I’m hearing from many that not only Romney, but Gingrich and Santorum are all “big government” Republicans. I’m seeing especially a lot of Ron Paul-bearers with almost no sense of history (or perspective) publishing article after article that only they are the “true” conservatives. The idea is that anyone proposing ANYTHING other than complete removal of all subsidies, entitlements, dismantling of EPA, DOC, DOE, DOE, TSA, and the US Forestry Service (Yogi’s been freeloading long enough!) is just not good enough for a “true conservative.” I suspect a lot of this is coming from a Mr. Glenn Beck who no longer can be given the benefit of doubt on his views, no matter how much good he has done the conservative movement.
There is a predominantly Libertarian view that the collection of taxes should be confined to paying for the operation of the 3 branches, building and equipping an army that ONLY protects the shores of the United States and expects to do everything else with the exception of ensuring trade between the states.
The impression is that we don’t need a Federal Reserve AT ALL and we should simply privatize the Post Office. Of course that thinking might be slightly challenged when they learn the early congress authorized the printing of Bibles. Hardly seems like a function of a government of which Ron Paul would approve.
It will especially increase the desire for the decriminalization of marijuana and other hard drugs when they learn that the 9th bill passed by the US Congress established US Treasury funds to build a lighthouse for Chesapeake Bay. Let’s call it the first earmark. Now certainly private industry used the seaway and there must have been quite a few other areas that could use a nice lighthouse. Why should the citizens of Georgia pay for a lighthouse for the Yankees? (Of course the second question is, “when do we get ours?”)
I’m not so sure George, John and Thomas would have approved however of the money, time and attention wasted on celebration of National Lighthouse Day, celebrating the expenditure of public funds for freaking lighthouse. I’m not sure they would have laughed, cried or declared another revolution.
They DID ay for this lighthouse by raising taxes on ships entering the harbor until in 1801, after which the US Government (aka/ WE) just paid for it straight out of the Treasury. I suppose you could argue National Security concerns although I can’t find reference to it. By the second year our founders of the greatest representative democracy ever known began regulating fisheries. That certainly had no national security interest. So much for a clearly “free market,” as some of misguided libertarian friends might argue.
In the insane rantings of Glenn Beck (the recent ones) he supposes Newt Gingrich is the second coming of Karl Marx because he praised FDR. (Pssst. Don’t tell him that was one of Ronald Reagan’s favorites also.) But what Mr. Beck never seems to research is the incredible accomplishment of leadership. Without a strong GOVERNMENT leader who understood not just WHAT to do – but HOW to approach it – we likely never would have defeated Germany in time. It is still one of the greatest victories of the world that we mobilized an army, retrofitted an economy and culture, manufactured the necessary goods and equipped an army for two massive wars simultaneously. And we won it in 4 years and put everyone back to work. Even GOPAC founder Pete Dupont was posed this question in 1996.
Q: When Newt Gingrich starts talking about
Franklin D. Roosevelt as one of his most impressive heroes, does that make you a little nervous?
Du Pont: No, because Franklin Roosevelt was a President who had to govern at a time of crisis, so was Abraham Lincoln, so was Winston Churchill, the leader of the British, at a time of crisis. And if you're going to make fundamental changes in the way a nation thinks, you have to have the ability to take the crisis of the moment and use it to shape an agenda.
Franklin Roosevelt was very good at that. We don't particularly agree with the way his agenda turned out, though to tell you the truth, I think it was more Lyndon Johnson's fault than Franklin Roosevelt's. Nevertheless, he was a great leader. He saw how to use the levers of power to affect change. No wonder Newt appreciates that because that's what he sees too.
(It is worth noting that Dupont turned over GOPAC to Gingrich to run and thought Gingrich was the defender of the conservative movement. More on that here.)
So is Gingrich in love with Government as Beck bellows? The Georgia Congressman has been consistent in reciting the same story for 50 years:
PBS: "I got active in this business of politics and self-government in 1958, when my father, who was serving in the U.S. Army, took us to the battlefield of Verdun." The boy stared at the bone pile left by the great battle, and "over the course of the weekend, it convinced me that civilizations live and die by, and that the ultimate margin in a free society of our fate is provided more by, elected political leadership than by any other group. That in the end it's the elected politicians that decide where we fight and when we fight and what the terms of engagement are, and what weapons systems are available." That awakening, he says, led to a 180-page term paper on the balance of world power. When he turned in the paper, he informed his teacher that his family was being transferred to Fort Benning, Georgia, where he would become a Republican congressman.
