Make No Mistake … the Republican Party is in Crisis!

I can’t tell you when it began precisely “¦ but the Republican Party has been ideologically adrift for too long and will shipwreck in the up coming midterm election if the course isn’t corrected immediately!

But a silver lining in this storm cloud is before us in a little more than a week “¦ a clear opportunity to change our captain and get our ship back on course is directly ahead of us — the election of a new Majority Leader! Distracted by media generated scandals and the greed of incumbency, our once unified coalition of Reagan Republicans has had their attention distracted from the substantive agenda and ideas that created our majority just a dozen years ago.

As we have already discussed, this current nominally conservative, fat and happy, party leadership is responsible for a huge expansion of government and letting spending get out of control. If we do not make a clear, public break with the recent past, there is a good chance we will lose our majority.

Enter stage RIGHT .. the hero in the white hat.

“We’re going to find out whether Republicans have an appetite for a substantial reform agenda against pork spending, out-of-control budgets and deal-making politics as usual in this town.” Those were the words that conservative Rep. John Shadegg of Arizona used when he announced his 11th-hour candidacy for the House Republican leader’s slot vacated by Tom DeLay (TX). And with little more than a week to go before House Republicans elect a successor to Rep. Tom DeLay as their majority leader, Rep. John Shadegg of Arizona mission is gaining key supporters and significant momentum.

The consensus candidate of the conservative intellectual establishment and the bloggers, John Shadegg represents a return to the principals that excite us and more importantly UNIFY us. In just the last 24 hours, the House Policy Committee chairman and favorite of conservative activists won the nomination of four colleagues””two of whom are not exactly considered conservatives of the Shadegg-Newt Gingrich stripe.

Yesterday, Rep. Charles Bass (NH), a well-known moderate GOPer, weighed in for Shadegg for leader in the contest against Majority Whip Roy Blunt (MO) and Rep. John Boehner (OH). “John Shadegg is innovative, imaginative … he is independent and his integrity is unquestionable,” Bass said.

At the other bookends of the party — Congressman Jeff Flake (AZ) is a conservative westerner who encouraged Shadegg to run. “We want somebody who doesn’t have to have an epiphany on reform.”

And no member of the House of Representatives has been more committed to the idea of limited government and expanded economic freedom and opportunity than John Shadegg. (Rep. Shadegg is one of only four Members of the House of Representatives to vote the pro-growth position on every key vote identified last year by the Club for Growth. ) Club for Growth president Pat Toomey. “To be an effective governing party, Republicans must focus once again on these core issues and John Shadegg has the unique qualifications to lead the way.”

A principled conservative “¦ a unifier of both the left and right “¦ not a member of the current free spending leadership club “¦ could we ask for more???

I almost cried as I read the National Review endorsement of Shadegg

No one doubts Shadegg’s talent or his principle. While all three contenders have conservative voting records, Shadegg is a member of the class of 1994 who never lost the conservative, reformist spirit of that watershed year. He voted against No Child Left Behind, and, more recently, against the prescription-drug bill. He has warm personal relations with the conference’s moderates, and is a fresh face at a moment that cries out for one.

There are three imperatives for the House GOP in the current environment that threatens its majority: Can it clean up its image? Can it reform practices that have at best made for sloppy governance and at worst contributed to corruption? And can it pursue policies that restore the trust of its political base and restore a purpose to an often direction-less majority? Shadegg is the best candidate on all counts.

They conclude …

Conservatives both inside and outside the House have complained a lot recently, because there has been much to complain about. But venting and carping have their limits. Now, there is a chance to make a real difference. Now is the time for the Republican Study Committee, the caucus of House conservatives, to stand up and be counted. The future direction, and perhaps the future existence, of the House Republican majority depends on choices that will be made in coming weeks. We are ready to cast our vote “” for John Shadegg.

In arguing that the Republicans have “lost sight of our ideals,” Shadegg in his January 19th Wall Street Journal article makes a case for promotion to majority leader.

I grew up watching the example of Barry Goldwater, who worked closely with my father. He taught me that “a government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away.” That philosophy guided me when I ran for Congress in 1994. I was thrilled to be part of the Revolutionary Class of ’94, and the sense of hope and mission of the early days after the American people elected a Republican majority in the House is still with me. We believed then that we could take back our government, and I believe it today.

