Of the many ironies accompanying President Obama's reign of error, few are more perplexing to conservatives than the disunity and ineffectuality of the Republican opposition.
From the beginning of his first term, Obama has been fulfilling his promise to fundamentally transform America -- albeit in a way he didn't fully disclose when he made the pledge.
Indeed, Obama has proved in every way imaginable how serious he was and remains about steering the nation away from its founding principles. On a series of fronts, he has brought about major policy changes that are leading to the financial bankruptcy and accelerated decline of this great nation.
Though poll after poll indicates that the American people are more conservative than liberal and oppose, more than support, Obama's policy agenda, he has continued to escape accountability for making major changes against the people's will and even won re-election to a second term.
Republicans have been wholly discombobulated by this phenomenon and divided as to how they should combat it. From relatively early in Obama's first term to the present, a faction of Republicans has urged restraint in opposing Obama, while another has advocated a more vigorous opposition.
We've seen the same dichotomy throughout virtually every budget battle, with one group urging the GOP to take firmer positions against Obama's manifestly unreasonable budgets and continuing resolutions and the other counseling caution, reasoning that it makes little sense for Republicans to stridently oppose Obama on matters they didn't have the votes to win because he would be able to demonize them as obstructionists.
This internal split has sometimes grown fierce, with the tea party and self-styled Reaganites charging that the other group comprises establishment RINOs -- or Republicans in name only. The latter group, in turn, often accuses the first of being extremist and hotheaded flamethrowers.
Some on each side of the divide see the disagreement as more a matter of tactics than substance, whereas others adamantly disagree.
Personally, I do believe some of the disagreement can be chalked up to tactics -- but far from all of it. For example, many on the "establishment" side are all too willing to adopt the language of Democrats in painting the tea party side as narrow-minded and even hateful on matters from immigration to dependency programs.
I find myself on the tea party/Reaganite side of the argument but acknowledge we must find a way to unite our party in order to recapture power and begin to roll back Obama's destruction.
I don't believe that our group is extreme or self-destructively strident. Rather, we believe we will be likelier to achieve our ultimate goals if we more effectively oppose Obama by using plain language to clearly articulate our conservative vision and not candy-coating Obama's extreme views.
We must inspire Americans to rally behind our agenda rather than always play defense, acting ashamed of who we are and offering the voters little more than Democrat lite.
How far have we gotten with the cautious approach, after all? Didn't many conservatives stay at home in 2012 out of disillusionment with the party?
Obama and the Democrats never scale back their policy demands. They never reach across the aisle in an effort to compromise. They just get more and more militant, notwithstanding the obvious causal relationship between their liberal policies and the miserable state of the country and its ongoing decline.
I have no interest in demonizing or impugning the motives of the "establishment" group, but I think it's time that group opened up to the idea that in order to rebuild a successful coalition, we have to enthusiastically and unapologetically embrace principles the Republican Party has always professed to believe in.
We must confront Obama's despicable arguments head-on, from his kooky environmental extremism and his draconian, growth-smothering policies based on it to his incessant appeals to race, gender and class warfare.
But that alone won't be enough. We can't just defend ourselves against his arguments; we must relearn how to make an affirmative case for conservative principles as if we truly believe in them. We must not only squarely refute the Marxist lie that conservatism is heartless but show that it is more compassionate because it produces the most benefit for the most people.
We should never expect to turn things around if we continue to hang our heads as if in shame about our belief in limited government and the free market. We should present policies across the board consistent with that philosophy.
History, logic and common sense are on our side. Let's shed our fear and turn the tables on Obama and his group of fellow destroyers and give the voters a reason -- a compelling incentive -- to rally to our cause. Half-measures will only lead to further incremental advancements for statism and our inability to turn things around and get America back on track. Let's quit underestimating American voters -- especially conservatives, moderates and independents -- and give them good reasons to vote for us.
David Limbaugh, brother of radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, is an expert in law and politics and author of new book Crimes Against Liberty, the definitive chronicle of Barack Obama's devastating term in office so far.