For any number of reasons, including the Constitution's native-birth requirement and her own health, Margaret Thatcher could never become President. But what America needs right now is a dose of Thatcherism. More than anything, we need strong leaders who will spit in the face of totalitarianism, stand up for individual freedoms, preserve the federalist model, cut the size and scope of government, and push an agenda for classical Western liberal (not leftist) values.
Before This Goes Any Further: We Should Keep the Native-Birth Requirement
Before saying anything else, allow me to disclose that I think the native-birth requirement in the Constitution is a good idea. But there are lots of people who think otherwise, most prominently the Arnold Schwarzenegger for President club, who have tried to broaden their appeal by also co-opting Michigan's Canadian-born governor to their list of causes celebre as well.
Amending the Constitution to allow for a foreign-born President is not a wise decision. The Constitution shouldn't be changed for light and transient causes, and the foreign-birth prohibition is a minor inconvenience. Naturalized Americans can do anything but serve in that one office (and in the VP's chair, since the requirements are the same as for President).
But If People Seriously Want to Suspend the Native-Birth Rule, We Should Draft Margaret Thatcher for President
More than any other political figure now living, Margaret Thatcher built a career on a solid foundation of beliefs in the core virtues of Western thought, which are enumerated in the goals of the Margaret Thatcher Foundation:
- To promote the widest possible acceptance of democracy, market principles, the rule of law, and strong defence
- To encourage strong transatlantic links between Britain, Europe, and North America
- To assist and encourage the peoples of the former communist countries and other oppressive regimes across the world as they adopt democracy
- To foster greater contact between Western nations and those of the Middle East in the region's search for a lasting peace with security
- To further free trade throughout the world
On the issues, then, here is how Margaret Thatcher (or someone like her) would be the ideal American President:
|She's an unapologetic, dyed-in-the wool Federalist||Lady Thatcher's steadfast opposition to a force-fed European Union, famously examined in her Bruges Speech of 1988, proves her unquestionable credentials as a dyed-in-the-wool federalist of the very best kind. Thatcher's opposition to the EU is that it shoehorns vibrant, independent states into a rigid model and applies a thick layer of bureaucracy on top without delivering any meritable results. Thatcher, like Ronald Reagan, made a career out of reducing the national government's role and sending more power and responsibilities back to the local level.|
|She has sterling credentials as an opponent of totalitarianism||It wasn't just Ronald Reagan going to Berlin and demanding, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" It was Ronald Reagan going to Berlin and Margaret Thatcher going to Gdansk and meeting with the leaders of Solidarity. It wasn't just Reagan negotiating with Gorbachev at Reykjavik. It was Reagan sensing how he could negotiate with Gorbachev and Margaret Thatcher saying of Gorbachev "We can do business together." These are relevant credentials today as China remains under the thumb of Communism and as Islamic fascists use terrorism and theocratic governments to oppress and frighten.|
|She didn't just talk about reducing the size of government, she slashed it||Thatcher's policies of privatization and improving the business climate earned their own place in political philosophy under the name "Thatcherism." What better could we ask for ourselves?|
|She's a founding member of the peace-through-strength club||She earned a reputation as a strong leader on defense issues and was identified very closely with Ronald Reagan's slogan of peace through strength. She generally avoided military confrontation, but remains today an advocate of judicious defense spending in pursuit of superior military capabilities.|
|She didn't get caught up in nasty, no-win battles over social issues||Unlike President George W. Bush, whose re-election campaign in 2004 was heavily invested in social issuses like gay marriage, Thatcher was never strongly identified with those kinds of social issues. A search of her public statements reveals only 26 times in her public life that the word "abortion" appears in any context, and sixteen instances of the words "homosexual" or "gay". Thatcher stuck to a core philosophy about the threat the state posed to the individual and the threat that totalitarianism posed to free people. Anything else was a distraction best dealt with elsewhere.|
What We Really Need Are More Thatcherites
The long and short of it is not that we really need Lady Thatcher to run for President, but that we need "conservatives" who care about "classical liberalism". Without them, Western societies will either tend toward Las Vegas-style free-for-all amusement parks or toward their own theocratic troubles. The ties that bind Western nations together are the rule of law, free markets, personal freedoms, security from external threats, and a sense of optimism towards science and technology and their application in the marketplace in ways that make everyone better off. Sadly, those are lonely voices in the political wilderness today.