.

To understand why Obama pursues these policies requires an examination of his hard-left past. His radical connections jump-started his political career in Chicago, and his ascension to the highest office in the land wouldn’t be possible without the community organizing group ACORN, they write. Along the way, Obama used the tactics of hard-left hero Saul Alinsky to grease the wheels of his political career.

The country’s current tax woes didn’t start with Obama, though. While the nation’s first rallying cry, “taxation without representation” forged the country’s fighting spirit, those tax burdens can’t compare to the load citizens have today. Today’s American works longer each year to pay for the government than the medieval serfs did for their feudal lords.

“High taxes are not the price we pay for a free society; they are a threat to a free society and personal liberty,” the authors warn.

The country’s staggering debt poses another threat to both liberty and economic freedom. This year’s $3.7 trillion budget doesn’t even include the unintended consequences of Obamacare, and the explosion of the federal debt. That kills jobs, but so will Obama’s plan to raise taxes in order to address the deficit nightmare.
The “Invasion of the Money Snatchers” chapter looks at how government programs like food stamps expand beyond their original vision while failing to address the issues in question. Bureaucracy has a way of setting down roots and protecting itself against attacks in the form of special interest groups and various forms of lobbying.

Politicians also get in the way of meaningful reform, attaching themselves to pet causes and using all of their clout to keep them alive.

“To many members, spending is their job,” they write.

Social Security is another example of an entitlement program that spread well beyond its stated goals. When first enacted, the legislation required 42 workers for every Social Security recipient. Today, that number has been whittled down to three. Rep. Paul Ryan (R.-Wis.) is offering a plan to make Social Security leaner and more economically viable, but it’s hard to imagine an Obama Administration embracing such practical, tough-love solutions.

Red State Uprising ends with a checklist of smaller government initiatives which can restore fiscal sanity within a 10-year span. That won’t happen if the Tea Party becomes an official third party. The country exists as a two-party system, and an attempt to change that will simply splinter conservatives.

Downsizing government may sound impossible, but Red State Uprising argues it’s not only feasible but it’s been done in other countries. Twenty five nations in recent times have adopted a flat-tax system with positive results, while other countries have curtailed spending with dramatic results.

Republicans need to use these case studies to sell the virtues of a smaller, more efficient government to the masses. It’s a healing process that won’t happen overnight, although the medicine can start taking effect with a conservative landslide in the November elections.