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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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THE REAL REPUBLICAN DEBATE

After licking our wounds from this past election, the blogosphere is packed with suggestions and commentary regarding how to rebuild the Republican party. Many Republican activists and enthusiasts are debating who will be the face of our party as we go forward. At times I too have been eager to want to put forward a name that best represents us, but doing so does not help us establish the solid foundation that we need to build upon.
Louisiana Governor bobby Jindal

Louisiana Governor bobby Jindal

Aside from the race for leadership of the party, activists are caught up in a struggle over who is next, who is going to be our candidate for President and who we must rely upon to deliver our message and carry us forward? There are those who are demanding that we pin our hopes on Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, while others debate the future of Sarah Palin or other party figures like Romney and Huckabee.

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin

I have an appreciation for all of the above mentioned named people but I have an even greater appreciation for what my party stands for regardless of the name of who we discuss and there in lies what the real debate should be about.

Former Governor Mitt Romney

Former Governor Mitt Romney

We, as a party, need to be less concerned with the face of the party and more concerned with the heart of the party. We need to reestablish that which was the source of our political preeminence beginning with the ‘94 Republican revolution and the ending of its dominance which culminated in the 2006 elections when we lost control of the senate and house.

Former Governor Mike Huckabee

Former Governor Mike Huckabee

The 1994 Republican revolution ushered in 73 new Republican House members and 11 new Republican Senators. The largess of that freshmen class of Republicans influenced the leadership of congress with the “power to the people” sentiments that they brought to government. It was a sentiment that believed, as elected officials, they needed to make sacrifices for the people and live by the same rules that they created for the people.

This meant getting rid of special privileges and reversing the practices that allowed members of congress to abuse power. It also meant a strong adherence to conservative fiscal, foreign and law and order policies. Many in this class quickly became a part of a new informal group dubbed “New Federalists” and set an agenda of widespread U.S. government cuts in many departments and also intended on privatizing, localizing, consolidating and even , eliminating many departments and agencies. This federalist direction was part of their success.

At least up until 2002.

In my estimation our fall from power as a party came about not due to what we stand for but due to a lack of attention to coordinated efforts in clearly defining what we stand for and a backing away from those intentions.

After winning the White House in 2000, with total control of all three branches of federal government, many of our elected officials became complacent. With that White House win also came the loss of the “power to the people” spirit that ushered in our majorities in 1994.

Former Florida Rep. Joe Scarborough

Former Florida Rep. Joe Scarborough

After winning the presidency, many of those who were a part of that ’94 federalist style, freshmen class slowly left office. Many of them believed in term limits and felt, that in truth to their beliefs, they must step aside and move on. So by 2002, gone were many of the freshmen of the ‘94 GOP revolution. Gone were the strong federalist tendencies of John Kasich , J.C. Watts, Joe Scarborough and their like. And with them, the “power to the power” legislation and message slowly departed as well.

Former Oklahoma Congressman J.C. Watts

Former Oklahoma Congressman J.C. Watts

Slowly, congressional Republicans became complacent with their power. Slowly they lost touch with the people and lost their message. In 2004, the effects of this loss of spirit were not dramatically pronounced. Republicans maintained what power they had, including the White House, but the erosion was beginning. By 2006 it had set in. Our federalist influences were gone and so was our power.

And that is what we must get back in order to regain power. The “power to the people” message and federalist intentions which defined the ‘94 freshman Republican class was what helped to bring us to power.

In 1994 we did not win simply because we were not Democrats. We won because of the anti-establishmentarian mentality that we represented. We were also able to point fingers of blame at Democrats who controlled the establishment. We were able to point to the pay raises and special privileges that Democrats afforded the governing class while offering only a lack of attention to the needs of the people that democrat policies seemingly overlooked.

But by 2006 it became clear to the people that we were the establishment and that we were not responsive to their needs. By 2008 an exclamation mark was added to that sentiment.

So here we are today, wondering how to gain back our majority status.

Many are trying to achieve that goal by appointing one name or another as the name that will propel us back into power. Yet, the truth is that no one name will restore faith in our party.

We can fondly mention the Reagan name and we can offer up Mitt Romney as a the new bearer of the Reagan torch or Sarah Palin as the Republican savior and Bobby Jindal as the leader of the next revolution but no matter what name may be put forth, it is the what our party stands for that is more important than who represents it.

So I propose that we stop linking our fortunes to any one figure and start clearly defining our party. Not redefining it, but clarifying it’s definition.

Doing that requires those Republicans who still remain in office to get back on message and adopt a stronger adherence to federalist tendencies in their legislative initiatives and voting records.

Beyond generalities, that means controlling spending and maintaining an aggressive posture with those foreign elements whom threaten our security and would weaken the threads of freedoms delicate fabric. It means reducing the size of a costly and inefficient government and the bureaucracy that makes government inefficient.

Under the auspices of Homeland Security, Republicans, during the Bush administration, have tried to excuse away budget deficits. Although Homeland Security did account for one of the largest reorganizations of federal government in our history, it did not create an excuse for avoiding budget cuts in other areas or streamlining departments and cutting waste.

In light of this, we must create a legislative agenda that reflects our political ideology. For too long the G.O.P. has been overshadowed by the War on Terror. That effort must not be diminished nor should any focus be taken away from it. However; our efforts must simultaneously embark upon the same domestic agenda that brought us to power in the mid ‘90’s and that we lost track of during the security agenda of this current decade.

Former Ohio Rep. and Future Ohio Governor John Kasich

Former Ohio Rep. and Future Ohio Governor John Kasich

So put aside the name of your favorite potential Republican nominee four years from now. Focus on the clarity of our message and how best to shape that message. Let the great work of Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin, as a governors, speak for themselves and see what it shall bring. Let people like former congressman John Kasich reemerge on the frontlines of the political battlefield as he throws his hat in the ring for Governor of Ohio. Let the candidacies of the best and brightest develop as we help to recapture the spirit and agenda which brought us to power but strayed away from.

Through that agenda, the best of our leaders will emerge and victory will again be ours.

 

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“The IRS announced that obese Americans are entitled to certain tax breaks.

Apparently, under the new rules, you’re allowed to claim two or more chins as dependents.”

~Conan O’Brien

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