Five Elections That Mattered For Conservatism

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In 1970, a young conservative who once played professional football and served as an aid to California governor Ronald Reagan was elected in an upstate New York congressional district. He was a different kind of Republican from New York. Neither the heir to inherited wealth nor a seat on Wall Street, Jack Kemp, a football great for the Buffalo Bills, represented the hopes and aspirations of blue-collar, middle-class, hard-working Buffalo area constituents. He was also an idea man with cheerful energy and a winning personality. In today’s Washington of government shutdowns and funding disputes, a lot could be learned from Jack Kemp.

Kemp pushed ideas to the limit. He made these ideas understandable not only to average Americans but to opinion leaders as well. His advocacy for marginal tax rate reduction, urban enterprise zones, and empowering Main Street were to become the Republican agenda. His election in 1970 was consequential as the ideas he advocated became the cornerstone of Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign.

But, Reagan may never had led such a campaign had it not been for the 1976 North Carolina Republican primary. In 1976, Ronald Reagan challenged President Gerald Ford. The early primaries and caucuses did not go well for Reagan. There were calls for him to withdraw from the race, and money was drying up. However, Reagan stunned the establishment by winning the North Carolina Republican primary. His decisive victory in North Carolina saved his campaign, and he came within a few delegates of defeating an incumbent president for the nomination. Reagan’s victory in North Carolina ensured his place on the podium at the 1976 Republican Convention, and assured his place as the conservative leader in the Republican Party after Gerald Ford lost to Jimmy Carter. Reagan’s victory in the North Carolina primary fortified his leadership of the conservative movement and allowed him to lead conservative causes during Carter’s presidency, including opposition to the Panama Canal treaties.

In 1989, a congressman from the back benches decided to challenge Edward Madigan for Minority Whip of the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives. The improbable campaign of Newt Gingrich stunned Washington and excited conservatives across the country. Gingrich was an idea man, and was very interested in directly challenging the Democrats and liberals who controlled Capitol Hill. Unlike the more genteel Republican leadership, Gingrich sought to advocate conservative ideas through the use of the levers of the House and emerging media alternatives such as C-Span. His slim victory in the Republican caucus was consequential. He became the face and the strategist for the wave that eventually led to the Republican takeover of the House in 1994 and assured his election as the first Republican Speaker of the House since the 1950s. His leadership helped in part to reverse George H.W. Bush’s loss in 1992.

In 2010, a medical doctor from Bowling Green, Kentucky, began a campaign for the Republican nomination for the Senate. He was not the favored candidate of either the state Republican establishment or the national Republican establishment. However, Rand Paul won the Republican primary and was elected to the Senate in the Republican wave of 2010. Though the full consequences of his election are yet to be seen, his election to the Senate marked an important victory for the libertarian wing of the Republican Party where ideas of privacy, criminal justice reform, a restrained foreign policy, and personal liberty appeal to constituents not normally part of the Republican electorate. His ideas may play a major role in the 2016 presidential election.

In 2012, despite a very bad year for Republicans and conservatives, a young governor of Wisconsin beat back a recall election. Scott Walker became the first governor to survive a recall election in the nation’s history; and by 2014, he had won three statewide elections in Wisconsin. His efforts to curb the power of public employee unions, and the resolute stand he took in advocating his conservative positions, makes him a consequential leader of the Republican Party and the conservative movement.

Each of these elections have contributed to the conservative movement. Jack Kemp’s joyful advocacy of marginal tax rate reduction and economic liberty helped frame the 1980 election, Ronald Reagan’s unsuccessful race for president in 1976 assured his leadership of the conservative movement and set the stage for his victory in 1980, Newt Gingrich’s challenge to a genteel House Republican leadership set the stage for 1994, and today the emergence of Rand Paul and Scott Walker may very well define conservatism for a generation to come.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Ouch: Obama Might Be Seeing Newt Gingrich In His Nightmares After This Smack Down

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)

In a recent editorial published by CNN, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich took on Barack Obama’s disingenuousness and self-centeredness in the straightforward tone for which he is known. He began by lambasting White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest’s claim that Obama has greatly contributed to global tranquility.

Gingrich offered several examples of Obama acting more like a campaigner than a leader.

When the President refused to go to the U.S.-Mexico border last week to see the crisis of young people flooding into the United States because “he’s not interested in photo ops,” lesser mortals noted he had played pool with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper,dropped by a brewery to have a beer and shook hands with a man wearing a horse-head mask.

His lackluster response to global crises, Gingrich maintained, leaves much to be desired.

