(Denver Post, Nov. 25) Show me a sore loser, and I’ll show you a loser. This has rung in my ears since the election, as I listened to some fellow Republicans and conservatives weeping, whining, and caterwauling. Not to mention griping, blaming, and sulking. Enough already.
Good losers being similarly scorned, who does that leave? Political party animals who rebound from a loss with humility, humor, and honesty. Happy warriors who take a setback in stride, undaunted yet undefensive. Those are the comrades I’ll share a shell-shocked foxhole with. The authors of anguished obituaries for America and the GOP need not apply.
For a couple of days after Nov. 6, it’s true, I was bluer than the MSNBC presidential map. Then I stumbled on one of those websites, PoliticalDefeatTherapy.com, with a guaranteed offer to dispel the darkness and put you back on daylight time after voters clean your clock. Click, pay, and my Republican Rehab Kit was on the way.
When it came, I was initially disappointed. No Kryptonite to reduce Reid and Pelosi to jello. Not a word about Obama’s real birthplace. The envelope contained nothing but three toys – a magnifying glass, a telescope, and a small mirror – plus a pocket edition of the Declaration of Independence and U. S. Constitution. My $19.95 for this?
The instruction sheet - which I read last; typical man – quickly clarified things, however. To get past the superficial “optics” of the Democrats’ big victory, it advised, we Republicans can regain clear vision by putting the 2012 results under a magnifier, then scanning history and the future with a spyglass, and then, above all, looking hard at ourselves in the mirror.
But at no point in this perspective-recovering process, the instructions warned, should a shaken GOP entertain the temptation of abandoning its 150-year fidelity to individual liberty and personal responsibility, limited government and rule of law, free enterprise and private property, human rights and moral truth as gifts from God – the principles in America’s founding documents – first voiced by my party in behalf of the African slave.
This country doesn’t need, in other words, two liberal parties. Nor does it need a quixotic third party, a neo-Confederate secession craze, or a John Galt dropout movement. It needs the Republican party to continue our historically indispensable – and resiliently effective – role as the conservative party for these United States.
The magnifying glass that came in my rehab kit showed the Dems’ retention of the White House and Senate, as well as their Colorado legislative gains, to have been a tactical victory won on intensity and execution, not a repudiation of conservatism. The telescope, looking back, revealed many a political pendulum swing after all seemed lost – think 1964 for my side, 2004 for their side – and likely the same when looking ahead.
Then there was the mirror. Gazing into it was painful, but what a reality bath. Had the GOP, me included, often forgotten that politics is about people no less than principles? Was the other side’s edge in intensity and execution, securing reelection for Obama, baggage and all, partly our fault? Who could be to blame for the tarnished Republican brand but us? Ouch and ouch again.
Inviting a number of conservative audiences to try the mirror exercise has been interesting. There was pushback. “Nobody in this room bears any of the blame,” insisted a friend in Denver. “That’s moderate talk, RINO talk,” said another friend in Grand Junction.
“Death of a Nation,” went an online whine from Colorado Springs. “GOP, DOA, RIP,” moaned an email from Evergreen. Oh really? Time will tell. I’m betting that 2014 and 2016 will prove the reports of conservatism’s demise, like that of Mark Twain, to have been greatly exaggerated.
(Denver Post, Aug. 28) I wish Tom Tancredo was Governor of Colorado. I wish Scott McInnis was. Heck, I wish the ill-starred Dan Maes was governor. Any Republican, any conservative, rather than the limousine liberal Democrat we’re stuck with, John Hickenlooper.
Whence these idle fantasies? Not heat stroke from recent egg-frying temperatures. Not oxygen deprivation from my annual 14er climb. No, it started when I found myself seated between Tancredo and McInnis at a GOP luncheon on Aug. 10, the anniversary of Scott’s shocking loss to Maes in last year’s gubernatorial primary.
Tancredo, you remember, was so sure neither man could beat Hickenlooper that he demanded both quit – then bolted and ran as the American Constitution Party nominee. The final numbers in a campaign most of us would like to forget were Hick 51%, Tank 37%, and Maes 11%. Ouch.
Someone said this luncheon was the first time Scott and Tom, formerly congressional colleagues, had seen each other since then. Nothing untoward occurred, and the occasion went in the file drawer of funny coincidences. But that awful August flashback got me wondering whether our party has learned enough from its debacle in 2010 to count on carrying Colorado in 2012.
My daydream of reclaiming the governorship isn’t on tap next year – perhaps just as well, since the GOP has lost five straight contests since 2004 for that seat and for U.S. Senate. So coloring the state a Republican red again in 14 months would mean winning the Colorado House and Senate, keeping or improving our 4-3 edge in congressional seats, and above all, delivering nine electoral votes against President Barack Obama.
Can the Grand Old Party do that? Part of the answer will depend on organizational and fundraising efforts by young state chairman Ryan Call, elected last winter after veteran chairman Dick Wadhams stood down. Part will depend on conservatives and moderates (like the two dozen ex-legislators from both camps at the luncheon) transcending our differences to unify in defeating Democrats.
On those fronts, prospects seem good. On others, however, work is needed. After Call’s luncheon speech, Tancredo queried him about efforts on the right to match CoDA, the Colorado Democracy Alliance of nonprofit groups outside formal party ranks that has given the left such an advantage here in every cycle from 2004 to 2010. Nobody claims that one is solved yet.
A few days later, in a column for World Net Daily, Tancredo asked another tough but fair question: Do Republicans here and elsewhere really want to be “the party of constitutional liberty – or merely the ‘other’ party, the party of slower drift into socialism instead of the passionate embrace of socialism offered by the Obama Democrats”?
The Colorado House under GOP control this year, Tom went on to say, missed its opportunities for “connecting state Democrats to Obama’s policies” by offering a “coherent alternative” that would “reverse course” on such issues as health care, regulation, and taxes.
Speaker Frank McNulty, nursing a 33-32 majority, would doubtless disagree. But there’s a case to be made that voters will need to see more evidence of a rising red tide in policy under the Gold Dome next January if they are to move the state out of the blue column next November.
Then there’s the Tea Party. Dan Maes, hapless novice that he was, turned the best phrase of 2010 in pleading to “introduce the institution to the revolution” and thus cement a Colorado conservative majority. Wrong messenger, right message.
Maes told me last week he sees Chairman Call and other Republicans making progress on allying with this potent new force for freedom and responsibility. Will it work? “The jury is out,” said Dan. On such an alliance, more than any other factor, the red-state hopes for 2012 will turn.
 The column as published in the Denver Post erroneously stated that Call's candidacy "moved... Wadhams to retire." In fact, however, Wadhams dropped his bid for another term prior to Call's entering the chairman's race. I regret the misstatement.
