With the holidays upon us, family, friends, faith and other personal aspects in life come to the forefront, as they should. Although the world does not stop rotating, priorities do shift, at least for a few brief hours. Among one of the first fields of endeavor to experience a temporary cessation in hostilities is politics.
Considering the amount of headlines pointing out the treachery and lack of sincerity often associated with politics, a stop, even a brief stop, in the business of politics is warranted during this more spiritually sincere time of the year.
With the winding down of its activity, one becomes very reflective about politics. It makes you stop and think……what is it all for?
Is all the posturing, deal cutting, eloquent speeches and snappy catch phrases done for the betterment of the people? Or is it done for the personal advantage of the deal cutters, eloquent speakers and snappy phrase makers? Is it all done to achieve personal power or acclaim? Is all the demonstrated frustration and anger involved in the process caused because of the failure to pass a particular piece of legislation that benefit’s the people or is it arrived at more because of personal failure to be credited with passing a piece of legislation?
Politics, can be a wonderful arena of ideas for maintaining a prosperous and civilized civilization or it can be a cesspool of humanities worst motivations.
It is that way because politics is comprised of politicians and politicians are only human. Some are good while others are just inappropriate or downright bad. So it is only natural that as human beings, their policies are also a mix of good and bad.
Being human, politicians bring to the table all the human frailties that we as humans possess.
The hope is that the best ideas and directions win the day due to there being a preponderance of humanities best people involved in the process. Unfortunately, I am afraid that many of today’s elected officials in the game are not humanities best, most sincere and altruistic people. I believe many of them simply want the power and perceived admiration of the masses. Many are in it simply for themselves. Take Illinois’ Governor Rod Blagojevich for instance.
So this leads us to wonder how we tell the difference between someone who wants to win for the sake of winning or to make a true change for the betterment of al the people.
The coming year will give New Jerseyans the chance to answer that question.
As the state gears up for a gubernatorial election, Republicans have to choose a nominee to run against liberal Jon Corzine.
Popular thinking would lead one to believe that, given the polls in New Jersey, a liberal approach would be the more expedient path to victory for Republicans in Jersey.
If any Republican running for governor takes that approach, than I will know one thing about them. I will know that they are not sincere.
The Republican who runs to the left in this election is the Republican who wants power for their own benefit and to win for the sake of winning, not for the sake of improving the lives of others.
The Republican who tries to avoid offending illegal immigrants by not demanding a strict enforcement of laws regarding their illegal presence and who avoids taking control away from unions like the National Education Association and giving more power to parents is the candidate afraid of standing up to the influence that those who impede progress may wield in the election.
Any candidate who allows the fear of losing an election to take precedence over doing what is right, is not running for governor for the right reasons. They would be demonstrating that they are running for themselves, not for the people.
The Republican nominee for Governor must be willing to stand up to the power brokers who have held the state hostage through secretive union negotiations and outrageous pension plans.
The Republican nominee for Governor must be willing to address the fact that municipalities in New Jersey must begin to consolidate. Our nominee needs to demonstrate that fewer governments throughout the state means less burden on the taxpayer and less of an affordability problem for residents.
Of course no local municipal king wants to give up their kingdom, but the people must hear about the advantages of reducing the costly proliferation of governments. They must be made aware of the fact that government has become the problem and that fewer governments in the state will lead to less of those things we don’t need. Like less government corruption, fewer operating costs, fewer bureaucrats and bureaucratic entanglements .
We need a nominee who will challenge that which hinders progress, not a candidate who goes along to get along.
Some might say that that is no way to win an election. They would argue that by offending the hands that organize volunteers and pours the mothers milk of any political campaign, money, into an election, is a road map to defeat.
If that is true, than I suggest we go down in defeat.
I would rather see Republicans lose by standing up for what we believe in than win by offering the same policies that liberals have provided us with.
I believe, like former Congressman John Ashbrook, who when asked why he often stood against the popular tide, explained that by representing what he believes to be right, the only thing he could lose was his seat in Congress.
For Congressman Ashbrook ideals meant more than power or winning an election.
His strong, uncompromising defense of conservative ideals did not always make him a popular figure.
