The online version of the May 17 commentary about the 1773 Club ("Reliving 1773") drew a lot of comments that deserve to be addressed.
Some folks seem unable to get past the idea that politics is just a team sport of Republicans versus Democrats, just like CU plays CSU in football or the Nuggets play the Lakers. We need to get away from the "team sport" view of politics. Politics should be about ideas, and that is what the 1773 Club is about. This series is not a Republican commentary. Similarly, the 1773 Club is nonpartisan - it includes a lot of Libertarians and nonaffiliated voters - maybe even a few Democrats.
If you have read this series, you have seen us take Republicans to task when they want to expand government or increase taxes, most notably Jack Taylor, Al White and John McCain. We have been vigorous in this regard on some occasions. My view is that the liberals may be well-meaning, though misguided, but errant Republicans know better and deserve little mercy.
A few commentators wondered why we were not protesting a variety of things during the Bush administration. I will let you in on a little secret here. A major reason for Bush's poor popularity ratings is that many conservatives were either not responding to polls or were rating him poorly. The primary reason for this was the level of government spending, and, in the end, expanding government through bailouts such as TARP. Bush got a lot of things right, most notably national security, but he got things wrong, too - especially spending.
I can say similar things about John McCain, whom I have criticized myself in this series. I was asked early on to be the county chair of the McCain presidential campaign, and I politely refused.
The point of this is that conservatives have, indeed, been frustrated with the performance of a variety of Republicans. I think, though, that we may not have been vocal enough about it, at least not publicly. It does us no good to elect a Republican if he does not support our conservative ideals. Labels or "team membership" are not the point. Sound policies - liberty, limited government, low taxes, free enterprise and personal responsibility - are the point.
A number of our members are working hard within the Republican Party to affect change, and bless them. Business as usual is not going to solve the problems. Business as usual is the problem.
The people are tired of demagogues. People are tired of the government intruding where it does not belong. People are tired of the government trying to run industries it does not understand - formerly by regulation and now directly. The government simply cannot effectively run the car industry, the banking industry, the health care industry or any other private industry.
People are tired of government inefficiency, ineptitude and arrogance, as well as its overspending and over-taxing. People are tired of politicians that demand that we sacrifice while the government wages war on productivity. People are tired of officials who say they voted for a bloated state budget because they "are obligated to vote for the bill."
We deserve better, and we are demanding it.
If you don't like our principles, if you oppose limited government, if you oppose personal responsibility, if you oppose free markets, if you support high taxes or if you think you are entitled to have the government financially support you, make your point, and we will discuss it honestly and openly. Do not, for a moment, believe that citing the behavior of any errant Republicans refutes our principles or is worthy of being taken seriously.
Rick Akin is an attorney practicing in Steamboat Springs and Austin, Texas, a former member of the Pilot & Today Editorial Board and a director of The Steamboat Institute. His great-grandparents moved to Steamboat in 1926. He holds a BA from Oklahoma and a doctorate from the University of Texas.