When he went to Delaware on Thursday and opened with a few sentences about the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner in Ukraine before joking about Joe Biden and going back to his prepared text on infrastructure, many thought he had failed to take seriously an international disaster. They were even less impressed when he had lunch at the Charcoal Pit and ordered burgers and fries (not a photo op, of course). It was not until 24 hours later that he took to the podium to promise an aggressive investigation.

The continuing threat of radical Islamic terrorism offers an even starker illustration of this point, he writes.

With the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria causing the collapse of Iraq and continued violence in Syria, the Syrian dictatorship consolidating its power, the Iranians failing to take steps to end their nuclear weapons program and Hamas firing more than 1,000 rockets at Israel, the President and his team have moved decisively to brief The New York Times on his passion for late-night intellectual dinners exploring physics, architecture and questions far more profound than the fate of the Middle East.

Instead of worrying about international events and issues affecting all Americans, he noted that Obama is generally more concerned with himself.

The President refers to himself when he asserts “the Bear is loose.” Of course with a President who last week used“I”, “my” or “mine” 207 times in one speech, the concept is beyond bizarre. The White House staff, thinking somehow that this was clever, promptly turned the phrase into a Twitter hashtag, #TheBearIsLoose.

Gingrich went on to note the distinct differences in leadership between Obama and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

Obama’s idea of a loose bear is an unplanned walk to a Starbucks near the White House. Putin’s idea of a loose bear is stealing Crimea. Obama’s idea of risk-taking is shooting pool with a Democratic governor. Putin’s idea of risk-taking is handing out anti-aircraft missiles to rebels in Ukraine. Putin’s actions remind us of a time when America was threatened by a real metaphorical bear, as a 1984 Reagan campaign ad referred to the Soviet Union.

His willful ignorance, Gingrich suggested, has prompted the rest of the Democrat Party to operate in a similar cocoon.

If you can reduce your presidency to a Starbucks visit, a man with a horse-head mask, shooting pool and visiting Joe Biden’s burger joint for lunch, you can have a successful presidency as you have defined it, even if the world is disintegrating.

The President’s detachment from reality is fast infecting the rest of his party. How else can we explain fellow Democrat and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stating this week that “the border is secure”?

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Is Mozilla CEO Victim Of “New Fascism”?

Newt Gingrich says Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich is a victim of the new facism that forced his resignation because of a donation to an anti-gay marriage campaign back in 2008. He was asked about this matter on ABC’s “This Week” last Sunday by Jonathan Karl.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Gingrich: Conservatives Can Lead The Smartphone Revolution

As personal technology becomes even more ubiquitous in the U.S., its usefulness in shaping our national culture is more apparent than ever before. During his speech to a receptive crowd at CPAC Saturday, former House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich explained how the political right can make the most of such advancements.

He began his remarks by lambasting the “prison guards” on the left who are determined to hold fast to the failed policies of the past.

In areas such as education, he explained, Democrat leaders like New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio are closing charter schools in an effort to keep the next generation locked into an ideologically driven public school system largely controlled by leftist teachers unions.

“If we had the current model” during America’s long periods of unparalleled advances, he continued, “the stage coach association would have passed a bill that limited trains to the speed of a horse.”

He described the proliferation of smartphone technology as the key to shaping America’s future, listing many ways these devices are poised to change our society and the methods leftists are using to halt that progress.

Users can now download applications for a litany of practical uses, including valuable public health advancements.

“The Food and Drug Administration, seeing the dramatic rise of applications … now wants to take over approving applications for smartphones,” Gingrich said, explaining this issue represents a prime opportunity for conservatives to appeal to a younger generation.

“Go out and talk to any college campus,” he suggested, and ask young adults how they would like “Washington bureaucrats” slowing down technological progress. “There’s a revolution coming and we have the opportunity to lead it.”

Technology is the great equalizer, allowing all individuals access to the same information. By embracing these developments, Gingrich said conservatives can “return power to the American people” while moving toward the common goal of “a much more limited government.”

He urged activists to “find pioneers you can work with,” explaining efforts are more fruitful at the local level.

Beginning with our founders, generations of Americans made this nation great through innovative thinking and risk-taking. If we are to continue that noble heritage, conservatives must take the initiative and prevent self-serving leftists from inhibiting progress in order to preserve their own flawed policies.

–B. Christopher Agee

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Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

WATCH Gingrich Take Apart Blitzer’s ‘Selective Outrage’ Over Nugent’s Comments

Former House Speaker and Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich let loose on CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer over the selective media outrage the media employs against conservatives, versus the pass liberals are routinely afforded.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom