Republican Candidates, Repeat After Me: “Civil Liberties Matter”

Brian Brady Brian Brady 6 Comments


Voters like fighters.  I’m pretty sure that is one of the reasons the far-left likes Bob Filner — he ain’t afraid to draw a line and defend that turf.  Republicans do a pretty good job at talking about “making government work,” but to really capture the hearts and minds of future voters Republican candidates should be talking a lot more like Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Ted Cruz and a lot less like John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

Let’s start with this question:  What is government’s most important role?

If you answered “to keep us safe,” don’t pull papers to run for election.  If you answered “to secure our individual liberties,” ask me to donate to your campaign — you just passed “Campaign Messaging Lesson One.”

Lesson Two:  Civil liberties matter.

Republicans lost something on the way to the Global War on Terror — it’s called the concept of limited government.  Limited government means more than low taxes and less regulations.  It means the right to be left alone.  It mean staying out of people’s businesses, bedrooms, mail, emails, Facebook pages, and phone calls.  If you can’t tie legislation to authorization in the Constitution, or a principle enshrined in the Declaration, you’re probably stepping over the line — so shut up about it.

Lesson Three: Talk about this…a lot.

Rand Paul’s filibuster was a major media event.  As much as liberal talking heads (and McCain) like to call it a “political stunt,” it galvanized both sides of the aisle around a VERY American principle — the right to be left the hell alone by our government.  Assemblyman Tim Donnelly’s “Audit the CPS” bill and his nullification of indefinite detention bill are popular…with the Occupy movement, the Tea Party, the ACLU and the John Birch Society.  That’s bringing people together around principles.

Finally.  Repeal or Nullify the PATRIOT Act and Obamacare.

Any chance you get, talk about how Obamacare and the PATRIOT Act are the two biggest infringements on individual liberty in 60 years.  The latter has been around for ten years and, as I predicted back when it was implemented, Republicans would hate it when Democrats would be in power.  When we look at the scandals surrounding the Obama regime (IRS, AP, Verizon) it’s easy to see that St Augustine’s concept of libido dominandi has infected the Democratic Party…(and yes left-of-center readers…the Republican Party, too).

If you’re running for school board, talk about the fact that labor unions have far too much power on the education monopoly and introduce ideas for school choice.  If you’re running for the water board, talk about how you won’t infringe upon individuals’ right to collect and store rainwater on their property. If you’re running for a city council, point out that it’s good business to limit or prohibit outdoor patio smoking but a violation of property rights to prohibit it by law.  If you’re running for Sheriff, talk about how you trust armed citizens and hope they’ll join a posse when you need them.

Civil liberties matter.  Democratic elected officials have become some of the worst violators of individual rights.  Young people, African-Americans, Latinos, and tea party people are getting harassed by the libido dominandi of the Left.  Stand up for civil liberties, draw a line in the sand, defend that turf, and say “civil liberties matter” over…and over…and over again.  You’ll win your election by a landslide.


Comments 6

  1. Great post, Brian. If I could add something it would be that conservatives support Natural Rights not Civil Rights. The distinction is that civil rights is the mantra for the Left’s cult of victimhood. They believe they have a never ending parade of aggrieved people they can count on for future votes all under the civil rights banner. So civil rights has been captured by the Left to justify government expansion. They use civil rights to push government programs like affirmative action, obamacare, and other subsidies.

    As a conservative, I believe in Natural Rights that should not be infringed on by other citizens but especially by the government. In a perfect world that will always be the case. Since our world is far from perfect there will be instances where government action will encroach on these rights, the early days of 9/11 for example. Where Bush went wrong was that he made that encroachment never-ending – they wanted no end date for the Patriot Act! That’s how the Democrats view things, that the government must be forever active enforcing “civil rights,” until we have the world of Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron.

    You made a good point hat any government encroachment on rights should be tied to constitutional authorization or the declaration. I’d go one step further, I think the conservative response should be when Natural Rights are to be encroached on it must be for a clearly defined goal, with clearly defined metrics for success, and a clearly defined end date (and shouldn’t go beyond the President they were signed under). Like the hunt for the Boston bombers, people will allow some violation of our liberties for a short duration in order to secure our safety and then resume our freedom. Bush didn’t and Obama doesn’t see an end date to this expansion of government. I’ve never seen a clear goal in the war on terror or how we know it’s over. Affirmative Action was supposed to undo the legacy of discrimination, but how long will it remain in place? How do we know it’s working? When will it completely undo discrimination’s legacy? Obamacare was supposed to insure the uninsured and not add to the deficit (that’s a best guess). How do we know it has achieved that? how long do we keep it if it isn’t meeting that goal? How long do we give up the freedom of choice?

    If I were running that’s how I’d frame obamacare and the war on terror – what’s the goal? how are we going to measure progress towards that goal? and when will it be over? If it doesn’t reach that goal by the set date then it should be debated again and hopefully try something else.

    Sadly, Bush did damage to the concepts of limited government and small government – Medicare Part D, the Patriot Act, the government spending, and the Big Government Conservativism oxymoron. We lost a lot of credibility and people are saying conservatives only care about the debt, deficit, and small government when we are out of power. It doesn’t help either when the Tax Foundation report on federal spending by state show that the majority of Red States are subsidized by the liberal coast. But that’s getting off topic.

    Thanks again, Brian. It was a great post on what conservatives need to talk about.

  2. “The distinction is that civil rights is the mantra for the Left’s cult of victimhood.”

    You made many good points, Elliot but I”m only going to comment on this one because of time constraints (will address the rest this weekend): I WANT our candidate to use their language because I want our candidates to appeal to them–not as victims but as Americans who believe that natural rights matter.

    This is why I always say that I”m a proud member of America’s oldest civil rights organization; the NRA

  3. Great post Brian. In my opinion, the FIRST principal of the American republic is “the right to be left alone.” That probably means that we live in a world that is a little less safe, a little more “coarse” and a little bit more chaotic. But that is who WE, as Americans, are.

  4. Government’s most important role: “TO SECURE OUR INDIVIDUAL LIBERTIES.”

    I will strive to remember this as I serve (serve the operative word) as an elected official, both as a Member of the Fallbrook Community Planning Group and as a San Diego County Republican Central Committee Member.”

    All elected (and appointed) government officials should do the same.

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