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Freshmen Republicans to Watch in the 112th Congress

Bookmark and Share    The freshman class of Republicans in the 112th Congress is one that could and should hold a lot of sway. Not only is it one of the largest classes, it was also elected on one of the clearest messages that voters ever sent. That message is to stop business as usual and to cut spending and the size and scope of government. This freshman class was elected to change Washington, D.C., not be changed by Washington, D.C., and for many voters this is the Republican Party’s last chance to get things right. And so, given the sentiments that swept these new lawmakers in to office, they must establish themselves by bucking both Party politics and the political establishment. They must demonstrate that they understand fiscal responsibility, limited government, states rights and a willingness to not tow the Party line when its leaders wander off path.

This will at times be hard to do. The old boy’s political network will tempt them to go along to get along and the desire for power can consume them if they forget what they were sent to Washington for. But considering the extremely strong message that sent these men and women to D.C. they will all be wise to not cave in to the traditional trappings of insider politics and Washington.

Given the caliber of many of the new faces on the Hill, there is a vary good chance that they will in fact have a dramatic, positive, impact on the 112th Congress and the legislation it produces. But of this class, I suspect that some will stand out more than others. The following are the names that are most likely to do so.

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  Justin Amash, MI-3:

This 30 year old Michigander has made a name for himself in the Michigan House of Representatives as a leading advocate for government restraint and his consistent commitment to limited government, free markets, and individual liberty. As a state representative, Amash set new standards for transparency and accountability. And was one of the first state legislators to list his office expenses, staff salaries, and legislative benefits online. He has also earned a wide following among Michigan voters for posting all of his votes, with explanations and an opportunity for interactive discussion, on his official face book page. Amash understands that we live under the rule of law and not under the rule of men and he has a command of the issues effecting our economy and liberty.

Lou Barletta, PA-11:

Lou Barletta comes to office after serving as Mayor of Hazleton, PA. There he demonstrated his expertise on economic matters and budgets but he became most known for his fight against illegal immigration. Hazleton had become ravaged by an illegal immigrant population that helped the small town’s crime rate skyrocket. Barletta went into action. In 2006, he created an ordinance that made it illegal for employers to knowingly hire illegal aliens and for landlords to knowingly rent to illegal aliens. The measure passed the Hazleton City Council but was subsequently challenged in the courts. The case still drags on to this day but in the meantime, the number of both violent and non-violent crimes in the City of Hazleton continue to decrease. Barletta is a hard nosed but cordial gentleman who is sure to take the same kind of grit and determination that he had as Mayor of Hazleton, to Washington as a Congressman.

Cory Gardner, CO-4:

Gardner is a quick witted, high energy legislator. The Denver Post calls Gardner “the GOP Idea Man,” and he has been recognized as one of the Top 40 young Republican lawmakers in the country by Rising Tide, a publication of the Republican National Committee. As a member of the Colorado State House of Representatives, Gardner was a leader on issues such as economic development, healthcare, and education. In 2007, he created the Colorado Clean Energy Authority, which has helped to bring millions of dollars in development to Colorado. With a focus on limited government, Cory Gardner believes strongly that reducing taxes is the best way to grow the economy and provide jobs. As a former leading conservative voice in the Colorado state legislature, he promises to be one in the 112th session of Congress too.

Adam Kinzinger, Il-11:

32 year old Adam Kinzinger is a Captain in the Air Force who has served in the Special Ops, Air Combat Command, Air Mobility Command, and the Air National Guard. Before his military career, at the age of 20, he challenged a twelve-year Democrat incumbent for the McLean County Board and in a campaign that focused on bringing local government back to the people, he became one of the youngest county board members in McLean County history. Today, Kinzinger has proved that he understands the value of American freedom and is committed to protecting and serving the nation both in uniform and elected office. He has the skills and drive to rise above the political noise, bring government back to the people and to create a lasting positive impact on Congress.