(Centennial Fellow) As Republican majorities take the reins of power both in Congress and in the Colorado House of Representatives, they carry the lofty expectations of their supporters alongside the inconvenient reality that Democrats still control half of the legislative branch plus the executive.
Practically speaking, Republicans can do only so much, but that certainly doesn’t mean they are powerless. Here’s what a good strategy for the next two years might look like:
First, kill bad bills. There’s truth in the maxim, “You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.” Legislation that empowers bureaucrats or creates new opportunities for litigation simply cannot be “fixed,” so kill it.
Taxpayers will breathe a sigh of relief if they know that certain bills are dead on arrival. This should include tax increases, new mandates that require businesses and families to spend after-tax dollars on things bureaucrats or lobbyists think we supposedly need.
Republicans should also see to it that the wish lists of labor unions, trial lawyers and nanny-statists aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.
Next, govern effectively. Republicans will be expected to work with Democrats. That’s fine, up to a point, but that must be a two-way street.
Since neither party can get everything it wants, Republicans should repeatedly establish the principles of fiscally-responsible, taxpayer-friendly, market-oriented, pro-growth governance in every debate. Get government out of the way and unleash the productivity and creativity of the people. Let Democrats continue to make the tired argument that politicians and bureaucrats are smarter than the rest of us.
At every opportunity, voters should see the contrast between pro-growth, pro-freedom policies and the bankrupt liberal agenda.
In Congress, Republicans have a chance to regain their credibility as the party of limited government, balanced budgets, and economic growth. They dare not squander this opportunity.
By requiring every piece of legislation to explain how it falls within Congress’s constitutional authority, Republicans have already instituted a rule that, if adhered to, could cause a seismic shift in the political culture. Remember when Nancy Pelosi, asked where the Constitution gives Congress authority to implement ObamaCare, responded incredulously, “Are you serious?”
Yes, Nancy, we are serious.
Spending bills must originate in the U.S. House, so Republicans can restore sanity to runaway spending which soared from $24,000 per household prior to the recession to $36,000 under the Obama budgets. Congress should require that unspent “stimulus” funds be returned and committed to deficit reduction.
Finally, Congress can use its oversight authority to expose arrogant bureaucrats who would choke off access to domestic oil and gas supplies, impose costly regulations on energy production, and tax or regulate the internet.
At the State Capitol, all bills to raise revenue must originate in the House, according to the state constitution. Nothing that emits even a whiff of tax increase should leave the State Capitol without the constitutionally-required vote of the people. And after more than $1 billion in surreptitious in tax and fee increases over the past four years, voters are in no mood.
Republican legislators should lay down a few markers: no more “fees” that simply raise money for general government purposes, no more mandates that require consumers to buy insurance coverage they don’t want or cannot afford, and no more regulations that increase the cost of energy to consumers.
Above all else, elected Republicans must remember: “Don’t go native.”
Last November, many people with different ideas and priorities voted Republican because they were sick of Democrats spending money they didn’t have, growing government into a ubiquitous burden, piling debt on our children and grandchildren, and raising taxes with impunity.
The halls of government are full of lobbyists and bureaucrats who advocate for more government spending, more regulation and more limits on personal freedom.
Republicans’ mission is to put taxpayers back in charge by making government serve the people – reversing the liberal inclination to make people serve government.
Mark Hillman served as Colorado senate majority leader and state treasurer. He is now Colorado's Republican national committeeman, and a Centennial Institute Fellow. To read more or comment, go to www.MarkHillman.com.
Throughout the 2010 midterm election, Democrats vibrantly portrayed the Republican party as 'the party of no.' No to healthcare for 50 million uninsured Americans, no to a second stimulus bill, no to extending unemployment to hundreds of thousands of unemployed Americans, and no to increasing the government's role in shoring up our distressed economic climate. Republicans overtly accepted this notion, and rode a tidal wave election in which the GOP regained majority in the House and sustained moderate gains in the Senate.
Enter December 2010. We are only a month or two away from the launch of the election cycle all over again; this time, however, with much larger stakes. The American electorate clung to the theme of 'the party of no' last time around, but it is time for the Republicans to take on a new identity that may excite, but scare the GOP elite: 'the party of yes.'
This is not embodying the approval of increased government spending or adding to the national debt; rather, a preconceived revival of legislation that will make a profound impact on Americans. Turning these next two years into a commonality of rejecting proposed legislation to stifle President Obama’s election chances in 2012 is a mere irrationality. There are simply too many pressing issues facing the lives of millions of Americans in need of reform to spend these next two years avoiding compromise for the sake of scoring cheap political points in 2012. Merit and accomplishment are consistently superior to avoidance and evasiveness, as will be displayed in the 2012 election if Republicans can cultivate a reputation of dedication and willingness.
Thus far, we have seen Republicans take hard stances in the early stages of their majority in the House and affluence in the Senate. Positions such as banning all earmarks and voting entirely against extending unemployment are ideologically valid, but the GOP must carefully examine the direction it has sustained in just the past month alone. The electorate is exhausted with a lack of compromise for reform to crucial pieces of legislation that can the government’s efficiency and effectiveness in improving the general well being of Americans. If Republicans expect to spend the next two years hoping for economic failure in hopes of a 2012 overhaul, then the GOP has entirely abandoned its sprit of American prosperity. It is unrealistic that Republicans can assess a political climate in such a manner that they are willing to sacrifice the well being of the economy to win any election. Yes, the dichotomy between Republicans and Democrats is stark, but the GOP should be looking to increase productivity rather than demise Democrats or any policy that sustains compromising potential.
It’s time that Republicans start saying ‘Yes’ for now, and portray themselves as the party who is able to conceive the momentous reform that our country is in dire need of. Let’s witness the GOP say yes to using unspent stimulus funds to extend unemployment, yes to extending the Bush tax cuts, yes to stimulating private sector growth, yes to reducing the annual deficit, and a multitude of similar issues facing our economic recovery. While President Obama surely will take credit for the successes encompassed with such an upturn in the economy, the voters of 2012 will be sure to account for the party that in two years fought for the people’s right to the American dream. By taking a pragmatic and reasonable approach to these issues rather than letting party-ambition fuel the rapidly approaching landmark election, there is no reason to believe that prominent and virtuous leaders can concurrently revive the economy and portray the GOP as the quintessential party to affirm for years to come.
So Muhammad Ali Hasan,twice an unsuccessful Republican candidate (treasurer this year, legislature in 2008) says he is done with the GOP and now getting chummy with Nancy Pelosi. "GOP Loses Hasan," the headline says. No, I would say a better term would be the GOP has finally gotten rid of the man!
In light of world-wide Islamic Jihadist violence, Mr Hasan's continual whining about Muslim "persecution and discrimination" has worn a little thin. To disagree with him in any way is to trigger shrieks of "racism", which is no more than meaningless name calling. After all, Islam is a belief attribute, NOT a biological one.
