To win back the trust of the American people, we must be a "big tent" party. But big tents need strong poles, and the strongest pole of our party -- the organizing principle and the crucial alternative to the Democrats -- must be freedom. The federal government is too big, takes too much of our money, and makes too many of our decisions. If Republicans can't agree on that, elections are the least of our problems.
Freedom will mean different things to different Republicans, but it can tether a diverse coalition to inalienable principles. Republicans can welcome a vigorous debate about legalized abortion or same-sex marriage; but we should be able to agree that social policies should be set through a democratic process, not by unelected judges. Our party benefits from national-security debates; but Republicans can start from the premise that the U.S. is an exceptional nation and force for good in history. We can argue about how to rein in the federal Leviathan; but we should agree that centralized government infringes on individual liberty and that problems are best solved by the people or the government closest to them.
Moderate and liberal Republicans who think a South Carolina conservative like me has too much influence are right! I don't want to make decisions for them. That's why I'm working to reduce Washington's grip on our lives and devolve power to the states, communities and individuals, so that Northeastern Republicans, Western Republicans, Southern Republicans, and Midwestern Republicans can define their own brands of Republicanism. It's the Democrats who want to impose a rigid, uniform agenda on all Americans. Freedom Republicanism is about choice -- in education, health care, energy and more. It's OK if those choices look different in South Carolina, Maine and California.
Do you even think he realizes how "government makes too many of our decisions" and "social policies should be set through a democratic process" are the complete, utter, opposites of each other? It ain't unelected judges who brought us Social Security, Medicare, and the various other "tax and spend" policies DeMint decries. We got those through the democratic process.
Meanwhile, if DeMint is serious about this devolving/small-government ideology, then I look forward to his votes to reverse DOMA and the federal partial birth abortion ban. Except -- I keep forgetting! Being a "small government" Republican is a sacred, inalienable principle that "government can only intervene in the areas I care about."