Allen West, Florida-22:

Lieutenant Colonel Allen West (US Army, Retired) is a Bronze Star winner who has also been awarded three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals (one with Valor), and a Valorous Unit Award. With twenty years of distinguished military service, West now aims his fight on Congress where he intends to curb out of control Government spending, work for across the board tax cuts, and combat our economic woes by getting back to basics and transitioning to a flat tax system for both individuals and businesses. West is an aggressive and articulate voice for conservatism and has a deep rooted concern for the proper education of America children. Allen West knows that their opportunities can be endless with the right education and that our nation’s future depends on their ability to take advantage of those opportunities. Allen West is sure to be a thorn in the side of liberals and you can be sure that he will not sugarcoat his opposition to the left side of the aisle.

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Those are five freshmen members of the House whom you can expect to stir things up. They will be joined by several veteran G.O.P. House members who are also worth watching; incoming House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, New Jersey’s Scott Garrett, Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, Mike Pence of Indiana and Virginia’s Eric Cantor. These five individuals are probably the best chance Republicans have when it comes to keeping to the much touted, conservative pledge to America that Republicans took during the campaign of 2010. But now these five have five exceptional new voices on their side.

In the Senate, things are quite different than in the House. The rules of the Senate allow for one member of that chamber to make more of an immediate difference than House members can. Here, although Republicans remain in the minority, their increased numbers will be made quite formidable as strong conservative voices like Jim DeMint and John Thune join with the following five freshmen senators.

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Marco Rubio-FL:

 Marco is a standout among any group of people. He is a personable, bright, innovative, energetic, passionate and articulate young conservative who went through one of the toughest and longest campaigns of 2010. For much of the race he was the underdog and not the establishment choice. But patience and perseverance allowed him to prevail as he convincingly persuaded fellow Floridians to the commonsense, conservative cause. A son of Cuban exiles, Marco is an important voice in the Republican Party for Hispanic voters and his ability to attract voters of all persuasions is going to continue to make him an important player in national politics, especially national Republican politics.

Pat Toomey-PA:

This former leader of the Club for Growth is probably going to be one of the most ardent deficit hawks the senate has ever seen. He will be a perfect partner with South Carolina’s Jim DeMint in the cause of fiscal responsibility and limited government. Toomey will most definitely be a strict constitutionalist who will have no problem standing up to his fellow Republicans and most definitely not any Democrat, including President Obama.

 

Ron Johnson-WI:

Johnson was one of those TEA Party backed candidates who came out of nowhere to slay a liberal giant—Russ Feingold. His campaign was not the best but voter sentiment in Wisconsin was so soured by the direction that the country was going in that they wanted a definite change. Politically unencumbered, fresh faced, conservative, businessman Ron Johnson proved to be the man that Wisconsin voters saw fit to deliver that change. Expect Johnson to take some time getting his feet wet in Washington, but very soon he will be demonstrating a hard-line on budgetary matters and a very valuable independent streak.

Rand Paul-KY:

Rand Paul is another candidate whose race was particularly hard fought. He was also not originally the establishment choice but strong conservative support and energetic TEA Party backing pushed Rand Paul over the top in the end. Rand has many of the more appealing libertarian tendencies of his well known father, Texas Congressman Ron Paul but is a bit more pragmatic. Rand believes in a strong national defense and understand that the defense of the nation is the federal government’s number 1 priority. He insists that funding of the United Nations becomes voluntary, thereby demonstrating a true and accurate level of commitment of individual member states to the U.N.’s success. He also believes that the United States should withdraw from and stop funding those U.N. programs that undermine legitimate American interests. On the economy, Paul is a true free marketer who views the World Bank and International Monetary Fund as having “outlived their usefulness” and harmful to global economic development. Rand Paul is a staunch proponent of spending cuts, balancing the budget, and lowering taxes. Expect Rand to be a very loud voice and major critic of both Parties and the process they often abuse.

Rob Portman-OH:

Like Marco Rubio, Rob Portman is made of presidential timber. He is an experienced legislator and previously served in two separate presidential cabinet offices—–U.S. Trade Representative and Director of the Office of Management and Budget. During his tenure at OMB, the deficit was cut in half. Portman is experienced, accomplished, and when it comes to the federal budget, he is a persistent hawk who has proposed balanced budgets, the creation of new federal spending transparency laws, and fought hard against irresponsible earmarks. In the senate, expect Rob Portman to be a go-to guy on fiscal matters and a leader in the budget process that is growing in importance as well as debt.

