Five Elections That Mattered For Conservatism

American Spirit /  American Spirit /

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

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

The Senate Just Stood Up To Obama And Slapped Him Down By A Vote Of 98 To 1

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The Senate overwhelmingly rejected President Obama’s budget plan Tuesday, nearly voting unanimously in opposition to his proposal.

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On Tuesday, the Senate voted 98 to 1 rejecting President Obama’s $4 trillion budget. After ten years, it is slated to result in massive federal deficits, according to National Review. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., was the only Senator to vote in the affirmative.

There was some dispute, however, as to whether or not the budget voted upon by the Senate reflected fully upon President Obama, as the package did not include a minimum-wage increase. “This is the president’s proposed budget.” asserted Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.

“Since 2011, it’s only gotten two votes for the president’s proposed budget, 1,023 votes against,” Cornyn added.

“It is not what President Obama presented to the American people,” countered Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Sanders is the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee.

This is hardly the first time the president has experienced trouble pushing a budget through the Senate. They were rejected 97 to 0 and 99 to 0 in 2011 and 2012 respectively, when Democrats controlled the upper chamber. The budget passed in 2013 was the first one green-lighted in four years.

Both the House and the Senate are debating budget proposals this week. One key point of debate in composing the budget for the GOP is whether or not to increase defense funding.

In the Senate, any member can propose an amendment, resulting in what seems like an endless amount of votes on their end.

While he is uncertain whether or not he will vote for a bill that does not increase funding for the Pentagon, Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., tells Politico he likes the idea of a ‘Queen of the Hill’ format– that is, whichever proposal has the most votes is the proposal the caucus chooses.

“I like that idea. Whatever one gets the most votes, let that prevail. It works,” Harris said.

h/t: BizPac Review

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

Watch: Sen. Rand Paul Describes What Makes Him Different From Sen. Ted Cruz

Megyn Kelly, Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., joined Megyn Kelly on Fox News to explain – in light of Senator Ted Cruz’s announcement for presidency – how he is different from other Republicans,–and namely, more likely to win against Cruz.

“So I spent the last couple of years trying to go places Republicans haven’t gone, and maybe not just throwing out red meat, but actually throwing out something intellectually enticing to people who haven’t been listening to our message before,” Paul said.

“I guess what makes us different is probably our approaches to how we would make the party bigger,” Paul added. “I’m a big believer that you should stand on principle and be true to your principles, but I also think that we should take those principles and try to bring in new people with them.”

Those new people, he argues, are audiences outside the GOP spectrum and located in places like Howard University, the Urban League, NAACP, Ferguson, and Berkeley.

“Ted Cruz is a conservative, but it also goes to winnability, and people will have to make a decision, which is the Republican that can not only excite the base, but can also bring new people into the party without giving up the principles,” Paul said. “I think what you end up needing, … is you do want someone whose a fighter.”

h/t: The Blaze

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

Be Informed And Watch Government ‘Like A Hawk!’

Albert H. Teich /  Albert H. Teich /

It’s inevitable that citizens would often feel frustrated with their elected officials. After all, it’s impossible to please all the people all of the time; and if they are, they likely aren’t doing their job. But there is one thing that likely is felt universally by constituents of all ideological persuasions: our elected officials work for us and represent us and our interests; and they should never forget their role of serving in our behalf.

Every once in a while, something in our popular culture will capture such universally felt sentiments. Such was the case several years ago with a movie titled Protocol, starring Goldie Hawn (mother to actress Kate Hudson).

In the film, Hawn plays the role of a loveable, yet somewhat ditzy waitress in D.C. who happens to save the life of a visiting Emir from the Middle East. For her heroism, the State Department rewards her with a job serving in the Protocol Division and then initiates a scheme to marry her off to the Emir whose life she’d saved, in exchange for a new military base to be constructed in the Emir’s country.

When the plan unravels and comes to light, Sunny (Hawn’s character) is hauled before a congressional committee to answer to her involvement in the scheme that has been affectionately dubbed “Sunnygate.” Her response is classic and reminds us all of some of our responsibilities as American citizens.

As the committee chairman begins the hearing, he declares his intent to find out who was responsible. Sunny responds, “I’m responsible!” She then explained why. “You want to know something? Before I worked for the government, I’d never read the Constitution. I didn’t even begin to know how things worked. I didn’t read the newspaper, except to look up my horoscope. And I never read the Declaration of Independence. But I knew they had, the ones we’re talking about, the experts, they read it. They just forgot what it was about. That it’s about ‘We, the People.’ And that’s ME. I’m ‘We, the People.’ And you’re ‘We, the People.’ And we’re all ‘We, the People,’ all of us.

