I’ve got a new article ready to go, brutal; castigating the GOP. Threw it away! Maybe it’s time for a more positive attitude. Hell, someone at the GOP may even listen. What follows is the speech I’d like to hear from Republican candidates.
Good evening and thank you for coming.
It’s customary to start a speech with a joke; but that’s just not appropriate considering the difficult situations we find ourselves in, there is nothing funny about the issues you and I have to engage and there are not any easy or painless solutions. But, I think you know that and I think that’s why, at least, some of you are here tonight.
I think you’ve all got your BS meters set at maximum sensitivity. I’m glad you do, because we both need to be honest with each other. I’d rather lose telling you what I think the truth is than win based solely on doing what has to be done to win; those kind of folks turn on you and I think you know that as well as I do.
I believe, at a fundamental level, you and I need to reach a balance. Part of the job I want you to give me, is to represent this community, part of the job is to make tough calls that may be, in that moment, not to your liking. Part of my job is to help you address your individual challenges. Part of the job is coming back here to explain to you why I’ve done what I’ve done. If I’m wrong, you’ll fire me and you should. If I’m right more than I’m wrong, if I’m available to you, if I tell you the truth as I see it you may continue to grant me the honor to serve you.
But it is up to you!
I have some opinions I want to share with you. I think you’re afraid for the next generation, I think you’re afraid that we are indeed facing the fundamental change the President promised, and it’s just not what you had in mind. I think, at this moment in time, you’re prepared to, once again, sacrifice for the greater good like you always have; ….. Your children, your family, your church, your neighbors, your city, your organization.
Now it’s time to, once again, stand up for what your vision for your country is. Everyone should stand up, regardless of political orientation. We need to know where America stands. Maybe America agrees with the ideas I’m talking about, maybe not. We need to know, one way or another. Personally, I’m confident in what the result will be. I think you and I share a similar vision. I would be exceptionally proud if that were the case and I earn your vote.
As a Republican candidate I’m aware that many of you are dissatisfied with Democratic leadership, I also know, clearly, you’re not too crazy about Republicans either; in both cases, both parties, have given you good reason to be skeptical. But….you and I need to have a conversation. We need to have a conversation because very soon you’ll have to resolve your ambivalence; you’re going to have to make a choice between two very different sets of ideas and I’ll tell you what you already know; it’s important!.
You’re going to have to trust someone……that’s what a vote should be. A vote should be a reflection of trust! Not a ticket to personal power, not a one way pass to corruption, not an empowerment to disregard the people you represent. A vote should bestow a burden of responsibility. A vote should be a demand that the person who receives that vote sees it the same way you do!!!!!
Who do you trust? Republicans and Democrats both, have felt the lash of public opinion, you fired us four years ago, again with good reason. If you had not fired us there would have been no evaluation of what went wrong. No return to basic values, no look back at what really worked. It may be instinctive but that sense of where we have to go; THAT …..is the wisdom of the American electorate.
We Republicans abandoned our values as well as our economic and political principals. Do you think we’ve learned our lesson? Do you think I’ve learned the lesson? There are other questions as well besides the questions you may have about us or me; do you think the Democrats will change course and move in the direction you’re demanding? Do you think that if you keep the current Democratic leadership that you will end up with anything different than what you’re seen for the past 18 months? Really, do you think handing us a thin victory will change anything? I know you’re skeptical…be skeptical, I need you to be skeptical, I want you to be skeptical.
Take a chance on the fact that we may have learned our lesson because the chance on the other side is no chance at all. Nothing will change!
Have we learned our lesson? The evidence would tend to say we have. Against prevailing public opinion and political pressure we stood up and said no to the Presidents politically based economic stimulus plan that clearly was not economic. We said no to ongoing bailouts and no to health care legislation. That legislation was not consistent with our principals and it was not consistent with your principals; we said no and suffered an onslaught of criticism, maybe even from some of you at the time! ………..We held our ground. The party of “NO”, despite media reporting to the contrary, had an alternative plan each and every time…typically our ideas were not even allowed to come up to debate. No discussion of alternatives. No consideration of variations on the theme no media coverage. No compromise. There are questions here for you to; who was really saying NO and was that what you had hoped for two years ago???
