Steve Sibson of Sibby Online explains today on his blog and in the Mitchell Daily Republic that the South Dakota Conservative Action Council, of which he is a founding member, pursues smaller government–one that is more in touch with and within the control of the people it serves.
Pat Powers of the South Dakota War College recently expressed a guarded concern that the SDCAC might be a divisive organization like the mostly defunct South Dakota MAINstream Coalition made up of “moderate” (i.e. liberal) Republicans. Given the attempt of that organization to lead the Republican Party astray, such concerns are understandable.
Here is what the SDCAC believes in, according to the principles listed on their website:
The action council promotes deeply held conservative principles about the nature of human dignity and freedom, the importance of family, the need for a limited role of the state, and a solid grasp of economic realities. Some people fear the days of principled conservatism may be a thing of the past.
The Republican Party has long been the party of traditional values, fiscal responsibility (though that reputation has admittedly been tarnished recently), and smaller government.
Since the SDCAC champions all these ideals, I believe that would preclude the organization from becoming the divisive force SDMC was meant to be. The Mainstream Coalition was created to try and pull Republicans away from the traditional ideals of the party. Even though it is not affiliated with the Republican Party, SDCAC intends to focus on the core ideals of the Republican Party.
For those who might have forgotten, those Republican principles are outlined:
I BELIEVE the strength of our nation lies with the individual and that each person’s dignity, freedom, ability and responsibility must be honored.
I BELIEVE in equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, creed, sex, age or disability.
I BELIEVE free enterprise and encouraging individual initiative have brought this nation opportunity, economic growth and prosperity.
I BELIEVE government must practice fiscal responsibility and allow individuals to keep more of the money they earn.
I BELIEVE the proper role of government is to provide for the people only those critical functions that cannot be performed by individuals or private organizations and that the best government is that which governs least.
I BELIEVE the most effective, responsible and responsive government is government closest to the people.
I BELIEVE Americans retain the principles that have made us strong while developing new and innovative ideas to meet the challenges of changing times.
I BELIEVE Americans value and should preserve our national strength and pride while working to extend peace, freedom and human rights throughout the world.
Finally, I BELIEVE the Republican Party is the best vehicle for translating these ideals into positive and successful principles of government.
Note, too, that those principles were elaborated upon in the party platform, affirming things such as recognizing
– our heritage of religious freedom and personal responsibility
– that our country was founded in faith upon the truth that self-government is rooted in religious convictions
– the free exercise of religion
– support and respect for the sanctity of human life, including the unborn, the elderly, the chronically ill and the terminally ill
From what I’ve seen, the SDCAC would encourage and renew the Republican Party’s focus on it’s own values, ideals and principles, rather than draw it away from them as the Mainstream Coalition sought to do.
A political party is only useful as long as it reflects and advances the the values of those who belong to that party. I believe the SDCAC will only enhance the long-term viability of the Republican Party as the chief vehicle for conservative, traditional values in South Dakota.