“So when they sell me that ten cent diamond ring or down the river or to some guy who wears a lot of medals, then that means they’re selling ALL of us, all of ‘We the People.’ And when YOU guys spend another pile of money and when you give away or sell all those guns and tanks, and every time you invite another foreign big shot to the White House and hug and kiss him and give him presents, it has a direct effect on ‘We the People’s’ lives.”

“So if we don’t, I mean if I don’t know what you’re up to, and if I don’t holler and scream when I think you’re doing it wrong, and if I just mind my own business and don’t vote or care, then I just get what I deserve. So now that I’m a private citizen again, you’re going to have to watch out for me. ‘Cause I’m going to be watching all of you. Like a hawk.”

There are some notable principles embedded in that inspiring response. First was the concept of personal responsibility. How often do we see people, whether in public life or in their personal lives, not take responsibility for their actions, or refuse to stand up against those who ultimately are culpable? It’s becoming as uncommon as common sense. Someone, or something, else is always to blame for poor decisions, bad plans, and/or ill-spoken words. And regrettably, it seems most obvious in the realms of government, where all too few feel they’re accountable to the electorate for their actions.

Next, Sunny reminded us that, as citizens, it’s our responsibility to be knowledgeable and proactive citizens. If we let our elected officials get away with things that are unconstitutional or illegal, we’re at least partly to blame. After all, collectively, we are the ones who put them in their position of responsibility; and they are, or at least should be, accountable to us.

That’s one of the beauties of the American governance model: we hire them to protect us and our interests and our rights as citizens. If we’re not proactive, they can increasingly feel like they’re accountable to no one, least of all us. When they start feeling entitled to their perks of office, and taking us, their employers, for granted, they’ve outlived their usefulness; and it’s time to retire them.

Such a level of proactivity will only be efficacious if we’re knowledgeable of our founding documents to know the proper role of governance, and if we keep ourselves apprised of what our government attempts to do for, and to, us. Too many of us are illiterate when it comes to our founding documents and don’t bother to keep informed of what those in government are doing. I think this is what Winston Churchill was referring to when he said, “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

I think FDR would have approved of Sunny’s response to the congressional panel; for FDR himself said, “Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.”

It’s unusual to garner anything substantive from movies, and so something like Goldie Hawn’s eloquent speech before a congressional committee stands out rather starkly. Although she’s a fictional character, Sunny represents what should be the best in all of us, as citizens, as we educate ourselves, keep informed, and watch our elected officials “like a hawk!”

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

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

Neil Cavuto: Huckabee Has One Trait That Could Propel Him To The White House


Though others in the field of likely Republican presidential candidates have aligned themselves with wealthier supporters, Fox Business’ Neil Cavuto recently maintained former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee nevertheless has a distinct advantage heading into the 2016 election cycle.

He lambasted those who claim “no one who appeals to the religious right could dominate the secular political stage” and win a national election.

“Says who?” he asked. “The same experts who dismissed Rick Santorum until it turns out he actually won Iowa last go round? Or a fellow named, I don’t know, Jimmy Carter, who did the same thing for Democrats in 1976?”

Cavuto noted that both candidates achieved their respective successes despite limited campaign financing.

“I’m not saying Huckabee will win if he enters the Republican presidential race,” he acknowledged, “but I am saying he has just as good a chance as anyone else entering this presidential race.”

While some White House hopefuls rely on the deep pockets of their donors, Cavuto explained Huckabee enjoys the support of many who “clearly have passion – and that counts for a lot in early voting.”

Though it remains to be seen if that support can boost Huckabee all the way to the White House, the host indicated that it will certainly be “enough to make the mainstream crowd rethink the appeal of folks like him … who all seem to appeal to this unique, vibrant … [and] very loyal base.”

Cavuto concluded with his point that any so-called expert willing to write-off Huckabee already is doing so prematurely.

“Beware of consensus that says God has no chance,” he said, “or at least those candidate who freely quote God have no chance.”

He recalled that “mentioning the Creator didn’t exactly hurt a fellow named Ronald Reagan just as four years earlier, constantly talking about being born again didn’t hurt a fellow named Jimmy Carter.”

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