Gov. Jeb Bush has an article over at National Review that starts out gangbusters, but then on page 2, drifts off into the weeds.
In the beginning, I was ready to get behind Jeb and praise his brilliance. He described many of my beliefs:
We will be guided meaningfully by the first principles of our party and this nation. First above all is our fundamental belief in the individual as the center of opportunity and ideological energy. We do not believe that government creates prosperity or drives it. Like the founders of our country, we know a self-regulating and responsible people is essential to limit the scope and ambition of government. We resist the urge to substitute regulations and governmental directives for entrepreneurial creativity and civic service. We believe that the best government is that which is smallest and the most just government is that which treats all citizens and entities equally, with no special favors and no special sanctions.
We believe that there is no way for leaders to direct the dreams and ambitions of 312 million Americans — and so we believe fundamentally in freedom. Let individuals direct themselves to whatever heights they aspire to reach, and let them enjoy the benefits of their success because they bear significant responsibility for the risks they take.
There isn’t a single thing in those two paragraphs that I disagree with.
And if you’re a regular reader, I doubt there’s anything there you disagree with either.
But then, this:
This is different than the approach of President Obama, as he has made clear through policies that place greater power and resources behind the government at the expense of the individual. So the distinction will be obvious.
But to make sure that we do not lose the advantage of that clear difference, we must not layer onto our fundamental beliefs thick black lines of ideology — black lines that we do not allow ourselves to cross. Those black lines can be comforting, I understand. They provide certainty and stability and ideological purity. But they also restrict the way we think about problems, and make more difficult the kind of reform-minded free thinking that has defined the conservative movement for the last 50 years.
Thick black lines of ideology are good at keeping people in, but they are also good at keeping people out. And our party can’t win if we keep people out.
What is it about the first paragraph that would keep people out?
And which of those things are you willing to sacrifice so that our side grows in ranks?
Are you willing to sacrifice your belief in “the individual as the center of opportunity and ideological energy?”
The belief that “a self-regulating and responsible people is essential to limit the scope and ambition of government?”
Or should we sacrifice the belief that “the best government is that which is smallest and the most just government is that which treats all citizens and entities equally?”
Furthermore, do we want people among us be would be willing to direct the platform in the opposite of any of those positions?
Our task is not to make our principles and beliefs so flexible that we allow our movement to hijacked by those who do not share our beliefs. Our task is to remove the scales from those around us who share our beliefs, yet do not vote accordingly. Our task is to show those who are willing to listen how one side stands for liberty and freedom, while the other stands for force and tyranny.
We should not feel the need to sacrifice our beliefs for a bigger tent. We stand for freedom, and as Andrew Breitbart said, “If you can’t sell freedom, you suck.”
Mark Levin addressed this same article this evening on his show. He utterly destroyed Bush’s premise, utilizing the words of Ronald Reagan:
We can have a big tent without sacrificing our principles.
Just sell freedom.