He says the GOP doesn't "work for immigrants and Muslims". If he means we object to flooding our country with illegal immigrants, and fail to continually kow tow to "Muslim sensibilities", which means the implementation of their Shari'ah Law to our own detriment, then Mr Hasan is correct.
For him to say he has no knowledge of Muslim persecution of gays or the Qur'anic concept of Taqqiya (permissible lying) is beyond belief! Does Mr. Hasan really think that if he ignores it, it will go away?
The release of the information about Mr McInnis' business dealings with the Hasan family was precisely timed to destroy Mr McInnis' bid for Governor and throw the race to the Democrats. It's hard to see how the Hasan family has been much of a Republican asset.
Here is the story in full:Colorado GOP loses Hasan Colorado Independent by John Tomasic on 12/9/10http://coloradoindependent.com/69449/colorado-gop-loses-hasan
Muhammad Ali Hasan, a member of the wealthy and influential ColoradoRepublican Hasan family and a past state House and treasurer candidate,said he is switching parties. Speaking at the University ofColorado-Boulder on his experience growing up Muslim in the AmericanWest and later in conversation with the Colorado Independent, Hasansaid he is ending his affiliation with the party for the bigotry hebelieves has shaped Republican politics over the last year. The FOXNews regular and founder of Muslims for Bush said he met recently withHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the controversial Democratic leader wonhim over.
“I met her in Los Angeles. For a Republican that’s like He-Man [meetingwith] Skeletor,” he said, referencing the Masters of the Universecartoon arch-enemies. “I am impressed by her vision. She convinced methat the Democrats will work to protect and further the interests andopportunities of minority Americans. That matched with the politics ofReagan for me. He was a champion of the American dream, the idea ofAmerica as a shining city on a hill. He expanded opportunities throughsmall business credits and amnesty for immigrants. It was all aboutopportunity.
“I have three top political heroes: Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush andnow Nancy Pelosi. She has such a spine, like Reagan and Bush, they allhave that in common: a spine of steel that comes from conviction.”
Major financial backers of conservative causes and candidates in thestate and friends to national GOP leaders and successive Republicanpresidential administrations, the Hasans have publicly struggled withthe post-Bush Palin-era GOP. Matriarch Seeme Hasan during the “GroundZero Mosque” debate said she didn’t recognize the party. Ali Hasan’sdefection comes in the wake of news that state GOP lawmakers willintroduce tough Arizona-style immigration legislation and held a highprofile hearing on the topic with a slanted roster of experts thatfeatured almost no immigrant rights groups but several with ties towhite supremecist organizations.
A hardline fiscal conservative and champion of Constitutional equality,Hasan says Republicans have merely paid lip service to the former andhave effectively come to oppose the latter.
“Look at what the state Republican party thinks of Doug Bruce,” he saidreferring to the controversial anti-tax crusading author of Colorado’sTaxpayer Bill of Rights. “And there is no record of fiscalconservativism on the federal level. So that’s one side and then Ithink ‘I believe in the American dream for everyone and which party isfighting for immigrants, gays, Muslims?’ The GOP has attacked them.Democrats want to work for them. ”
State convention whisper campaign
Hasan said he felt alienated between national Republican leaders on oneside railing against the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” and gays andillegal immigrants and, on the other, state Republican delegatesconvinced that as a candidate for treasurer he was angling to installsharia finance laws. He said the GOP convention in May was a low point.
“You experience bigotry sometimes but I often just think it’s probablymy personality that the person doesn’t like. At the convention, though,that was the first time I felt the real thing. It was the worstexperience of my life.”
Hasan suspects a whisper campaign swept the convention, sounding awarning against placing a Muslim in charge of investing the state’srevenues.
“Some goons were telling people that there’s a passage in the Koranthat encourages Muslims to lie, that lying is considered a good thingin the service of advancing a Muslim or sharia agenda. I don’t know whowas behind the rumor, but I’ve read the Koran, and I don’t know whatthey were talking about.”
Hasan said in the run up to the convention he personally called the3,500 delegates and talked to roughly 1,500 who said he could count ontheir vote.
He said he ran this “informal survey” through his pollster and thenumbers made sense because Hasan was getting heavy support from theWestern Slope where he lives and has been active while his opponent,J.J. Ament, was pulling well from the eastern Front Range districts.
“In the end, we guessed we’d get 40 percent support at the conventionas a basement estimate.”
That didn’t happen. Hasan drew roughly 20 percent of delegate support,missing the cut off to make the ballot by 10 percent.
He said the weekend of the convention he watched hundreds of supportersfall away. Delegate after delegate approached him and mentioned theKoran and said in so many words that they weren’t sure they could trusthim.
“It hurt. People who had said they were voting for me were now comingup to me and saying ‘You know, I hear you could be lying to us.’ I wasshocked. I got the courage to approach some of them, people I hadtalked to and who said they were voting for me. Here they were wearingJ.J. Ament stickers. I was like, you know, wow, and they said ‘But howdo I know you’re not going to assert some form of sharia law againstColorado?’”
Hasan said he was deflated after talking to one woman at length.
“I told her I started Muslims for Bush. I’m proud of that. I told her Ihave been a vocal fiscal conservative for years. I said I’ve given toRepublican candidates on the federal and state level. I helped getRepublican candidates elected to House seats in 2008 when Democratswere winning everything… Finally I asked her ‘There’s nothing I can sayto win your vote because my name is Muhammad, am I right?’ and she said‘Yeah, that’s probably right.’”
Hasan said he met time and again with Republican voters and leadersacross the state in campaigning for treasurer and that “in groups of20, the fact that my name is Muhammad was never a bad thing, but at theconvention, there were 5,000 people who were all suddenly suspicious ofMuslims.”
As the Colorado Independent reported at the time, the Ament campaignclearly traded on anti-muslim sentiment or at least on domestic fearsof Muslim rule in the Mahgreb. Ament claimed in campaign literature,for instance, that Hasan would lift Colorado overseas investrestrictions and put taxpayer cash to work for the “genocidal regime inSudan” and to further Iranian nuclear ambitions.
Yet Hasan said he doesn’t blame Ament for what happened at theconvention. The thing that got him, he said, was that GOP delegateswere so willing to believe the ridiculous rumors.
In fact, he said, he shouldn’t have been surprised.
Hasan said that when he was considering running for House District56three years ago, an adviser told him that his being Muslim was muchless an issue than the fact that he was a filmmaker and not a rancher.“You gotta go work on a ranch to be able to relate to these people,”the adviser told him. So Hasan did. Dressed in a suit, cowboy boots andmatching turquoise bolo tie and enormous belt buckle, Hasan said he isproud of the work he did just bringing salt licks out to the animalsand watching the weather.