Elected to Congress from Ohio in 1960, he came to Washington just as liberalism and big government was about to sweep out from Washington and through the rest of the nation. Yet he consistently stood against the tide of the time and articulated a hard line against communism, big government, social engineering and discrimination.
By 1970 a poll considered Ashbrook one of the 5 most influential conservative leaders in the nation.
In Congress he consistently added amendments to legislation important to liberals and successfully blocked their most detrimental effects.
In 1972 Congressman Ashbrook found himself fed up with the leadership of his own party.
Richard Nixon was President and despite his campaigning as a conservative, Ashbrook saw Nixon governing more to the left than the right. So in typical fashion, John Ashbrook opposed accepted popular thinking of the time. He ran against Richard Nixon for the Republican Presidential nomination.
Many Republicans were outraged that he would dare challenge “our” sitting Republican President but Asbrook wanted Republicans to be true to our principles and he believed that along with neglecting to fulfill campaign promises, Nixon was weakening our already lagging military.
As we know, Nixon was re-nominated but John Ashbrook was content with his poor showing in the primaries. Of it he said “I spread my message. So I guess you don’t have to be on the winning side to be victorious.”
From then on, not only did John Ashbrook continue to win the favor of the voters in his congressional district, he also continued to be the voice of the conservative cause.
By 1980 many in America realized that mediocrity was not what we needed in our leaders and along with John Ashbrook, people turned to Ronald Reagan for leadership.
For almost two decades John Ashbrook swam against the tide. He never gave up or took the path of political expediency. Ashbrook stayed in the game for the long haul and helped to turn the conservative movement into a mainstream movement without compromising conservative principles.
In 1981 the Congressman decided to take his conservative leadership to the United States Senate. He began to campaign against then popular incumbent Ohio Senator Howard Metzenbaum. For Ashbrook the race was to be an historic battle pitting conservatism against liberalism. Unfortunately the hoped for clash of ideas never came to be. Congressman Ashbrook died in April of 1982.
With his passing, we lost a man less concerned with himself and motivated more by doing what was right than what was popular. We lost the type of leader that Republicans need today. Leaders who campaign on the issues that differentiate us from the liberal agendas of Democrats.
Yet despite the loss of Congressman Ashbrook’s physical presence, we are still blessed by his spirit of unwavering commitment and the lessons he taught us.
He taught us that no one and no political party should establish or compromise their beliefs based on popular perceptions of the time
Ashbrook’s leadership proved that when one is right, others will eventually come to that realization. But if one fears to give the right answer because everyone else is thinking differently and offering the wrong answer, than no one will ever know what the right answer is.
Unfortunately, Republicans have been unwillingly to be honest about the answers we need to hear. Instead they run campaigns that duplicate the answers being offered by liberals and it obviously isn’t working.
Republicans are losing and rightfully so. Many candidates are not embracing the conservative principles that have led to our past successes. They have been more concerned with personal success at the voting booth than they have been with making life better for the voters.
During this holiday, when the spirit of giving and goodwill dominates the season’s atmosphere, I can only hope that Republicans in New Jersey can find a candidate who is willing to carry that sense of sincere goodwill and giving into the political atmosphere. I hope we can nominate a person who is willing to provide us with solutions to our problems rather than rhetoric that they think will deliver them a shallow victory at the polls.
John Asbrook campaigned for President on the slogan “no left turns”. At the time, Americans were comfortable with the status quo. A few short years later, Americans were running away from the status quo that they once wanted. Instead they turned to the conservative principles that brought us out of the problems that the left and left leaning decisions created.
With the perceived popularity of President-elect Barack Obama some in New Jersey may feel that campaigning to the left is the politically expedient way to win an election but is political expediency good public policy?
In the words of Congressman Ashbrook “the difference between the conservative and the liberal is that the conservative worries about the future while the liberal worries about the next election.”
That being said, I want a Republican nominee for Governor of New Jersey who worries about tomorrow, not the next election. I want a nominee who is more concerned with doing what is right for the people not what the left wants to hear.
If Republicans want to achieve a victory in November that means something, they need to make sure that they take “no left turns.”.