Political Hay

The Emerging New GOP Leadership

Not what you would have expected, even a short two years ago.

By 6.23.10

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In his new book, To Save America: Stopping Obama's Secular-Socialist Machine, Newt Gingrich accurately explains the deep troubles threatening America: "[S]aving America is the fundamental challenge of our time. The secular socialist machine represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did." By the "secular socialist machine," he means not just the Obama Administration, but the entire, highly organized structure of the Left in America, which has expanded its power "through control of academia, the elite news media, union leaders, trial lawyers, the bureaucracy, the courts, and lobbyists at the state and federal levels. They share a vision of a secular socialist America run for the interests of the members of the political machine that keeps them in power."

Newt continues: "Today, we face a challenge equally grave [as the Civil War]: whether the United States as we know it will cease to exist. I'm talking about losing what defines us as Americans…. America is facing an existential threat." (Emphasis added).

Fortunately, the elections that have already begun this year show that the American people are up to overcoming this challenge. Those elections reveal America reaching beyond the political establishment to select new leaders from the grassroots who not only recognize but themselves represent that fundamental American exceptionalism that Barack Obama denies even exists.

Leading this American renewal is the increasingly brilliant Tea Party movement, which is rapidly disproving all the fears regarding its emergence of a year ago. Rather than dividing the conservative, free market vote, or chasing the Republican Party off an extremist cliff, in race after race it has demonstrated an uncanny ability to coalesce around the most conservative candidate that can win. In this, it has served as a Club for Growth on steroids, knocking the RINOs where they belong, all the way to the Democrat party. What I love most about the Tea Party is the way it has remained a thoroughly decentralized movement without the emergence of an identifiable national leadership, yet in a classic free market way that very decentralization has operated all the more effectively.

Here are some of the genuine, grassroots leaders that the American people aided by the Tea Party movement have now called forth in the new emerging leadership of the GOP.

Sharron Angle
Sharron Angle took on the political establishment in Nevada and won. I am not talking about her recent, stirring, come from behind primary victory over 10 other candidates to win the GOP nomination to oppose Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

In 2003, the political establishment in the state in both parties wanted yet another tax increase. But the Nevada constitution wisely required a two-thirds supermajority to pass tax hikes, ensuring that only increases with broad support could gain approval. State Assemblywoman Sharron Angle rallied a third of the Nevada House to oppose the increase. The political establishment blew off both Angle and the state constitution, and purported to pass the increase with a simple majority.

Taxpayer groups sued. Even though the constitution included no exceptions to the two-thirds requirement, the state supreme court made one up, a huge loophole that effectively said the requirement did not apply to tax increases for important purposes, and this increase was for education. This shows how quickly our country can descend into Venezuela, or Argentina.

That didn't stop Angle. She not only took the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. She supported recall drives against all the Justices of the state supreme court who joined in laughing off the state constitution. Some resigned under the pressure, others were removed. A newly reconstituted court then reversed the prior case, upheld the state constitution, and struck down the tax increase.

A consistent record of brave, conservative, grassroots leadership like this, and her consistently conservative, free market positions on current issues across the board, is why she won the recent primary, with the endorsements of the Tea Party, the Club for Growth, Phyllis Schlafly, and national radio talk show hosts Mark Levin and Lars Larson.

Recent polls show her already leading Reid 50% to 39%. Reid not only voted for, but led enactment of, the TARP bank bailouts, President Obama's wasted and failed trillion dollar stimulus, and the Obama budgets with their explosive runaway spending, record shattering deficits, one-third increase in federal welfare spending, and more national debt than all prior Presidents combined. In return, the people of Nevada now enjoy the highest unemployment rate in the country, higher even than Depression-plagued, Democrat Michigan, along with the highest rates of home foreclosures and personal bankruptcies.

Together, Reid, Obama, and their San Francisco Democrat colleague Nancy Pelosi are leading a fundamental attack on the standard of living of the middle class, with their government health care takeover that creates 159 new federal bureaucracies to govern the health care essential to the lives of everyone you love, their cap and trade assault on the energy supply that fuels your job, your home, and your family car, and their scheduled across the board tax piracy next year against the nation's employers.

But Angle is not just standing pat with her withering critique of Let's Make a Deal Harry Reid, who foolishly said during the health care debate that if your Congressional representatives are not cutting special deals for your state they are not doing their job. She is advancing a positive vision to restore traditional American prosperity and economic growth.

She understands, unlike President Obama, that the incentives of low marginal tax rates are what promotes jobs and economic growth. So she supports replacing the current income tax code entirely with a simpler, flatter, fairer tax. She favors a 15% corporate income tax rate to replace the current 35% rate that is killing American jobs and prosperity with the second highest overall corporate tax rates in the industrialized world. And she would repeal President Obama's scheduled tax increases next year of nearly 60% for capital gains tax rates, and almost 300% for corporate dividends, reestablishing 15% rates for cap gains and the corporate dividends on which many retirees rely as well. The death tax, however, would enjoy a complete, well-deserved execution.

She is committed next to balancing the federal budget over her first term by shoehorning federal spending into the revenues that would be generated by this explosively pro-growth tax system. She would immediately terminate all TARP bailouts, and rescind all unspent "stimulus" spending. She would return all federal spending to the 2007 budget levels (when the deficit was one-tenth of today's $1.6 trillion), except for Social Security, Medicare and federal debt interest. Also unlike President Obama, she favors true financial industry reform by dissolving Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and restoring their roles to the private sector.