“What I learned is that a cowboy is a person who says the same thing nomatter the setting. I also learned that nature is the same way, honest.”
In 2008, Muhammad Ali the Rancher won the support of lots of voters onthe Western Slope. He lost to Democrat Christine Scanlan by a fewpercentage points, and the problem, he said, was Republicans.
“I would have won if not for Republicans. Polling was through the roofwith independents and we made huge inroads with Democrats. But we neverbroke 65 percent with Republicans, who cast between 90 percent and 95percent for [U.S. Senate candidate Bob] Schaffer and [presidentialcandidate John] McCain. You need that 90 percent to win.
“Republican voters cost us 56. I should have learned from that.”
The “Ground Zero Mosque”
Hasan said that although his experience at the convention wasdispiriting, it wasn’t actually a turning point. He said he’s forevergrateful to the 20 percent delegates who voted for him and who woreHASAN tee-shirts around the convention and notes that in the weeksafter the convention he enthusiastically endorsed GOP primary winnerWalker Stapleton and gave generously to GOP candidates across the state.
It was national politics that set him over the edge.
“When Bush left, it seems like a vacuum opened up and into it rushedbigotry.”
He ticks off topics that have shaped national GOP politics this year:Support for anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 in California; Arizona’stough SB1070 immigration law; support for repealing the naturalizedcitizenship granted by the 14th Amendment; and what he calls “theMosque issue.”
He said he couldn’t believe the way the plans to build the CordobaCenter Mosque escalated.
“I dismissed it as a joke. It was crazy people. Then it was oneRepublican leader after another looking to strip Constitutional rightsout of just bigotry.”
He pointed out the change that had come over leaders like Newt Gingrichand Sarah Palin, onetime Muslim defenders, he said, whom he now sees onthis topic as the worst kind of pandering politicians.
“The ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ was never about the mosque, which was reallyjust a health club, a swimming pool…. That was all about rallying thebase.”
He eventually wrote a popular blog on the topic for the Huffington Postcomparing the move to ban the mosque to so-called red-lining racistzoning laws in the pre-Civil Rights era.
“I was okay after the convention. I decided all that was just anaberration and that I would just let it fade. But the 14th Amendmentdebate, the ugly mosque politics, that just killed my hopes.”
The Polis-Pelosi connection
In the wake of the mosque flap, Hasan said he emailed his friendCongressman Jared Polis, a man he said he has admired for years.
“If you want to convince me to become a Democrat, you have your chance.”
Polis said he had someone he wanted Hasan to talk to and then he set upthe meeting with Pelosi.
“I thought to myself, ‘Well, I’m not a socialist, so I don’t think Ican be a Democrat,’” Hasan said, joking. “But Nancy Pelosi’s peoplecalled me up and said she wanted to meet with me and I talked about itwith my mom. She said ‘Baby, when the third most powerful person in theworld asks you to join her party, you better think about it.’”
Hasan said his mother said she was committed to the Republican partybecause she wants to work to change it but she told Hasan that hisopportunities lie with the Democrats. “You can’t win office as aRepublican,” she told him. “You deserve a chance to win.”
Hasan said he knows he has to put in the same “blood and sweat” for theDemocratic party now that he has put into the Republican party over theyears. He’s looking at running again for office in six to eight years.He said he’s “thinking in election cycles.” His first step is going tobe to form a group to fight to protect the rights of and expandopportunities for minorities.
“If we fight on a Constitutional basis and not on emotion, we willwin,” he said. “I don’t defend Muslims because I’m Muslim. I’m not evena good Muslim. I’m a sinner. I’m a political hack and an interfaithpractitioner…. I defend Muslims because I stand against bigotry,because I don’t want bigotry to exist.”
(Centennial Fellow) If we see the competition for power between Democrats and Republicans as a main theme, then modern American political history is exactly one hundred and fifty years old.
This history can be neatly divided into three distinct eras: Republican dominance 1860-1930, Democratic dominance 1930-1980, and Republican restoration 1980 to present.
Each of these eras was launched by a charismatic President who took office in traumatic circumstances, undertook great tasks, persevered through great turmoil, overcame formidable opponents, and successfully delivered the country to a rebirth of its competence, confidence, and prosperity. Accordingly Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan who delivered us respectively from Civil War and slavery; Depression and World War; and domestic economic chaos, and foreign policy humiliation made a deep and enduring impression on their countrymen who raised them to iconic status despite the abuse heaped upon them during their Presidencies. Finally, they changed the way Americans thought of themselves and the political parties that they held to judgment every two years.
While the Age of Lincoln has largely receded into the mists of history, the Age of Roosevelt remains very much with us. The political landscape established by FDR endured for half a century because the Democrats were truly a “Big Tent” party. They brought together elements from every region of the country, reconciled philosophical opposites (e.g. rural southern segregationists, and urban northern civil rights advocates), and united them in an overarching common purpose: delivering the votes that would keep the Democratic Party in power in perpetuity.
The Roosevelt Coalition crashed and burned in the 1960’s in a perfect storm of mismanaged war, racial conflict, and cultural upheaval. The party then began a baleful long march in an increasingly leftward direction in the process shedding the Southerners, conservatives, and even moderates who had been important players in the Democrats Big Tent Era. This trend would win increased influence and eventually complete dominance for the Liberal Progressives who had been a loud but relatively small element in the Democratic Party going all the way back to the 19th century.
During this period Republicans were reinventing themselves as an essentially conservative party espousing free markets, individual freedom, and strong defense. Success came slowly, but in 1980 the combination of the disastrous Carter regime and the optimistic, inclusive, and principled leadership of Ronald Reagan brought triumph to the Republican Party as evidenced by the Gipper carrying 93 of a possible 100 states in his two Presidential runs. Thanks to the migration of the “Reagan Democrats” the GOP was now the true “Big Tent” party while the Democrats drifted increasingly toward European style socialism and an unending parade of Left and further Left Presidential candidates.
During the thirty years of the Reagan Era the GOP has held the White House for 20 years, the Senate for 18 years, the House for 12 years, and an edge in Governorships, and State Legislatures as well.
The extended Republican ascendancy has provided one vital advantage to Democrats: it has enabled them to portray themselves not as they actually are or in terms of what they really wanted to do but rather as a make-believe party of reasonable moderates espousing all good things for all good people while almost never being fully responsible for delivering the goods and always being in a position- aided by a liberal media- to blame the Republicans for everything.
Only twice in this 30 year period (1992-94 and 2008-2010) has the country got a brief glimpse of what the Democrats are really like and where they want to move American society when they get both hands on the steering wheel (i.e. control of White House and both houses of Congress). Both times the American people recoiled in horror and punished the Democrats severely in historic mid-term elections.
After the Republican blow-out of 1994 the people allowed Republicans to retain control of Congress for a dozen years and were satisfied with the Republican President for the final six years of that period.
