Reagan’s “Big Tent” is still a political winner

By Tom Quiner

Divide and conquer through phony identity politics.

That’s what the carton above so cleverly lampoons.

Republicans should take a lesson from Ronald Reagan and promote an inclusive, “big tent” vision for America, not the divide and conquer approach employed by president Obama and his party.

Whether one is black, white, purple, straight, crooked, faithful, or faithless, Republican free market solutions will serve you and our nation best.

High tax, huge regulations, and government takeovers have proven themselves to be a bust.

Ronald Reagan said to Republicans back in 1967:

Ronald Reagan knew how to unite Americans

“Fortunately for those millions of concerned citizens, we too had paused to take inventory.  We discovered we could no longer afford the luxury of internal fighting, backbiting and throat-cutting.  We discovered our philosophical difference with those presently in power was greater than any grudge or split within our own ranks.  We’re ready and in position to offer an alternative for those concerned citizens who wanted to join with others, not to win a contest, but to preserve a way of life.”

Mr. Obama and his minions want to transform our way of life into a secularized European style social democracy, complete with economic, moral, and spiritual stagnation.

If you want robust economic growth, freedom of religion, and a more just and moral society, look to the conservative principles that have served this nation so well, said Mr. Reagan. We must extend our arms to all:

“We must keep the door open – offering our party as the only practical answer for those who, overall, are individualists.  And because this is the great common denominator – this dedication to the belief in man’s aspirations as an individual – we cannot offer them a narrow sectarian party in which all must swear allegiance to prescribed commandments.”

Mr. Reagan was clear that Republicans can’t be too narrow in their rhetoric:

“Such a party can be highly disciplined, but it does not win elections.  This kind of party soon disappears in a blaze of glorious defeat, and it never puts into practice its basic tenets, no matter how noble they may be.”

The most beloved Republican of modern time hammered home this idea of inclusion:

“The Republican Party, both in this state and nationally, is a broad party.  There is room in our tent for many views; indeed, the divergence of views is one of our strengths. Let no one, however, interpret this to mean compromise of basic philosophy or that we will be all things to all people for political expediency.”

This last line is critical. Republicans should not compromise our basic American tenets of immutable God-given rights of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Mr. Obama and his party reject the original intent of this American Creed. Republicans must never do so. Rather, let us proudly embrace the values that made this the greatest nation ever. These are the values that will make us great again if we but restore them to their rightful, Constitutional position.

Ronald Reagan said it so well:

“In our tent will be found those who believe that government was created by “We, the People;” that government exists for the convenience of the people and we can give to government no power we do not possess as individuals;  that the citizen does not earn to support the government, but supports a government so that he may be free to earn; that, because there can be no freedom without law and order, every act of government must be approved if it makes freedom more secure and disapproved if it offers security instead of freedom.”

The ugly Republican primary did damage to the Party. More than ever, America needs Republican values. More than ever, America needs Republicans to be Republicans, not Democrat-Lite. It is time to unite, as Reagan said:

“Within our tent, there will be many arguments and divisions over approach and method and even those we choose to implement our philosophy.  Seldom, if ever, will we raise a cheer signifying unanimous approval of the decisions reached.  But if our philosophy is to prevail, we must at least pledge unified support of the ultimate decision.  Unity does not require unanimity of thought.”

The differences between the parties have never been starker. Democrats’ drift to the Left accelerates as they bend to the fickle whims and fads of the day.

Republicans, let’s open our arms to everyone with a positive message of opportunity grounded in timeless conservative principles.

Identity politics area a loser. We have a big tent. Ronald Reagan proved that’s the way to transform America.