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

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.”

Share this article on Facebook if you would support a Christian presidential candidate.

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

Michele Bachmann’s Recent Facebook Post Lands Knockout Punch To Obama’s Foreign Policy


A simple meme can sometimes carry a more potent message than a well-researched article, a fact on display with a Facebook post by former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann. Superimposed over an image of Ronald Reagan, the image states, “If I was still president ISIS would be WasWas.” Scroll down to view the entire image.

As of this writing, more than 25,000 Facebook users ‘liked’ the image, while nearly as many shared it to their own newsfeeds.

Criticism of Barack Obama’s approach to the terrorist network based in Iraq and Syria has been the object of varied and widespread criticism as ISIS continues to pose a threat to the region and far beyond the Middle East.

His apparent comparison of Christian atrocities of centuries past to the current rise in Islamic terrorism led to significant backlash following the recent National Prayer Breakfast event at which his remarks were made.

Obama has further been lambasted for his administration’s anemic response to the growing threat, with some, including former U.S. Rep. Allen West, asserting that he – along with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – created an environment in which ISIS could spread its deadly message.

The meme shared by Bachmann packaged the prevailing conservative sentiment succinctly, giving readers a catalyst through which to voice their own opinion.

With nearly 1,000 comments, it is clear the majority of those who saw the image agree with its statement.

Facebook/Michele Bachmann

Facebook/Michele Bachmann

“Too bad we can’t have this president again,” one user wrote.

Another comment suggested that the world “would be a better place if we always asked ourselves WWRD? (What Would Reagan Do?) Before we did anything.”

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

Today Would Have Been President Ronald Reagan’s 104th Birthday

The White House

Ronald Reagan was born FEBRUARY 6, 1911.

A graduate of Eureka College in Illinois, 1932, he worked as a life guard and then announced for radio stations in Iowa.

He became a sports announcer for Chicago Cubs baseball games and traveled with the team.

While with the Cubs in California, Reagan auditioned with Warner Brothers, landing a contract doing “B films.”

He was also a Captain in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.

During his career as an actor, he appeared in over 50 films.

He married actress Jane Wyman and had children Maureen, Christine (died a day old), and Michael (adopted).

Reagan was elected President of the Screen Actors Guild, switched from Democrat to Republican, and eventually became Governor of California.

His second marriage to Nancy Davis, 1952, gave them children Patti and Ron.

At age sixty-nine, he was the oldest person elected U.S. President, and sixty-nine days after his inauguration, he survived an assassination attempt.

Reagan stated at St. John’s University in New York, March 28, 1985:

Government that is big enough to give you everything you want is more likely to simply take everything you’ve got.

Reagan remarked to the Heritage Council, Warren, Mich., October 10, 1984:

Henry David Thoreau was right: that government is best which governs least.

In his 1964 speech, A Time for Choosing, Reagan stated:

I suggest to you there is no left or right, only an up or down. Up to the maximum of individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism; and regardless of their humanitarian purpose, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have, whether they know it or not, chosen this downward path.

Reagan stated in Beijing, China, April 27, 1984:

I have seen the rise of fascism and communism. Both philosophies glorify the arbitrary power of the state… But both theories fail.

Both deny those God-given liberties that are the inalienable right of each person on this planet, indeed, they deny the existence of God.

On March 20, 1981, at the Conservative Political Action Conference Dinner, Mayflower Hotel, Washington, DC, Reagan stated:

Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid. That’s why the Marxist vision of man without God must eventually be seen as an empty and a false faith – the second oldest in the world – first proclaimed in the Garden of Eden with whispered words…”Ye shall be as gods.”

The crisis of the Western world…exists to the degree in which it is indifferent to God.

On May 17, 1982, in a proposed Constitutional Amendment on Prayer in Schools, President Reagan stated:

Our liberty springs from and depends upon an abiding faith in God.

President Reagan proclaimed:

Now, therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, in recognition of the contributions and influence of the Bible on our Republic and our people, do hereby proclaim 1983 the “Year of the Bible” in the United States.

I encourage all citizens, each in his or her own way, to reexamine and rediscover its priceless and timeless message.

Reagan wrote in his article, “Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation,” The Human Life Review, 1983:

Lincoln recognized that we could not survive as a free land when some men could decide that others were not fit to be free and should be slaves…

Likewise, we cannot survive as a free nation when some men decide that others are not fit to live and should be abandoned to abortion.

At the Alfred M. Landon Lecture Series, 1982, Reagan stated:

We can’t have it both ways. We can’t expect God to protect us in a crisis and just leave Him over there on the shelf in our day-to-day living. I wonder if sometimes He isn’t waiting for us to wake up, He isn’t maybe running out of patience.

At Reunion Arena in Dallas, 1984, Reagan stated:

Without God there is no virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience….without God there is a coarsening of the society; without God democracy will not and cannot long endure….

America needs God more than God needs America. If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under.

In 1961, Reagan stated:

One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project…

James Madison in 1788…said… ‘There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations’…

What can we do about this?… We can write to our congressmen and our senators… Say right now that we want no further encroachment on these individual liberties and freedoms… We do not want socialized medicine…

If you don’t, this program I promise you will pass…and behind it will come other federal programs that will invade every area of freedom as we have known…until, one day…we will awake to find that we have socialism.

And…you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children, what it once was like in America when men were free.

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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

Remembering Martin Anderson

Nixon Presidential Library and Museum

Lou Cannon has a nice remembrance in RealClearPolitics of Martin Anderson, the economist and adviser to Ronald Reagan who died last week at 78. He touches on all of Anderson’s accomplishments, from his successful advocacy in the Nixon White House to abolish the military draft to his unearthing, with his wife Annelise Anderson and Kiron Skinner, the handwritten drafts of Ronald Reagan’s radio speeches, which show the impressive breadth of Reagan’s reading and depth of his thinking.

Let me add one more item to the list: Anderson’s 1964 book “The Federal Bulldozer: A Critical Analysis of Urban Renewal 1942-1962.” When I first met Anderson at the Hoover Institution, his professional base after he left the Reagan administration, he was pleased when I mentioned the book and the influence it had on me. I had imagined that urban renewal was a good idea; Anderson demonstrated that it was a terrible one. The theory, promoted by New Dealers but endorsed by the conservative Republican Sen. Robert Taft, was that poor housing conditions blighted people’s lives and that the free market would never produce adequate housing. This had some plausibility since very little housing was built in the United States between 1930 and 1945, because of depression and war; and since many New York tenements built around 1900 were notoriously dismal places.

But as Anderson pointed out, urban renewal administrators were much better at tearing down often functional neighborhoods and very bad at building housing to replace it. Benefits went to politically connected insiders; costs were borne by ordinary people — often ordinary black people — with no clout. In my home city of Detroit, the old black neighborhood on Hastings Street (don’t look for it on the map; it has been replaced by the Chrysler Freeway) was torn down circa 1948, but the handsome Mies van der Rohe high-rises and townhouses in what was called Lafayette Park were not opened for occupation until 1961. I remember that because I lived in one of the high-rises from 1969 to 1972.

As I read “The Federal Bulldozer,” I found myself arguing with Anderson — and losing one argument after another. In retrospect, the uncanny ability of Franklin Roosevelt to appoint administrators such as Harry Hopkins and to work with New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, who were geniuses at getting things done, gave Americans confidence in the efficacy of big government. Martin Anderson, in his research for “The Federal Bulldozer,” showed that their successors lacked this unusual ability. It was a pioneering book which came under blistering attack by boosters of urban renewal but which remains relevant now a half-century after its publication — the first of Martin Anderson’s many contributions to good public policy.


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