Republicans however ultimately did not meet the test of good stewardship. Domestically they became almost as addicted to big government, big spending, and perpetuating their own power as had the Democrats before them. On the international front they launched an invasion of Iraq that in the end they could neither win nor adequately explain to the American people.
This lamentable track record gave the Democrats all the opportunity they needed and in consecutive election cycles the people ousted the Republicans from control of Congress and the Presidency.
Once again the Democrats controlled all the levers of power, but they apparently had learned nothing from their debacle of 1992-94, and with unprecedented ideological fervor renewed their crusade to transform America into the statist paradise of their dreams. In doing so they exposed themselves in all their naked arrogance and contempt for the American people and the democratic institutions that had sustained the country for over two centuries.
Nemesis quickly followed. Impervious to being mocked by the elites, the people rose up in all their sovereign majesty and once again demonstrated that in the world’s one true Exceptional Nation, the people will always be bigger than the government.
In the Republican landslide the most striking element was not the Senate, or even the stunning turn-around in the House, but rather the unprecedented gain of nearly 700 legislative seats and control of 56 of the nation’s 99 legislative chambers; an ascendancy not reached since 1928.
This electoral tsunami at the base of the political pyramid cannot be explained merely as a rejection of bad policy and legislation at the national level. Rather it suggests that a highly attentive populace has seen the true character of the Democratic Party and its unchanging statist mission with a new clarity and they have clearly rejected it. For the Republicans the election was not their victory but their opportunity to redeem themselves.
The only real victory on Nov. 2nd belongs to the American people who saw the Democratic record for what it was- an existential threat to the American Democracy and its handmaiden, the American Dream.
Let Freedom Ring!
(Centennial Fellow) This essay is my argument for why America needs the Republican Party and the Tea Party to combine forces to form a semi-new political party, the GOTP or Grand Old Tea Party. William F. Buckley wrote in 1955 that National Review "stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it." Had Mr. Buckley's wisdom been heeded the Republican Party today would be yelling Stop! In fact, it is not yelling stop, nor has it yelled stop since at least the 1980s. At best, Republicans have been in concert with the Democrats using the refrain "slow down, slow down" to the opposition's "speed up speed up." Now more than ever, it seems that as Will Rogers once said, there is not a dime's worth of difference between the two parties. Look to the record.
Bush Republicans outspent Bill Clinton's administration. Admittedly, Clinton did not have united government but the Republicans did. If the Bush Republicans have stood athwart history they would not have increased the size of the budget the debt and the government. At best they slowed the growth.
The American people have come to understand this. If one looks at the polls Republicans are not much more popular than are Democrats. Granted, the Republicans will take control of the House and, and with the cooperation of Blue-Dog Democrats, have a good deal of power in the Senate. Allow me to ask whether this is a good thing? Assume Republicans control both Houses and stand athwart President Obama. What are the chances, without the influence of the Tea Party or more importantly Tea Party members in the legislature, repealing Obamacare in toto? With utmost respect--it will not happen!
There any number of reasons this will not happen. What mitigates against change in the Congress is the Norm of Universalism. Walter J. Stone, relying on the researches of David Mayhew, says that the Norm of Universalism states that the "activities in which members of Congress engage to get themselves reelected, do not usually hinder other members' attempt to get reelected." He goes on to state that in the Madisonian theory, "each legislator's reelection depends on his ability to satisfy general policy interests." This will bring members into conflict, resulting in compromise. But the Norm of Universalism is contrary to the Madisonian theory, and, "conflict among legislators may even make their individual reelection more difficult." Conflict between members would greatly reduce particularized benefits, Congressional benefits targeted at particular constituency, i.e. earmarks. Stone concludes everyone wins! Except government, the national debt and deficits continue to grow. Thus, change is stifled but the growth of government continues because it is in each individual member’s re-election interest to buy constituents votes by doling out government largesse. If it occurred in a back alley and not the floor of Congress they would all go to jail. Paul Jacob, Senior Fellow, Americans for Limited Government, says, "[T]he message being sent, clearly, is that Senators [and by extension members of the House] aren't supposed to challenge other members' notions of the worthiness of state projects."
As professional politicians, mainstream Republicans are most interested in keeping their seats in the House and Senate. While I am unable to read minds, one can see "moderate" Republicans not taking candy from babies, that is, not removing healthcare benefits and entitlements. How politically dangerous is it to remove benefits citizens who already have those benefits? What are the chances "moderate" Republicans will stop funding mass transit while our interstate highway and road system continues to deteriorate? Will they attempt to return to a real balance between state and national government by repealing laws like the National Drug Enforcement Act which do not allow individual states to govern themselves as they see fit. Will the "moderate" Republicans actually cut the size of government?
Let me continue this thought experiment. If my hypothesis is correct, that mainstream Republicans will do little to actually change government over the next two years, Republicans will chip away at a variety of different programs, Pres. Obama will become known as the veto president, blaming Republicans for being against progress. Second, I think it is reasonable to believe that, following fully four years of failure, President Obama will step down as a one term president. He does not seem to enjoy the job of president. And, as George Stephanopoulos has said, Obama does not like the theater of politics, a crucial part of presidential leadership as Ronald Reagan fully understood.
By 2012, assuming my scenario is correct, we will have had six years of united government under the Republicans in which we got two wars, bigger government, and bigger debt. We then had four years, 2006 to 2010, of Democrats in the legislature, 2 years of which were united government under Democratic rule and got the greatest depression since, well, the Great Depression. Unless the Republican majority actually changes things, and I do not believe there is any reason to believe Amoderate@ Republicans will change anything, the only rational behavior for the American voter will be to consciously choose divided government.
The voters will retain the Republican Congress and choose a different Democratic president, read Hillary Clinton. Imagine the excitement of Democrats if they can make history two times in a row: electing the first black president then electing the first female president. On the other hand, if the GOTP is perfectly strategic, it will outbid the Democrats by nominating Michele Bachmann for president and Marco Rubio for vice president. Imagine the angst of liberals in this dilemma.
Unless you believe the racist argument, which is of course childish and moronic, Obama and the Democrats are losing because they promised change and did not deliver. In addition, the change they did bring is not very popular with the American people. But I think the fundamental problem is, as political scientist Theodore Lowi says in his book AThe Personal Presidency,@ Obama and the Democrats raised expectations well beyond an achievable level. What then will the Republicans do when they get into office? Again, if I am right, not much, but they will be saddled with the same expectation level as Obama had! AModerate@ Republicans cannot stand athwart history but merely astride it. One thing the 2006 and 2008 elections demonstrated is that the American people do want change. I believe that most Americans, especially now that large numbers of baby boomers have been forced to grow up, are disgusted with politics of the past forty two years. What Obama tapped into in the 2008 campaign was very much what Ronald Reagan understood: what Americans want of their president is an heroic figure who congregates America in search of justice. This conception of a charismatic leader is replete in presidential literature. I think it is best represented in H. Mark Roelofs, AThe Prophetic President: Charisma in the American Political Tradition.@ What the American people want of their legislature is simply less, not more. The traditional role of Congress has harmonizer of diverse interests is no longer sustainable. And what we want most in our daily lives is more control over our daily lives. We want more control of our children=s education which costs too much and does not produce educated citizens, more control over local police who have become tax collectors, and less control, as the anti-Federalists foresaw, from far-off Washington D. C.