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Only time will truly tell how well these 10 incoming legislators will really do but if they show the same kind of stamina, values and sincerity that they have in the past, they will go a long way in bringing the type of real change that Congress and the nation needs.

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Fire Nancy Pelosi Bus Tours Campaigns In New Jersey

Bookmark and Share   With five days remaining in the 2010 election cycle and all the trends and voting patterns set in stone, each side of the political aisle is now focused on only certain races with laser-like precision. Gone are the days where that hope for just a little more money to pull candidates in over the finish line. Gone are the chances for creating new strategies to win voters over and convince people that your guy or gal is the better candidate.

At this point in the campaign, all the cards are on the table. This year, for Democrats, that means, do all you can to cut the losses and focus on saving what competitive seats they still have a chance of maintaining, like long term incumbents Barney Frank of Massachusetts and John Dingel of Michigan. For Republicans it means, nail down those races that are toss ups and produce the gains that will take back the House and possibly even the Senate.

That’s why top Democrats like President Clinton, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Biden and even President Obama himself have had to stomp in the states and districts of incumbents and hit the trail for people like Barney Frank, or Virginia’s Tom Periello. These are seats that should be shoo ins, yet voter anger has them even at risk unless they can stop the hemorrhaging. But for Republicans, the story is quite different.

For Republicans, big names like Sarah Palin, Jim DeMint, Chris Christie, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and others are out on the campaign trail for people like Sean Bielat, Harold Johnson, Randy Hultgren, Sean Duffy and John Runyan, all virtual unknowns who are about to take down some of the biggest names in Congress.

Most of us live in the 400 or so , so-called “safe” districts where there is little if any race going on. As someone who has spent my life in the blue states of New York and New Jersey , I have usually resided in such safe districts, but this year, the Republican Rejuvenation of these midterm elections is bringing competition even to these states.

Case in point is New Jersey’s 4th congressional district. Incumbent Democrat John Adler is facing a race in an atmosphere that has him swimming  against the tide and Republicans are doing everything possible to insure that the tide beats him.

In those towns within the 4th district that are strongest for John Runyan, the local, state and national G.O.P. has been relentlessly gnawing away at Adler’s support and feeding a relentless cycle of energy that is electrifying the already enthused and exciting those who are normally not even involved in the election process. In just this week alone, popular Governor Chris Christie has attended two jam packed rallies for Runyan, he has taken part in two special teleconferences to address the hundreds of volunteers at different campaign headquarters who are manning the phones and providing the walking sheets for an army of more volunteers whom are going door to door. In fact, as residents of the 4th CD, Governor Christie’s own parents, are manning phones out of a local Mount Holly headquarters, leaving the governor to recently quip that his Dad is working harder for John Runyan’s election than he did for his son.

Today, in an unprecedented event, Michael Steele, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, even stopped by the district to campaign for Runyan.

The event which was part of the RNC‘s “Fire Pelosi” bus tour produced a standing room only crowd and fired up an already energized electorate.

Even I was moved by Chairman Steele’s words, and that says a lot, for although I had liked Mike Steele before he was RNC Chairman, I have found myself disappointed by his job performance as Chairman. Yet his performance today was exemplary.

He entered the Atlantis Ballroom of the Toms River Holiday Inn to thunderous, almost rock star-like applause, and from then on he had the crowd eating up every word with a mix of ideological fervor, commonsense logic, and a degree of humor that even had the reporters covering the event laughing out loud. (I saw you Zach Fink).

Steele’s remarks not only drove home the importance of defeating Democrats in this election, but he assured the crowd that the GOP has learned their lesson. He embraced and thanked the TEA Party movement for reawakening us to the principles we strayed away from, and promised that the Grand Old Party has come to understand that we can no longer compromise on spending or the size of government and that no type of big government is acceptable, not even “big government Republicanism”. He even credited the new class of freshman of Republicans for turning the Grand Old Party into the “Great Opportunity Party.”

Steele also reminded the New Jersey audience that it was they who has started this electoral revolution. He reminded the audience that it was the election of their Governor, Chris Christie, which helped set in motion the trend for the type of less government, less spending leadership that voters all across the nation are demanding this November 2nd.

The event gave a campaign that is already slightly ahead in the polls, an injection of unbridled enthusiasm, the type of enthusiasm that is needed to motivate the forces in the tiring days of a long campaign, the type of energy that Democrats and the forces of John Adler are lacking in their uphill battle.

