Let the last Republican debate be about freedom

Tony Lee wrote a great preview of tonight’s Arizona debate, and what each of the four candidates are looking to accomplish, in what will probably be their last appearance together on the debate stage.  I would add a simple request.  I want them to talk about freedom.

Freedom lies at the heart of what the 2012 election is all about.  This is likely to be our final opportunity to embrace and insist upon meaningful economic freedom.  If Barack Obama is re-elected, and the ObamaCare tumor hardens, the relationship between Americans and their government changes forever… and it will grow much worse from here.  Whether it was deliberately designed to do so or not, ObamaCare ends with the demise of private medicine.  The State’s ownership of our bodies will become much more apparent once that happens.  So will our inability to ever contemplate returning to the “center-right” nation of yore.

Rick Santorum has some freedom issues to address.  He’s been talking about the limits of freedom a lot.  He deserves credit for his sincerity and refusal to be bullied by hostile media coverage.  Now I want to hear him talk about the urgent need for American economic liberty, and exactly what steps he will take to restore it to us.  He’s dedicated to the repeal of ObamaCare, which is good.  We need to hear about his plans to do more than merely return us to where George Bush left us.

Mitt Romney has been too unwilling to shake up the post-Obama landscape.  He’s working up a new economic plan.  His old one talked about “maintaining current tax rates.”  But as Jimmie Bise at the Sundries Shack reminds us, Romney also said that “if all you’re thinking about doing is cutting spending, as you cut spending you’ll slow down the economy… so you have to, at the same time, create pro-growth tax policies.”  Well, you can’t do that by “maintaining” our current growth-strangling tax system.  We need more than just a vague promise to slow down the future growth of the Obama government. 

Romney must present his ideas as more than a few bullet points.  We need to hear the big picture.  We need to know that Romney understands exactly what has been done wrong, not just over the past three years, but over the past seven decades.  We can’t just rewind the statist doomsday clock by a couple of years, and hope the second coming of Reagan awaits in 2016 or 2020.  We need more than just a growth plan that might goose our GDP enough to hold the national debt at $16 trillion.

We’re one election away from that “transformation” Obama promised.  In that sense, his re-election campaign is entirely honest.  He needs four more years to finish the job.  Give him four more years, and he will.  The stakes have not always seemed clear on previous debate stages.  Now, at the last debate, they must be made plain.  We don’t need a thirty percent discount on Obamanomics, a bridge back to the summer of 2009, or more responsible programming for the machinery Obama built.  We don’t need concessions to any aspect of the policies that are killing us, or the twisted moral imperatives behind them.  I don’t want to know what the new and improved Republican version of Solyndra looks like. 

I don’t need platitudes or boilerplate.  I want to hear about freedom, and how every one of its incarnations – economic, religious, intellectual – radiates from the same glorious source.  None of them is a gift from the State, to be taken back when the ruling class sees fit.  None can endure for long without the others.  None is a coin redeemable for benefits, when the burden of freedom becomes difficult to carry.  What rights did the Constitution give you?  None.  It merely recognized the rights you already have.  I say that the attempt to strip us of those rights has been an abject failure, not years but generations in the making.  It is power that has failed, not freedom.  I want to learn how our next President will destroy power in the name of freedom.

This is it, candidates.  Make it count.