Right now the idea of the Tea Party is more popular than the Republican Party. Therefore, what is best for the people, for the long term interests of the nation as opposed to the short-term calculation of reelection, is to weave the spirit as well as the ideas of the Tea Party into the Republican Party, forming a new political party, The Grand Old Tea Party. The Republican Party, which is conservative on social values and political values, is unlike the Tea Party, which is fiscally and economically conservative. If the Republican Party embraces not just the ideas of the Tea Party, but welcomes Tea Party members in the House and the Senate wholeheartedly into the new party, the American people will feel as though they have actually influenced politics. If the Republican majority does not appoint Tea Party members to major positions in the legislature and the party, the edge conservatives have now will be lost. The expectations of independents along the continuum to conservatives will be sacrificed on the altar of self-interest. What conservative politics in America, and indeed, the American future needs is to write a new book, AProfiles in Conservative Courage,@ showing that there are conservatives politicians who actually can govern virtuously. This is change we can believe in.
The current makeup of the Republican Party, fighting off the continuing onslaughts of Democrats, is unsustainable. It might be the influence of Saul Alinsky, it may be that Liberals are just childish brats who never grew up and thus do not have the ability to admit they have been mistaken and withdrawing gracefully to a loyal opposition. The fact is these people are brilliant, much better Than Republicans, at raw politics. Consider the John Roberts hearings. They would not allow Mr. Roberts to leave without a firm commitment to precedent. Make no mistake, they were not arguing on the basis of legal theory. Rather, they take the term "progressive" literally. The old saw of progress being two steps forward, one step back is entirely lost on true believers. They refuse, at almost any cost, to take any step backward. Indeed, look at the language that I am using. Progressives talk in terms steps forward and back. These are not concrete terms but the manipulation of language; Progressives know what they are doing. Conservatives are out of step in political language. What the GOTP can bring to the table is a new language, composed of direction, right and wrong, of correcting mistakes, not going backwards. The Tea Party offers the message that we are on the wrong track, headed in the wrong direction, and we must fix, not just ameliorate, these wrongs. The current Republican Party is incapable of either expressing these ideas or taking the ideas seriously.
What then is to be done? The GOTP must dedicate the next two years exclusively to economic issues. There are many substantive issues the Congress must deal with, to keep itself, as well as the country going. And of course, there is always the possibility of foreign affairs completely derailing the agenda. However, the new party must resist the tendency to broaden its appeal in order to win the next election. The GOTP will have been elected in order to create jobs and fundamentally change the way government interacts in the economy. Thus, for example, the GOTP must have an absolute ban on all earmarks. One of the things that annoy voters is when politicians go back on their promises. The GOTP, in order to be a truly different party, must gain the trust of the people. If we say we are going to do something we must do it at all costs. Going back on our word with Ajust one little earmark, which is crucial,@ will show we are just another bunch of hacks.
The GOTP must also be committed to truly changing the size of government. This can only be done with bold moves used intelligently. What I mean by this is not just turning off the White House lights or lowering the temperature in government buildings as Jimmy Carter did. The only truly effective way in which to cut the size of the federal government is to reinstate the powers which have been taken away by this Democratic Leviathan.
This necessitates two constitutional amendments: an amendment overturning the 17th amendment and a Federalism amendment. I fully understand the problems inherent in these moves. Understand what is at stake-the future! Here is where we can be truly imaginative in our politics. The need for overturning the 17th amendment I would hope is obvious. By effectively eliminating the states as a check on the national government, there is no longer an institutional structure in government invested in limiting the size of government. I think that the movement, that is exactly what we need a movement, on the 17th amendment should come from within Congress and, hopefully, move to the states. Not to sound like president Obama but this type of move will not occur overnight. This is why, tactically, we must reinvigorate the economy. If the GOTP does have success on the economy and brings substantive change, the people will begin to trust us. But only if we educate the nation why we are doing what we are doing. So, for example the privatization of Social Security should be discussed in terms of a free people, liberty loving individuals choosing to be responsible and govern themselves and not depend on big government.
The Federalism amendment is a necessary adjunct to overturning the 17th amendment. Ever since the end of the Civil War the concept of federalism has been declining to the point where today states think of themselves as entitled stepchildren of the federal government. Madison explained federalism in Federalist 45: "The powers delegated to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce....The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people." In a letter to Major John Cartwright Jefferson emphasized that the states are not hierarchically secondary to the national government. Both are "coordinate departments of one simple and integral whole...The one is the domestic, the other the foreign branch of the same government." In a letter to George Washington in 1791, Jefferson saw the 10th amendment as Athe foundation of the Constitution.@
In an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal on April 23, 2009, entitled, "The Case for a Federalism Amendment," Prof. Randy Barnett of Georgetown makes his case for this amendment. Basically, his suggestion for the amendment is a legally specific spelling out the logical implications of the 10th amendment prior to the first Progressive era. Indeed, the best possible amendment would be one that all people of goodwill would shrug their shoulders and say that this is all already in the Constitution. That is precisely the point: there is in the Constitution it has been lost and needs to be reiterated. The amendment would then serve notice the GOTP is serious about federalism. Indeed, one can see the states using the proposed amendment as a springboard to bringing cases before, eventually, the Supreme Court forcing courts to rule on another important element overturning power to the states, nullification. The federalism amendment should come from the states themselves. Article V provides that, "on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states," Congress "shall call a convention for proposing amendments." Before becoming law, any amendments produced by such a convention would then need to be ratified by three quarters of the states. I can feel the consternation in the air. However, if, as I argue, the future of liberty is at stake, we must take truly bold steps to correct the egregious mistakes of the past.
Prof. Barnett admits that this type of convention could get completely out of hand. But, Ait is precisely the fear of a runaway convention that states can exploit to bring Congress to heel.@
One problem I do have with Prof. Barnett's federalism amendment is that he proposes to overturn the 16th amendment, the income tax. While I understand that this might cut some of the national government=s power, command it is probable that in order to gain enough votes to repeal the 16th amendment, the opposition would demand, in the spirit of compromise, an alternative which would probably be revenue neutral. More importantly however, what does the 16th amendment have to do federalism?