Even were we to have had no alternatives; if your child is about to do something dangerous do you not say no? Of course you say no, you say no with all of the authority you can bring to bear! No I won’t let you engage in dangerous behavior. What parent would not do that, what citizen is not prepared to do it now?!?
The fact is, as time went on you came to agree with us, as time went on you discovered that Democrats were not telling you’re the truth. You came to realize that our warnings about the actual impact of the legislation were much closer to the truth than you hoped it would be. You discovered that nameless bureaucrats had been empowered by Congress to attach the regulations to the legislation, you found out who some of those nameless bureaucrats were; hopes were dashed by the clear onslaught of ideology. Hope is a good thing, but in the here and now, facts based in reality are what we need.
You’ve discovered, in most cases without our help, that in each and every case the “sell” was not consistent with the product. You’ve discovered that in every case it’s going to cost more, generates less economic impact, explodes the bureaucracy and restricts your liberties. The IRS will enforce health care mandates with thousands of new agents, is that what you were hoping for?
We have some good indications about what you’re thinking about. You’re buying books about the founding at a record pace, conservative authors are selling hundreds of thousands of books, you’re attending rallies, you’re joining discussion groups, conservative web sites are thriving and you’re educating yourselves at a record pace. The more you look, the more you understand our history, the more you look the less you like what you see. I believe the current polls are more about self education and growing awareness than anything else.
You discovered the stimulus legislation was not economic it was political. You realize that the program we proposed was economic and would have generated more benefit at much less cost. Check out those alternative plans; Al Gore invented the internet for just this kind of situation!
The fact is that whether or not you trust us, you agree with us. You agree with us in overwhelming numbers. Two thirds of you think we’re on the wrong track and it has not made a difference to those currently in power. We, unlike them, learned that reasonable, rational, logical conservative principals and discipline consistently applied will, eventually, earn your trust. Another question, what do you think Democrats have learned over the past four years?
Many conservatives believe that you have to be rational about where things are and what recent history has delivered. That means that mindless ideology is not what you’re looking to us for. We can’t promise immediate resolution of all of the issues we have but we can create an arc of progress. Progress that fights back at what we’ve seen for the last 18 months then stops it from going any further. Then we can reverse course. It’s not going to happen all at once but it can happen. It will happen, but only if you want it to happen. That is the beauty of America, sometimes we say yes, sometimes we say no, sometimes we say go slow. Sometimes we even say let’s go back a little to go forward in a rational manner.
We don’t usually give one party power over all the instruments of government. When we do, we typically and quickly reject the results of that experiment. What is it that we really do? We return the tension of balance. Creating a tension of balance is a large part of what this election is about.
There are other questions; in light of the fact that you are in ever greater numbers rejecting health care, cap and trade, demonization of the people that are capable of creating jobs, the management of the gulf crisis and most importantly the ideological underpinning of what has happened in the last 18 months.
Do you think the other guys are up to it? Do you think they’re going to change direction, have you seen any indication that is the case? Do you think they have a motivation to change equal to the motivation we have in light of our recent firing and the fact that you forced us to reevaluate what and who we are?
We all know what we have to do. We have to forget about the prohibition against “third rail” political issues and be frank about what where we are and what we have to do. Social Security, Medicare and Medicade are bankrupt and unless we face realities the only thing we’ll be able to pay for by 2020 is debt and entitlement and that projection is based on GDP growth that is, to be kind, highly questionable.
