Monday, February 3rd, 2014 and is filed under Uncategorized
[This op-ed from our Chairman, Jim Ryun, was originally published last August in the USA Today.]
As a former conservative member of Congress, I learned that legislative battles are won or lost long before the votes are cast in Congress. If we want to win legislative battles, we have to win electoral wars first. Many of those start in primaries against establishment Republicans who have either become complicit in the endless expansion of the federal government or feckless in stopping its aggressive champions.
Over the past year, my political action committee, The Madison Project has had the opportunity to help recruit a number of conservatives who understand the gravity of our public policy problems and are willing to fight for solutions that will fundamentally restore our constitutional republic. They are committed to promoting a new standard in Washington – one in which principled leaders actually fight and win battles for conservatives. They will do whatever it takes to shrink the size of government – including filibusters against harmful legislation in the Senate or voting against rules to consider bad legislation backed by GOP leadership in the House.
Next year we will have a number of opportunities to elect these new principled Republicans – all in conservative-leaning red states. There are opportunities in Democrat-held seats in Louisiana, Arkansas, Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia, Alaska, and North Carolina. And yes, there are Republican seats in Kentucky, South Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, Wyoming and others currently being wasted on Republicans of yesteryear.
We are proud to have already made some bold endorsements this year. We backed Coast Guard veteran Art Halvorson against Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster in Pennsylvania. This is a clear race between a status quo Republican committed to the policies of meddlesome federal control versus a principled outsider committed to shrinking the size of government.
And there’s Louisville businessman Matt Bevin who’s challenging the sitting Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell. McConnell’s quiet support for backroom deals and lack of leadership to fight the legislative battles needed to move our country in the right direction, has undercut conservatives in the Senate for years. We are proud to be the first national organization to support this historic conservative insurgency to empower the grassroots over the party establishment.
Some Washington insiders are questioning our motives and wondering why we are “moving the goal posts,” while asking so much more from elected Republicans then we have in the past. These skeptics are failing to learn from the mistakes of the past.
We must learn from the successes and failures of the past generation of conservatives. They rose to the moment and fought the battles of their era. But we now know that, despite their best efforts, we failed to stop what is becoming an inescapable slide into socialism. We have almost $17 trillion in debt, the monstrosity that is Obamacare, 48 million peopleon food stamps, 72 million on Medicaid, and government subsidies and mandates governing every aspect of our economy and private lives. It’s no longer enough to elect mild-mannered pale-pastel types who will merely slow the inexorable growth of government when they control Congress, following years of massive growth during Democrat control. We must elect fighters who are willing to use pressure points such as the debt ceiling or budget bills to force transformational change.
Despite his successes in slowing the growth of government, even President Reagan felt that more was needed to hold back the tide of a meddlesome federal government. It’s for this reason President Reagan proposed America’s Economic Bill of Rights in 1987, a set of sweeping constitutional amendments mandating a balanced budget and banning wage and price control. Reagan reportedly tolda young Newt Gingrich, “Well, some things you’re just going to have to do after I’m gone.”
Unfortunately, instead of building on Reagan’s successes, the GOP went backwards with the Bush Republicans, saddling us with Obama and the calamity that has ensued as a result of his presidency.
If we want more Republicans who won’t blink during battle – who will learn from past mistakes and do whatever it takes to change the current pathway to peril – we must be willing to do battle with the Republican Party of the past during the upcoming primary season.
It’s time to change the way the game is played.