Frank Easterbrook, in Are Constitutional Changes Necessary to Limit Government? argues that, A[B]y abolishing the apportionment requirement, the 16th Amendment gave the federal government the power to control 100% of the entire economy.... In that combination of powersCit=s right there, it=s a logical consequence of the 16th AmendmentCgives the federal government control over almost anything it chooses to control.@ But the 16th amendment does not confer a new power on the federal government. The ability to tax already existed 16th amendment removed the acquirement that taxes be apportioned. When one looks at the two amendments, which were passed at approximately the same time, one sees the wholesale removal of a crucial check on the expansion of federal government power.
And, as I noted above, we need to be very strategic in our language. The essence of the campaign should be we are returning government to we the people. Hoping that I have not lost those of you who now think I have gone into a fairytale, let me continue by saying that I can imagine the states, qua states, being against these moves. Indeed, state politicians would likely be against such a move. Federal funding to states in 2008 was approximately $450,000,000,000. By 2011 the states will undoubtedly have over one half trillion dollars to spend. This is free money for the states; citizens of the state to protect the Abenefits@ but state politicians do not bear the cost of raising taxes.
But think about exactly why politicians, from either party, would be against these moves; this is precisely what needs to be changed and if we are actually serious about change in the future, it is incumbent upon us, nay imperative, to institute real change which can only come if these two amendments are passed. Allow me to conclude by suggesting a way in which the GOTP might really change politics. The American people want change in politics. But there is an area which, much like the weather, we all talk about do-nothing: negative ads and negative campaigns. First, we know that politicians use negative campaigning because they work. However, in the spirit of Glenn Beck at the Lincoln Memorial, the GOTP must be the good guys.
A quick story about an acquaintance of mine who was running for office. He was going to be interviewed by a local DJ, not a political commentator. The DJ opened the interview with, "can you say one good thing about your opponent?" I knew this politician, he was a very good person, a very good father, a very good citizen. To my chagrin he answered, "well, I would like to but…." Immediately, and I am not proud of this, I punch my radio breaking the on-off button. This was well the knees my friend and reflected badly on him and his party. I say we can and must do better do better. Imagine if my friend had said "my opponent is a good person, he is a good father, he is a good husband, etc. Imagine a nationwide series of ads in which the GOTP candidate stands up and says "I respect my opponent but I disagree with him on these issues for these reasons. Thank you for your time." Imagine a series of ads in which the GOTP the candidates' opponent is shown or heard speaking in favor or against an issue; merely that politicians' words. Then, the GOTP candidate comes on the screen or the radio and merely says, "I disagree. Thank you for your time." This would be a stunningly new way in which to run campaigns. If we really think we are the good guys we must act like the good guys. We must be the change we want to see in the world.
(CCU Student) It’s November 7. The final ballots are being counted, and toss-up races are concluding in each of the states. Republicans have picked up sixty-one seats in the House of Representatives, regaining the majority that their Democratic counterparts have controlled since 2006. They captured another six seats in the Senate, conceiving a thorough enough presence of Republicans to prevent cloture. Conservatives nationwide should be delighted at the prospect of these events transpiring on election night; yet, the satisfaction that many Republicans such as myself sustain is severely fragmented. With an enthusiasm gap that favored the GOP from as many as fifteen percentage points, there was no reason to believe that the Republican Wave wouldn’t capture upwards sixty-five seats in the House and majority control of the Senate.
Though the likelihood of this emergence was nominal at best, all optimism of a GOP landslide was curtailed when the poll results hit Colorado heading westward. An ‘invisible wall’, as I refer to it as, halted GOP success from the Rocky Mountains West bound. Democratic Senators Michael Bennet, Barbara Boxer, and Patti Murray all prevailed in races that showed a GOP toss-up or lean. In a similar fashion, House GOP hopefuls Ryan Frazier (CO-7), Ruth McClung (AZ-7), David Hammer (CA-11), and John Koster (WA-2) each fell short in races that showed a slight Republican advantage. With an ad blitz that established the West as the ‘battleground’ of this years midterm election, there was no doubt that excruciatingly vital races were going to be close. But what exactly attributed to such a Democratic overhaul of the western House, Senate, and Gubernatorial seats?
In the West, voter turnout certainly was not an ally of the GOP on election night. I’m not referring to a low turnout by the Republicans, but rather, the surprisingly exceptional turnout by Democrats. It is well established that Democrats undoubtedly have substantial voter registration advantages in western states, but the momentum, concurrent with GOP enthusiasm, had appeared to outweigh this facet. While Republicans had employed an exceedingly outward Get Out the Vote notion, Democrats respectively garnered support with seemingly passive campaigning. Appearing quiescent for the past few months, the left was assumed to have been playing dead; however, the prevalence of Democrats in the voting booths proved all theories of the left sustaining a dormant attitude thoroughly incoherent with the message that western voters expressed on November 2.
A second critical facet of the West’s GOP downfall is attributed to its impervious reflection of support for the Tea Party candidates. With the exception of Ken Buck and Sharron Angle (whom ultimately, lost their races), a strong resistance to Tea Party candidates and an inability for the Tea Party supporters to back the party establishment candidates amounted to a disaster for Republicans on election night. For Tea Party favorites Ken Buck and Sharron Angle, many independents, as well as traditional GOP voters, found their policies too extreme, as portrayed heavily by their democratic opponents. Dating back to the primaries, the principles adopted by Tea Party candidates were never able to sink in or resonate with Western voters. In Washington State, Palin backed candidate Clint Didier was defeated handily by Dino Rossi. In California, conservative Chuck Devore was defeated soundly by businesswoman Carly Fiorina, in addition to Tea Party endorsed Steve Poizner losing his Gubernatorial bid against Meg Whitman. Considering countless examples of such occurrences, the Republican party placed many establishment candidates on the front line that were unable to win over independent voters in traditionally blue states. And with a heavy toll taken within the Republican Party due to fiercely fought primaries, many conservatives were turned off to voting for the GOP backed candidate. These factors spelt disaster for Republican hopefuls, because while Democrats presented viable candidates who faced little to no opposition early on, Republican candidates in some cases were still fighting to gain the support of voters within their own party from brutal primary skirmishes.
A third factor that immensely shaped the electorate shift to the left in western states was the advocacy of immigration. While support for immigration reform bolstered candidates throughout most the nation on election night, any endorsement of serious overhaul on immigration in the West completely backfired. According to National Journal, 64% of Hispanic voters backed Jerry Brown, 65% backed Barbara Boxer, 57% backed McCain opponent Rodney Glassman, and 71% opposed Jan Brewer’s reelection bid. In addition, staunch immigration restrictionist Tom Tancredo was defeated decisively by Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. The bottom line is that Hispanic voters turned out in an astonishing manner and voted overwhelmingly for Democrats. This was not so much a vote for Democrats, however, as it was a vote against Republicans and the hard stances taken by the GOP against illegal immigration.