Gone for the Adler campaign are the appearances by heavy hitters with star power. Gone for Adler is the expectation of making the over half a million contacts that the Republican volunteers for Runyan have made. Gone for Adler is the final injection of money from the Democrat National Campaign Committee for attacks ads against Runyan.

And if today’s rally was not enough, the same area of the district Christie and Steel have campaigned in, will be experiencing a major GOTV rally on Sunday as the TEA Party Express bus stops in Toms River with one of the biggest stars of the 2010 election, Sarah Palin.

As someone who has been assigned to work on targeted races in the past, I can honestly say that I have never quite seen the level of intensity that some of the most hotly contested races, like Runyan in NJ4 are seeing in 2010. It is all the culmination of Democrat leadership which has lurched so far to the left and demonstrated all the aspects which people hate most about politics and the process, that the electorate has become polarized to the point of seeing the choices as not being between the ‘left’ or the ‘right’ but rather between right or wrong.

For these reasons, all over the United States, unknowns like John Runyan will be taking control of Congress this January. The only question now is how much in control will they be in. Three weeks ago POLITICS 24/7 saw the GOP on a trajectory that provided them with 62 seats in the House and 10 or 11 seats in the Senate. On Friday, POLITICS 24/7 will release its final predictions along with an election night schedule that will help you understand what trends some of the earliest results will be pointing to.

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The 2010 Republican of the Year

Bookmark and Share    Believe it or not, there are some Republicans who need not lose an election to learn a lesson. There are some members of the G.O.P. who understand that true Republicans do not legislate like liberals or finance the federal government with Bernie Madoff-like budgeting schemes.

To be honest, while there are practically no such Democrats these days, there are but a handful of such Republicans who hold elected office. But many incumbents continue to play a blame game of pointing fingers at Democrats who are in the majority and doing many of the same things that Republicans did when they were in the majority. That said, there do exist some incumbents who are true to the Republican ideology and practice what they preach. There are people such as Arizona Congressman John Shadegg, a conservative who is trying to get government under control with legislation he calls The Enumerated Powers Act. It would force legislators to reference the specific clause or clauses of the U.S. Constitution that grant them the power to enact any laws or take any other congressional actions.

There are other outstanding House members like Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia, Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, Paul ryan of Wisconsin, Mike Pence of Indiana and Scott Garrett of New Jersey.

In the US Senate you have leaders like South Dakota’s John Thune, Tennessee’s Bob Corker and Jim DeMint of South Carolina.

When it comes to Governors, standouts include Mississippi’s Haley Barbour, Indiana’s Mitch Daniels, Louisiana’s Bobby Jindahl and Minnesota’s Tim Pawlenty. All of them continue to streamline government and budgets, while still operating an efficient and effective state government.

Yet regardless of how great some incumbent Republicans may be or even how well some behind the scene Republicans have advanced the cause, none of them have yet been able to again convincingly persuade, to their side, the vast number of Americans that are needed to change the balance of power, nor have they convinced a majority of Americans to once again have faith in the Republican Party as an entity that truly represents the principles which once made our party great. None of them have been able to round up and organize the incredible mass of Americans who can muster the strength to stop the bandwagon of spending and socialist programming that the current liberal regime of Pelosi, Reid and President Obama have spearheaded. On that measure all have failed.

But if we look beyond incumbent office holders, the promise of those with the skills to turn things around does exist among a number of very promising candidates that we will see emerge in the coming year and beyond.

It is here where we find the Republican of the Year.

Former Governor Sarah Palin, to the chagrin of many leftists, still captures the essential spirit of the conservative-libertarian heart of the GOP. Despite having sacrificed the last year and a half of her term as Governor in order for her successor to carry on the good work she started, unhindered by lawsuits and malicious malcontents, Palin still has potential and she inspires as many, if not more, than she turns off.

Sarah Palin embodies the anti-establishmentarian, fiscal and social conservative values that are the traditional core of the party. However, while the promise and potential are there, this year, Sarah has not promoted policies or the cause as much as she has her successful book, Going Rogue.

So she is not Republican of the Year.

Another person with potential comes from Ohio.

