Mike Spence and the Future of the GOP

This op-ed was written by Mike Pence (R-IN) on December 8, 2008. Pence was just elected chairman of the House Republican Conference.

On Election Day, only 22 percent of Americans described themselves as liberal, even while electing the most liberal, one-party government in American history. We remain essentially a center-right nation. So, what happened? I believe Republicans walked away from the principles that minted our governing majority in 1980 and 1994. There is a way out of the wilderness. But it will require humility, vision, positive alternatives and a willingness to fight for what makes America great.

First, Republicans must admit that we lost our way. After 1994, we were a majority committed to a balanced federal budget, entitlement reform and advancing the principles of a limited federal government. But recently Republicans voted to expand the federal government’s role in education, created the largest new entitlement in 40 years and pursued spending policies that created record deficits, national debt and the largest corporate bailout in American history. While Democrats continued and expanded these spending excesses over the past two years, voters were obviously not done punishing Republicans for our departure from principles over the past eight. Big-government Republicanism is a failed political experiment. When Republicans admit this, we will take an important first step toward renewing our credibility with our natural governing majority.
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Cleaning up the GOP

What is a Republican? Can you identify the core beliefs of the Republican Party? Most people can’t. Sadly, we as a party have failed the younger generation by setting a poor example of conservatism for them. We need to clean up the GOP.

Things have to change. No more of this “reach-across-the-aisle,” “appeal to everyone” way of politics. Our forefathers founded this nation on certain, unmovable principles. They weren’t going to allow even the largest empire of the day take away those rights. Oh how far we have come! Now, as has been evidenced by polls, young people can’t even distinguish between Republican and Democratic beliefs. Who’s for stronger government? Who’s against tax increases? Who is for building a strong national defense?

You know who’s to blame? We are. We older (okay, I know I’m only 21, but I still include myself in the older category) citizens who have supported, voted for, and upheld politicians who are “fiscally conservative” but morally liberal are to blame. How can that be? You’re either a conservative or liberal. There should be no middle ground, no grey area. Yet, we’ve created it, and in turn, we’ve all but ruined our party’s name and our chances of affecting true change in our nation.

Part of it is that we’re afraid real conservative candidates won’t get elected. The Republican primaries this year prove my point. Both Huckabee and Romney were more conservative than McCain, but as I heard from some people, “Huck and Mitt don’t have a chance to beat Obama. And that should be our main goal.” What? We have to vote against a candidate rather than for a candidate?

It’s time we stop putting wish-washy candidates out there because we know they’ll get elected (or at least have a better chance), and we present and support true conservative candidates.

*This discussion was an email I sent to an acquaintance in DC who I am working with on cleaning up the GOP. Our first order of business is to define the core Republican beliefs and concrete them in a list. Step two is already in the planning stage and will come after that.

If you would like to contribute to this list of core beliefs, leave a comment with your suggestion and why you think it should be on the list. Remember, we don’t want middle-ground politicians, so our list of beliefs has to be purely conservative.

We are to Blame for Politicians like Blagojevich

Corrupt leadership in America has gotten out of hand. And the blame lies in the American people. We have shifted from electing respectable politicians who would represent us and stand for what we as citizens believed in, to electing whoever promised us the most money or said they were going to make life easier for us. It’s gotten pathetic. And it makes me sick.

I’m sick and tired of hearing people trash politicians as a whole. Not every politician is crooked. Granted, most are. But I am dedicating my life to being a politician, or rather a representative of the people. I am going to give my life to introducing a new form of politics to our nation (really, an old form of politics-the politics and government on which this nation was founded). But sadly, there is credence in bashing of politicians. Most are merely self-serving, not seeking the best of the nation.

This subject is very near and dear to my heart. Especially since I spent a considerable amount of time today talking with a cousin of mine, encouraging him to not give up hope in America and in her political system. He’s really frustrated that politicians have become so loose-minded and no longer stand on true platforms with real convictions. He is sick of the wish-washy, reach across the aisle politics of today.

What happened to Democrats being liberal and Republicans being truly conservative? I hate the phrase “reach across the aisle” or “reach across party lines.” All it means is you don’t have the guts to stand for what you believe. You’re trying to appease people, rather than doing the job we elected you to do! You care more about what Senator Joe Blow and what the other party thinks rather than what the people whom you’re representing think.

We need to stop electing politicians and return to electing representatives.

Back to the Basics

I was reading a friend’s blog and ran across this quote by Barry Goldwater:

“I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is ‘needed’ before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents’ ‘interests,’ I shall reply that I was informed their main interest is liberty and in that cause I am doing the very best I can.”

This is what the Republican party is all about. Smaller government. Fewer taxes. More individual freedoms.

It’s time we, as a party, got back to the basics.