Stop and think: no defense, no bridges, no infrastructure, no homeland security, no education funding, no intelligence operations, nothing; just debt and entitlements surrounded by the potential of hyper inflation. The good intentions of those programs have been overwhelmed by the reality of those programs. We’ve seen it coming for a long time, we did nothing. Now it’s a crisis and now you have to decide which set of ideas is best to avert the crisis: free markets, individual accomplishment, individual responsibility and unleashing the genius of America or more centralized planning and more government control. We’re Americans, government is supposed to be a necessary evil, held to harsh control not the answer to each and every potential bit of minutia.
Republicans are supposed to trust individuals. It’s time we did. I believe that this is one of those moments where, having experienced the alternative, you’re ready for the challenge of hard, necessary decisions. I may be wrong but I don’t think so. I think you’re prepared to support the “hard stuff”; if, you see common sense, strong inclusive leadership and the inherent willingness to “really” explain the situation. You’re the most sophisticated electorate ever. You know, there is no black and white and we know that you know that. If we don’t step up to hard decisions, fire us again, we’ll deserve it.
What do Republicans need to do? We need to embrace the idea of being held accountable; accountable to pursue the logic and consequences of what can be done. The conservative outlook is inherently logical, what are we afraid of?
So…, you ask, what’s the plan? The plan is we do what we do, we do what we always do; we step up, we face realities and we do what we have to do: entitlements, border security, federal bureaucracy, regulation, fiscal management, deficit reduction, education; it all goes together or it all comes apart..
The plan is we tell you the truth. We tell you what the scope of the challenge is.
We tell you what the alternatives are, fact based alternatives. I’ll tell you that I think free markets work. We can’t get rid of, nor should we eliminate regulation, but there are different ways to enforce accountability. Thousands of pages of regulation are too much when you can insist on balance sheet standards and accounting rules. One page, story told! Screw up and your CEO is going to jail! If we can establish hard and fast sentencing guidelines for crack addicts we can sure as hell do the same regarding corporate accountability.
Government needs to apply the 80/20 rule. 80% of your issues can, typically, be handled by focusing on 20% of the dynamics that create those issues. For instance economic opportunity addresses a multitude of sins. A growing economy is good for everyone. We know, from our history, what stimulates growth and opportunity: free markets, competition, entrepreneurship and the belief that risk and reward are still reflected in American governance. We need to stop trying to save you from yourself, that’s not America. Succeed, fail, grow, think, try again; that’s America. That’s the America you grew up in and chances are that’s the America you want your children to inherit. My position is that the first application of the 80/20 rule in a political sense is to reduce funding to non defense, non intelligence bureaucracies by 20%. That will move us toward solving 80% of our problems with those organizations by forcing them to focus on what their mission should be, and what it should not be.
We need to hold legislation accountable to a focus on liberty and reject each and every proposal that restricts constitutional liberties. We need to deliver the issues of governance as close to you as we possibly can and restrict and reverse the dominance of the federal government. The closer governance is to you the more accountable it is and, typically, the better it is. Virginia is not Rhode Island the right answers may be different for each, those citizens should be free to pursue those answers.
We must revive the constraints of the Constitution, we must empower states and cities and counties to make the decisions that are best for them, instead of holding them hostage to federal money. We must eliminate the economic terrorism of the Federal funding and mandate system.
We must take the values, the words and the intentions of our founding seriously; we must turn to those ideas as our guidepost for the way forward. They are the basis for the greatest success story in history. This is another question for you; is the Constitution the single most brilliant political construct in history or should it be disregarded for the expediencies of the moment or transitory ideology? You must answer that question in this election.
There is a long list of specific issues that I will stay and talk with you about until one of us falls over; but, for the moment, I leave you with this. If you choose to elect me I will consider each issue with you in mind: your freedoms, your economic security, your potential for opportunity, your children and grandchildren. I will consider each of them based on the best facts I can lay my hands on, I will consider them with skepticism. I will attempt to evaluate the potential for unintended consequences, how much it costs versus the potential benefit. Will the proposals create more or less bureaucracy? Will it continue to guarantee individual freedoms…………or not!
Thank you and I look forward to your questions.