During his eight terms in Congress, John Kasich proved himself to be an exemplary Republican force. He has been on the forefront of reform and conservatism. He has always been above reproach and he has lived by the rules and refused to go along to get a long. He retired from Congress in 2001 but now, 9 years later, John Kasich is seeking to become Governor of Ohio.

His candidacy will be inspirational. It is one based on core conservative beliefs, especially our fiscally conservative roots. He also values life.

Kasich will not spew mere platitudes. Instead he will put forth detailed policies that will define the course he will put Ohio on. Both Kasich’s campaign, and after winning, his tenure as Governor, will ultimately set a new high standard as his leadership becomes a model for others to follow. He will also be an eventual contender for President.

But that is yet to be and unlike the Nobel Prize, the title of Republican of the Year is not based on potential but rather on achievement and the point to which they have presently come.

Based upon that criteria, and with all else considered, the 2010 title of Republican of the Year goes to Marco Rubio.

Who is Marco Rubio?

Well if you have not already heard of him, in due time, you will.

Marco Rubio is a 38 year old Floridian from West Miami who was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2000 and eventually became the state’s youngest Speaker of the House, before term limits retired him from office.

Born of Cuban immigrant parents, Marco was brought up on values rooted in honesty and hard work. He grew up understanding that the potential of America lay not in government control but in personal and entrepreneurial freedom.

As a state legislator Marco gained prominence on several political fronts.

He was the state’s leading champion of lower tax rates and helped craft a state government that was leaner and more efficient when he left office than when he first came to office. Another Rubio achievement was his landmark property rights legislation which became a national model that helped to curtail the horrors of eminent domain abuses.

Rubio’s work was not limited to the Florida Statehouse or his Miami legislative district. During his last year in office, Marco traveled all of Florida in what he called an “Idearaisesr.” These events helped him compile some of the best suggestions for the improvement of life in Florida.

Rubio put those ideas all together in a book called “100 Innovative Ideas For Florida’s Future”.

To date, 57 of those 100 ideas have become legislation.

His impeccable record is enough to make Marco Rubio standout but that is not all that accounts for his being named Republican of the Year.

Two of the main reasons for his getting that title are based upon his ability to inspire those around him, articulate the conservative cause in a way that wins people over, and his willingness to buck the establishment.

With a Reaganesque quality that can give Barack Obama a run for his money, Rubio’s oratory and people skills are incredibly powerful. He conveys a Jack Kemp-like message of personal and economic empowerment along with a heartfelt spin that appeals to not just your better senses, but your emotionally being as well. This is something that the current generation of Republican politicos lack. The GOP has no clear and powerful voice to deliver our message and Marco Rubio provides both the right voice and the right message.

The other reason Rubio is Republican of the Year is because of his demonstrated ability to buck the establishment.

At 38, Marco could easily sit on his laurels and wait for the Republican establishment to tap him for the next elected office they want him to pursue while in their pockets. But rather than wait in line for the establishment to tap him, Rubio is stepping up to bat and fighting for for the ight to lead us effectively.

Florida’s incumbent Republican Governor, Charlie Crist, is a popular figure. He is a favorite of the establishment and he is running for the US States Senate. With a well stocked war chest, Crist’s lucrative campaign fund along with his high name ID and the support of the national Republican leadership, is considered a favorite for not only the Republican nomination for Senate but for the actual Senate seat in question. Yet against all odds, Marco Rubio is challenging Crist.

Rubio is not impressed by the popular Florida Governor. He has seen the once conservative oriented leader turn into a waffling moderate politicians who sold out the Sunshine State by endorsing things such as the debt increasing federal stimulus packages that has promised more than it delivered.

In general, Charlie Crist has proven himself to be a sell out who values political expediency over sound policy and although he still offers leadership that is a step up from that delivered by those rooted in solidly liberal foundations, Rubio knows that Crist is not up to the standards that conservatives should expect.

That is why he has become the GOP’s David in a campaign against the Republican Goliath. Rubio knows his campaign for the US Senate nomination is an uphill battle. He also knows that his challenge to the frontrunner is not winning him any favor from the GOP establishment. But none of this stops Rubio from getting his message out.