If Republicans maintain any aspirations of taking back critical western Congressional and Senatorial battleground states such as Colorado, New Mexico, Washington, Nevada, and Arizona, it is essential for the GOP take a profound look within its values and beliefs system. In addition, it will become vital for Republicans to establish a universal set of principles and ideology that conservatives and independents can unite around in 2012. While 2010 was wildly successful for Republicans, 2012 will be a test of unification and cohesiveness within a party that is seeking an identity that this time around can inspire and captivate the West.
(Denver Post, Nov. 7) Chastened. ///
The one-word opening paragraph was a Denver trademark for the late, great Gene Amole, columnist for a paper that is no more, classical DJ for a station that is no more. You missed something special if you weren’t around when he was writing for the Rocky and broadcasting for KVOD.
Old Gene would not have gotten too wound up about the raucuous 2010 campaign and the odd election that mercifully terminated it on Tuesday. Neither should we. In electing some honorable people to represent us, while leaving the big political parties chastened, we did a pretty good day’s work for self-government.
The improvement was incremental, but all durable improvements in a free society are. Americans know that in our bones. It’s one of the things that make us a conservative-leaning nation. We instinctively sense the advantages of divided government as a brake on official mischief. Hence the wave of ticket-splitting in Colorado last week.
The same voters who extended Democrats’ lease on the governor’s office and the US Senate seat, elevating John Hickenlooper and retaining Michael Bennet, crossed over to support Republican challengers for two congressional seats and two constitutional posts – favoring Cory Gardner over Betsy Markey, Scott Tipton over John Salazar, Walker Stapleton over Treasurer Cary Kennedy and Scott Gessler over Secretary of State Bernie Buescher.
Citizens wisely refuse to give more than two cheers for either the Republicans or the Democrats as a trustworthy political brand. Each has forfeited trust on too many occasions. The chastening effect upon both parties’ leadership is only an inference so far. But if they’re not doing some introspection after this tough election cycle, the denial is beyond incurable.
Dems had a governor, in Bill Ritter, so vulnerable they had to hustle him offstage. The GOP had two gubernatorial finalists, in Scott McInnis and Dan Maes, so flawed that a force of nature named Tom Tancredo swooshed into the vacuum. Speaker Terrance Carroll’s majority in Denver got a similar pink slip to that of Nancy Pelosi in Washington. Republicans put a weak appointed senator seemingly down for the count, but they couldn’t knock him out.
As the red and blue twin dinosaurs lumbered through their paces again this year, I think something encouraging began to happen in people’s attitude about the whole ritual. Too often, politics is like that king in the Book of Daniel who conditioned his subjects to kneel before the golden idol on a trumpet call. It’s a con game to distract us from self-reliance. A better politics happens when folks get up on their hind legs and take responsibility. And isn’t that what the Tea Party and the 912 groups are all about?
Within a month of Barack Obama’s inaugural address calling for “a new era of responsibility,” many people began to conclude that his transformative collectivist vision for America was actually the height of irresponsibility. Grassroots organizing took off, inspired by the patriots of 1773 and soaked with bipartisan skepticism for government insiders. Colorado’s cranky electorate with its mixed verdict on Nov. 2 is one result.
Personal responsibility is the price of individual liberty. Personal responsibility is the antithesis of paternalistic bureaucracy, paralytic regulation, PC thought control, and profligate fiscal follies. It underlies the “Send me” spirit of the Tea Party. The new political force preaching responsibility and repentance to both parties, envisaged in a series of columns here since mid-2007 (I called it Element R) is now upon us.
Obama’s policy indiscipline and blame habit have long since discredited his faux-responsible pose. Moving into 2011, Americans will insist on the real deal. The Republican-Democrat duopoly, resuming business with a plate-full of state and federal problems, is on notice from the responsibility movement to get serious. That, or face an even stiffer chastisement next time.
On Friday evening, CCU political science students, as well as Centennial Institute Director John Andrews and Professor Gregory Schaller, attended an event at the Douglas County Events Center keynoted by radio host Hugh Hewitt and Former George W. Bush senior advisor Karl Rove. Making appearances amongst the peaks of their campaigns were Colorado congressional candidates Stephen Bailey (CD-2), Scott Tipton (CD-3), Cong. Doug Lamborn (CD-5), and Cong. Mike Coffman (CD-6). In an effort to stump for candidates in highly competitive races, Rove tied their Democratic opponents to the “Unholy Trinity” (Pelosi, Reid, Obama), and the imminent danger facing the United States should their failed policies take effect sans repeal.
The evening was energized upon the ‘Republican Wave’ that has now advanced into the most prominent battleground state of the West. With outside ‘527’ organizations spending record breaking amounts of funds on the Colorado senatorial and congressional races of 2010, Rove and Hewitt’s presence to invigorate a hopeful GOP audience could not have been more pertinent. With three House races, a US Senate seat, and the Gubernatorial race hinging on conservative and independent prevalence at the booths on November 2, Rove and Company urged Coloradans to spend the final days (or the 96 hours, as Hewitt called them, citing his visits to the state on each pre-election weekend since 2002) campaigning incessantly until the finish line has been crossed.
With each candidate providing a brief oration as to why they should be elected in their respective race, Hewitt proceeded by interviewing them and discussing with each the pressing issues facing Colorado voters in this election. This forum styled interrogation provided the audience a deeper look into the heart of each candidate’s views and beliefs on reform currently impacting Colorado. Scott Tipton spoke of restoring jobs to farmers and ranchers, while Coffman boldly encouraged Coloradans to cast their vote for Governor with third-party candidate Tom Tancredo. In their final attempt to leave a sustaining impact on voters, each candidate spoke candidly on key legislation and solutions that they aspire to bring to public office come January.
In the brief time allotted to his keynote address, Rove spoke with the intensity and vigor that has attracted millions of Americans across the country toward his movement. From touching on eight years of experiences in the White House to speaking on the future of the 2012 Presidential election, Rove’s rhetoric maintained a comfortable, yet stimulating viewpoint that harbored a great impact upon the audience. His thesis expressed that while many individuals label this midterm election as “the most important election since 1860”, the true battle begins on November 3, when Americans embark on the mission of defeating President Barack Obama in 2012. The audience reaction was nonetheless parallel, erupting with thunderous roars of approval to the charges that he continuously presented.
With a night that will not be forgotten by CCU students and staff, this evening only solidifies the progression that the political science department has undertaken to energize and excite the students of Colorado Christian University. An opportunity to hear from two of the most prominent conservative voices in the nation, we are exceedingly blessed as a University to sustain the privilege of attending a prestigious gathering such as this. I thank the Lord again and again for the leadership of John Andrews and President Bill Armstrong, as their passion for developing politically disposed students is cultivating an intellectual and inspired student body.