In the last Florida debate, it was quite amazing “Mr. RomneyCare” tried to indicate that government couldn’t help create jobs. As Gingrich explained in the transition from Carter to Reagan, lowering taxes and reducing regulation and bureaucracy DOES help entrepreneurs create jobs. (Hmmm. Is this lack of understanding why Romney was 47th out of 50 Governors in job creation in his single term as Governor?) If you think about it, government helped ensure equality for blacks, protected intellectual property, made possible home ownership to QUALFIED home buyers in areas with no capital, and facilitated commerce, communications, and technology creation from nuclear energy to microwaves which would have been near impossible to develop in private enterprise.
And frankly, reading Heritage Founder and Conservative Icon Paul Weyrich, state that Gingrich’s conservatism is based in limited government and government reform I now see Gingrich as closer to Ronald Reagan than what I remember living through the 80’s. After his initial Department of Education vote (a professor thing, maybe?), he voted with Reagan’s agenda which resulted in the closing of 12 of 94 departments. (Hopefully he learned his lesson on the SBA. After cutting the budget by more than half, it ballooned to 10X it’s original size. Got to kill ‘em dead or they come back stronger.) You can’t fake votes. A 90% ACU rating over 30 years makes you wonder how ANYONE could buy that lie much less propagate it.
Beck believes Calvin Coolidge to be the greatest conservative President who ever lived (after Washington I hope) but thinks Newt Gingrich is disqualified for office since he has said that Teddy Roosevelt was his favorite President. (Beck considers the Buck Stop Here Prez a Progressive patriarch.) I am not quite sure how Beck reconciles the fact that it was Coolidge who chose Theodore Roosevelt to be on Mt. Rushmore. And for all I know, maybe he considers Ronald Reagan a “progressive” because he went out of his way to make a special proclamation of “Theodore Roosevelt Day” to honor the founder of the Bull Moose party. Maybe all those survival rations Glenn’s been eating are past expiration? Enquiring minds…aw hell, we really don’t give a damn.
But “HOW BIG SHOULD GOVERNMENT BE” is very important question. Many of us deplore SOPA wanting true freedom, while the Santorum-minded have legitimate concerns over child pornography.
I have a feeling that since we have witnessed THIS administration ignore the law and abuse it’s power on China, ObamaCare, the offshore Gulf oil, business, Eric Holder’s refusal on Fast & Furious subpoena, etc, etc., we are not only going to want reform but also stronger guarantees government can’t grow without Constitutional authority.
Most of us agree that a strong defense is critical in the age of the terminal cancer of radical Islam, an increasingly arrogant China and the little crazy dictators from Hugo to “New North Ko.” Santorum may be the strongest in this department closely followed by Gingrich and Romney. Our Constitution provides a taxing authority best addressed by the tax reformation plans of Gingrich or Paul. Strangely Santorum and Romney only tweak the system. Entitlement reform certainly is only addressed by Gingrich and Santorum although Paul and Romney make obscure speeches without much detail.
Which leads us to one question: How in the name of Silence Dogood do you actually DO this?
There are probably less than 9 “true” conservatives in the Senate (Jim DeMint being somewhat the gold standard) and 20 or 30 in the House. Even supposed “real” conservatives like Paul Ryan and Alan West wouldn’t stand on the debt ceiling/budget fight to “hold the line” with Jim DeMint so that number is even squishy.
Reagan got his tax cuts and reforms through because he got the American people behind so much, the Democrats and liberal Republicans caved for fear of their own seats. (That is a bit simplistic. Of course there were many more conservative Democrats back then who truly wanted to do the right thing for the country.)
Reagan used ALL of his political “goodwill” from the election to implement the “supply side” tax cuts. It took 2½ years to kick in, and he could not get the same support as his personal approval ratings dove with the failing economy. By the time the economy kicked in, it was reelection time and ideas like shutting down the Department of Education, welfare reform and the like often had to be traded for compromises on more pressing priorities.
The 2008-2010 Democrat Congress with Obama is another good study in leadership. Al Capone style. Obama also was able to use his initial political capital to pass STIMULUS and didn’t even attempt to get GOP support. We forget that Congress passed all sorts of smaller legislation over objections of the GOP and we all cheered when Scott Brown (R-MA) got elected. But threats, bribes (remember the $100 Million ObamaCare vote?) and Senate rule manipulations allowed the Democrats to pass the largest government boondoggle in history and they admit they didn’t even read it!) How? Leadership.
