Thursday, November 13, 2014

The New Faces Of Conservatism

Today I start a series on the new conservative politicians in the United States and their possible (or inevitable) future impact on American politics. This series will consist of several posts, number as yet to be determined by length....

Now that the midterms are over and the Republicans soundly defeated the Democrats nationwide, it's time to begin looking seriously at the 2016 presidential election - not only who the candidates should be but who has the best chance of winning.

Establishment Republicans and the main stream media have already put some indications out that they would support Jeb Bush should he decide to run. Jeb, the most liberal and progressive of the Bush family, did a decent job as governor of Florida but very few voters are interested in having another Bush in the White House. Some say he might be the only one who can beat Hillary. Personally, I doubt the Bush machine, just because he's a Bush, could ever beat the Clinton machine if it came down to it. And his liberal stance on immigration, amnesty and education have me turned off. Would I vote for him? I would if he is the only choice to keep another Democrat, particularly Hillary Clinton, out of the White House. But that would be the only reason.

Let's not forget that any Republican embraced by the main stream media cannot possibly be a good choice for the nation.

Others in the Republican elite are talking about Mitt Romney running again. While Romney would be far better than Bush for our economy and our world standing (given his vast and successful business experience), he took his shot and proved that he was unable and unwilling to stand up to strong opposition. Romney had so much ammunition to use against Obama during the 2012 election but being the nice guy that I truly believe he is, he declined to do so - and lost. Who can say if it would be different in 2016? He's still the same nice guy. I'd rather go with someone who didn't fall short last time.

Even John McCain has expressed an interest in another possible run. I won't even comment on that.

When Ronald Reagan ran for President in 1980, he ran on a conservative platform. He had been a Democrat until 1962, but had actually campaigned for Richard Nixon in 1960. He was also the President of the Screen Actors' Guild - one of the most powerful unions in Southern California. He became more and more conservative in the late 50s and became a Republican in 1962.

Following a successful stint as governor of California - possibly California's best years - Reagan ran for President in 1980 on a conservative platform of tax cuts and smaller government. Advisers, media and the Democrats said he couldn't win on that platform... but he did. His conservative policies reversed our pathetic economy and world standing left by Jimmy Carter and in 2004 he was re-elected - winning the popular vote in 49 of the 50 states!

Reagan had his problems. Of that there is no doubt. But his conservative principles made the country more prosperous, stronger all the way around, and made the world a safer place. "Peace through strength" was his motto. And it worked. Reagan's work eventually led to the fall of the Berlin Wall, even though it actually came about during the George HW Bush administration. Have no doubt that it was Reagan who made it happen. His famous statement: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall," still resonates with the call of freedom.

Fast forward to 2016. The United States needs a conservative leader. Conservative policies and principles have proved over and over that they work. There are blinding examples in the country today. Let's take a look at a few.

Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin

In 2010, Wisconsin was in a state of economic turmoil. Unemployment was high, as were the state's budget deficits. Public employee unions and pensions were factors that were draining the state's funds. Walker ran on conservative principles and policies and won with 52% of the vote. After being sworn into office, Walker, in 2011, introduced a controversial budget repair plan which limited many collective bargaining rights for most public employees.

The legislation made more than $1 billion in cuts to the state's biennial education budget in addition and $500 million in cuts from the state's biennial Medicaid budget. Both were challenged and, following court battles, both survived, along with new voter ID laws. 

Unions went crazy after Walker signed the new legislation. They organized, both inside and outside the state, and protested for weeks. But the bill passed and the state's economy began to improve. The unions campaigned against Walker from all angles, collecting money from labor unions and liberals from around the country. In 2012, a recall election was held in an attempt to toss Walker from office. It failed. Walker defeated the challenge and became the only governor in the United States to survive a recall election. He must be doing something right.

Walker's conservative approach to governing has worked. When he took over as governor in 2011 the state had a deficit of $3.6 billion. Today the state has a surplus of over $900 million. Unemployment has fallen from 9.2% to 6.3%. Liberal critics say Walker's job growth isn't impressive and that there are other deficits that have not been addressed. But the state is in far better shape than it was. Facts are difficult for some liberals to swallow.

Scott Walker ran on his record for re-election this year and won with over 52% of the vote compared to his Democrat challenger with 46.6%. Critics called it a close race but given the fact that Democrats and unions from all over the country helped his opposition I'm thinking that the 5+ point spread wasn't all that close.

Walker's conservative principles are working in Wisconsin just as Reagan's did in Washington. And it's only the beginning.

To be continued....

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