In just a few short months, Marco Rubio has gone over the establishment’s head, straight to the voters, and his campaign has taken him from an underdog with poll numbers that once saw him going down to Charlie Crist by as much as 25 or more percent, to where today the race is a dead heat at 43% each. Even more telling is the fact that while Crist’s support has dropped below 50% and his favorability has seen a double digit drop to 19% since August, Marco Rubio’s is now viewed very favorably by 34% of likely primary voters. That is up from 18% in August and a total reversal in direction from Crist.

Underdog Marco Rubio is being outspent and out endorsed by the establishment but with a true adherence to conservative Republicanism, he is tapping into something more powerful than the old boy’s network. He has awakened the grassroots. The grassroots of the Republican Party and the general electorate as well.

While Crist is capturing the pockets of the establishment, Rubio is capturing the hearts and minds of voters. And he is not doing so with money. He is doing so with his message and proven record.

For all these reasons, Marco Rubio is Republican of the Year.

He represents all that our party should, possesses all the qualities and thinking that we are lacking, and he is one of the few Republicans around today who offers the Party the promise of a future based on the principles that are at the heart of our being.

Marco Rubio has taken the true Republican message to the disaffected majority of voters who feel abandoned and who have lost faith.  He has also taken it to fellow Republicans who feel disaffected by their Party and, slowly but surely, he is winning all of them them over. Rubio is reinvigorating many and inspiring many more. He is proving to be the type of Republican that conservatives and disaffected voters have been yearning for.   

in the 1980’s America was blessed with the right man for the right time, when Ronald Reagan became President and steer us toward prosperity and security.  In 2010 another uniquely qualified man is approaching the halls of leadership at the right time, just when we need him. 

Marco Rubi is that man.  He is the future of the GOP and for that reason, Marco Rubio is Republican of the Year.

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For Republicans The Question Is Who Should It Be? Take the poll and tell us.

Bookmark and Share    Yesterday,  POLITICS 24/7 began a series called “For Republicans Only: A plan for rebuilding the party“. 

PhotobucketIn it was explained that the G.O.P. must begin to reshape their image, create a concise national policy direction and message, put a face on on the problems that the nation faces and turn it into a common enemy to rally behind Republicans against.   It also pointed out the we must find a voice for the party that could convey our message and recruit Americans in a political battle to combat that common enemy.

The article took us through a national audition of Republicans to find the best people who could be that voice and the face of the G.O.P.. 

Naturally such a discussion involved those whom may be running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 and although the G.O.P. can not wait until 2012 to start getting back on track, it brings rise to the question, who would you like to see be the nominee?

There is a long way to  go between now and then and much can and will happen to change the opinions that you may have today.  But knowing what those current opinions are helps to establish the direction people are looking for the Republican Party to go in.

Awareness of that direction allows us to build momentum in that direction.  It allows us to shape policies that people want and a message that is in tune with  what people want to hear and are willing to pay attention to.

By knowing whom Republicans are currently leaning towards for President in 2012, we are given an indicationPhotobucket of what they are most concerned with and the type of qualities that Republicans voters feel the nation needs in our next President.

Some potential Republican presidential nominees excel in management or economics or both.  Others are more known for foriegn policy experience and abilities or for their anti-establishment, outside-the-beltway image. 

Whatever the attributes are, each candidate is unique and among voters certain unique qualities are more important than others. 

During times of war, people often have a propensity to favor a figure who brings deft military experience to the table.

During times of economic crisis voters focus on someone with a proven and successful background in in the financial market. 

PhotobucketCurrently our nation is in difficult economic times but America is also currently in the middle of a crisis of faith. A crisis of faith in government.   And although it is not always apparent these days, we are also in the middle of a war.

Under these circumstances, by knowing who Republicans favor for the presidential nomination right now, we are seeing within whom they feel is what we need to deal with all that we face as a nation right now. 

So even though there is much work for Republicans to do, not just for 2012 but before next years midterm elections, let us know which candidate you currently think is the leader America needs right now.

Take a moment ot consider those prospects which are potential candidates and let us establish a sense of what the type of party they wish us to be.
                                                                                              

                                                                                                 

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For Republicans Only:

A plan for rebuilding and reinvigorating a down and out party.

Click the image above to read the first part of For Republicans Only

                                             Click the image above to read the first part of For Republicans Only

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