One then craters and stops all other desires of the ruling party – the other allows a second generation to continue. In the case of Reagan, Gingrich’s Contract With America was the one to benefit and build on doing it in cooperation with American acceptance. Thirty years of conservative ideas were implemented in a few years with a Democratic President leading Time magazine and others to define Gingrich as a de facto President – since he was the one setting the national governing agenda and not the President. (Clinton went from bad to worse with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and HillaryCare – again trying to push things the American people weren’t sold on yet.)
It is interesting that the Ron Paul and “true conservatives” somehow think that a Presidential who wants to impose all of these extreme cuts and limitations to government will:
- Somehow succeed in getting a majority of GOP voters to get nominated (although truly Big Government Romney is showing he is currently selling better),
- Somehow succeed in convincing at least another 20% of Americans who AREN’T disposed to conservative principles to buy this plan,
- Somehow convince a super majority of Senators and a majority of Congress to buy into ideas like withdrawing troops from around the world and closing the Federal Reserve when a large number of Republicans disagree with let alone a significantly higher number of Democrats.
At some point the public has to be SOLD. Gingrich did a pretty damn good job, leaving with a 60% approval rating of the Congress he formed which registered only 20% when he took over as Speaker. Why? He EXPLAINED why these concepts would work. (It also doesn’t hurt that he selected ideas already with a large approval.)
It explains why Heritage Founder Paul Weyrich pleaded with Gingrich NOT to run for President against Clinton in a second term. Weyrich THOUGHT Gingrich would win and destroy any chance of keeping the complex and fine balance of 435 Congressmen and women under GOP influence. That is a pretty high recommendation of someone’s leadership skills and a pretty damning commentary on the whole “he was kicked out” notion.
I was guilty of being upset with Gingrich on being in favor of the Senior Medicare Drug program. But Gingrich made two points these past two weeks that is causing me to reconsider. First, he understood that in a prosperous time of our country, there wasn’t a receptivity to MAJOR Medicare reform and we taxpayers were paying $250,000 for open heart surgery when Lipitor costs $1,800 per year. (Don’t get me started on the ignorance of most people on chelation – a one time cost of as little as $2,000.)
Secondly, at the time he saw it as a way to start to migrate entitlements back to a free enterprise model with Health Savings Accounts. Just read how upset liberals were with this component of the bill. Some even SAID he would use it to dismantle Medicare (and kill off old people of course. Liberals are only creative in Hollywood.)
It makes what Gingrich (and Clinton) did in the 90’s quite amazing. It also should wake up conservatives we have a fine line. Too moderate and like Bob Dole in ‘96 and John McCain in ‘08 and you’ll never draw a clear enough distinction from Democrats who will lie about anything. Too wild and aggressive of a Libertarian approach and you’ll be the only engine on the track with no box cars and no caboose to follow.
It is necessary to understand that there is not just POLICY requisites in our candidate to remove Obama, but also POLITICAL STRATEGY beyond the campaign trail. A leader is needed who can mobilize a national sweep of not just GOP Senate and Congressional wins, but conservative ones.
So who fits that mold? The checklist:
- A true conservative compass on economic, domestic, and foreign policy,
- Someone who has a passion to reform government not just manage it,
- Someone who has a passion to fight liberal ideology in the media and government,
- An ability to coalesce the GOP,
- An ability to inspire and not scare average Americans,
- An ability to educate America on conservative principles,
- An ability to engineer sweeping legislation that will not only pass both Houses of Congress, but will be supported by Americans,
- An ability to create the recruiting, funding and messaging of conservatives nationwide to take conservative control in both houses
- Someone who will do what they say, even if it is unpopular.
I wish I could say that I see some hope of Ron Paul becoming more inline with the foreign policy of John Bolton.
I wish I could see that Rick Santorum had some ability to get people in his own party to follow him so I’d know he could appeal to America.
I wish I could know that Mitt Romney would do what he now says he will do - when as Governor he didn’t when he could have.
And I wish I could believe that Newt Gingrich will see pure conservative boundaries in the ideas birthed from great brainstorms on solving this country’s problems.
Then I remember Reagan. Who seemed to have all of the traits above. And he still signed Simpson Mazzoli amnesty. He still raised taxes. He still allowed too much government growth. And he wasn’t immune to scandals being accused of him and his administration.
And it still turned out pretty well.