Later in the article “¦

I do not need a poll or questionnaire to tell me what Republicans stand for. The party of Ronald Reagan exists not to expand government, but to protect the American people from government’s excesses. President Reagan once said, “If you’re afraid of the future, then get out of the way, stand aside. The people of this country are ready to move again.” House Republicans are ready to move again, too.

Win or lose, Mr. Shadegg’s candidacy will be a measuring rod of just how much trouble congressional Republicans really think they’re in. Will they ignore the scandals like the Rossy and the Dems in ’94?

It will also serve as a leading indicator of whether House conservatives will devote the next nine months of this term to slamming the brakes on a domestic legislative policy that has steered our ship off course. The era when Republicans promised to make government smaller and smarter by abolishing hundreds of obsolete federal agencies seems a distant memory now in this era of Bridges to Nowhere. I can’t remember the last time I was truly inspired by a Republican’s vision of tomorrow.

In the last five years, Republicans have enacted the largest increase in entitlement spending in three decades, doubled the education budget, nearly tripled the number of earmarked spending projects, and turned a blind eye toward the corrosive culture of corruption on Capitol Hill that seems so eerily reminiscent of the final days of Democratic rule in the House.

The conservatives for the first time in a generation had a foothold of power. House conservatives in alliance with ethics-minded GOP moderates intent on cleaning up the party’s stained image are undoubtedly the force to prevent that from happening. But will they? The right-leaning Republican Study Committee has a decisive voting bloc to elevate one of their own to majority leader. Or they can cut separate deals to advance their own short-term political ambitions. Mike Pence(IN), head of the conservative House Republican Study Committee notes: “The political reality is that conservatives are the majority of the majority party in the House.” Mr. Shadegg may not win this race, but if the conservatives don’t embrace his message of reform and renewal, voters might demote them to majority of the minority.”

Sadly, Oregon has one lone Republican in its delegation. Call (202) 225-6730) or write Congressman Walden today and tell him … that Oregonian’s support Reagan Republicans like John Shadegg for Leader!

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Posted by at 12:18 | Posted in Measure 37 | 3 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • This is a good post Dylan. The perspective from someone who has seen the inside is educating.

  • Tim

    In 1994 Republican candidates for the United States House of Representatives clearly articulated what they would do if they became the majority party in the House in the Contract With America. The Republicans won an overwhelming victory, gaining 54 seats. I have never seen Dan Rather look so depressed as he did that election night.

    The Republicans kept their word. On the first day of their majority, the Republicans passed eight reforms on government operations. During the first 100 days of the 104th Congress, the Republicans brought to the floor the ten bills promised in the contract. Yet, at the next election cycle, instead of trumpeting their fidelity, Republicans were trying to distance themselves from the contract, running scared from a liberal press. We’ve been losing seats in the House and Senate ever since, and stand a good chance of losing both chambers this fall.

    Republicans have, over the last ten years, failed to articulate what we stand for in simple, unambiguous terms. Thank God for Al Gore and John Kerry. If the Democrats had fielded real Presidential candidates we’d probably all be radioactive and clutching a Quoran in an infidel re-education center by now.

    Like the House Republicans in 1996, I think many of our Republican candidates are running afraid of the press. I have a few observations for those folks:

    First, when I and my fellow Republican voters see something negative written about a candidate in the Oregonian, it’s a ringing endorsement. Remember your base.

    Second – the voters are with you on the issues. Remind them (often) who supports and who opposes those right of center ballot measures they overwhelmingly passed.

    Finally, voters – whatever their party affiliation – don’t like evasive double talk. They don’t want politicians who remind them of the customer service center at their credit card company. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Moderating your views to avoid upsetting people who not only would never vote for you, but are actively working to enact policies at odds with your beliefs, is not the way to political or personal success.

  • Jay Boz

    Great post! I fully agree that the GOP must return to their limited government, free market roots to hold on to their majority and, even more important, for the good of the country.

    I wrote Congressman Walden urging him to support Shadegg.

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