She favors as well fundamental reforms to solve the long-term entitlement crisis without tax increases. These include the freedom to choose personal accounts for Social Security for younger workers. She would also extend the enormously successful 1996 reforms of the old AFDC welfare program to dozens of other federal welfare programs, sending welfare back to the states where it belongs. Like President Reagan, she also favors restoring the lead role in education back to the states as well, rather than in the federal Department of Education. She also supports repealing the Reid/Obama health care takeover, and replacing it with alternative Patient Power reforms based on expanding the power and control of patients and their doctors over their own health care.

All of her primary foes have now endorsed her. This is no time for the politics as usual of old, tax increasing, establishment foes she has defeated in the past playing footsie with now defunct Harry Reid. As Newt Gingrich explained above, the fundamental future and even survival of America is at stake like almost never before. I am sure a strong majority of Nevadans will understand that, and retire all of the old boy network, Democrat or Republican, that doesn't.

Marco Rubio
Marco Rubio also served in the state assembly in Florida, rising to Speaker of the House in 2007. He challenged sitting Governor Charlie Crist for the nomination to replace retiring Senator Mel Martinez.

Rubio was also endorsed by the Tea Party, the Club for Growth, and other national conservative leaders. Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, named him "the most pro-taxpayer legislative leader in the country" for his proposal to eliminate state property taxes on primary residences.

Like Angle, Rubio would also eliminate remaining TARP and stimulus spending, and return federal programs to pre-Obama spending levels, maintaining a freeze on non-defense and non-veterans discretionary spending until the budget is balanced. In fact, he favors a balanced budget amendment, and "a flat tax code in America that you could fill out on the back of a postcard and mail in every year." He would also eliminate the capital gains tax, the tax on corporate dividends, and the death tax.

Rubio won the primary in the court of public opinion before the election was even held. He pulled so far ahead of Crist in the polls that Crist dropped out of the primary and announced he was running as an independent. Now he is not even a RINO. Some commitment to principle.

Crist is a living example of what is wrong with politics in America. He is not a convictions candidate running on principle like Rubio and Angle. It is all about him and whatever it takes to win and stay in power. When he thought Obama was the hot ticket early last year, he embraced Obama and the stimulus, tin cupping for more federal handouts. There is not a single reason for any Republican to vote for him, except for those whose votes are bought and paid for by the Governor's own political machine. Leave him to fight with Meek for Democrat votes. Crist is only doing as well as he is in the polls because of name ID and because the Democrat is so clueless.

Carly Fiorina
Those who have doubted Carly Fiorina's conservatism should find on YouTube her interviews on the Larry Kudlow show on CNBC. Kudlow was an architect of Reaganomics from his perch in OMB during the early Reagan years. In those interviews, Fiorina displays a thorough understanding of the entire Reaganomics program, and consistent, unqualified, across the board support for it.

She could not be a more perfect opponent for Barbara Boxer. As the former CEO of Hewlitt Packard, she knows from first hand experience what is needed to create jobs and meet international competition in the new globalized world economy. She has an endearing personal story in winning her individual fight with breast cancer, persevering to still step forward to serve her country in this hour of deep crisis. That story shows that she is just the opposite of the self-serving Crist. She is not in this battle for personal gain at this time in her life.

Chuck DeVore, who was defeated in the California GOP primary, is a strong grassroots conservative like the others we have discussed here, and he should persevere for another position, just as long-time California conservative stalwart Tom McClintock has, perhaps in a run for Congress. But with the crisis America faces today, true conservatives cannot sit by and watch ultra-leftist Barbara Boxer return to the Senate in what would be a stirring victory for Obama's secular socialist machine.

This column first argued over a year ago that Boxer would be vulnerable in the new political environment Obama's extreme ultraleftism is creating. The polls show her neck and neck with Fiorina, riding her name ID before Fiorina has even begun her attack, while Fiorina enjoys a far more passionate base for the fall turnout. Those who cannot recognize that the knee-jerk, brain dead, ultraliberal Boxer is just the opposite of what America desperately needs right now are letting their country down. Her unreasoned Senate drive for cap and trade would cause electricity costs to skyrocket, as Obama has explained, and steal away your standard of living, if not your job, with no reasonable justification. She has also has been another vote for the failed Obama stimulus, runaway spending and welfare, explosive deficits and national debt, and government takeover of health care.

Rand Paul
Rand Paul is another principled, grassroots conservative that overcame the political establishment favorite in Kentucky to win the GOP nomination for the Senate seat of the retiring baseball Hall of Famer Jim Bunning. The polls have shown him way ahead, and he would be a national leader in the Senate for much needed fundamental reform of the Fed and basic entitlement reforms without tax increases, like a personal account option for Social Security.

Those insiders and pundits harping on the pounding he has taken in some media precincts should take note: MSNBC is a vanity network with just 3 viewers in Kentucky.

Star Parker
Star Parker knows the failings of the welfare state first hand as a refugee from welfare herself. Her rise from the ashes through a Christian conversion to lead the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE) as a grassroots, black conservative, free market leader is a classic American story of personal renewal and redemption. She is now running for Congress in a heavily Democrat, minority, inner city Los Angeles district against first term incumbent Laura Richardson.

The incumbent is actually no match for the highly intelligent, movie star articulate, aptly named Star Parker. Parker has been a national leader in developing fundamental economic reforms that would truly liberate African Americans, Hispanics, and other minorities. These include school choice reforms that would free poor children trapped in ghetto bureaucracy schools, so they can get real education and climb the ladder to personal prosperity. They include the choice of personal accounts for Social Security that would empower poor and minority families for the first time to accumulate their own family nest eggs representing a share of ownership in America's business and industry. They include Medicaid vouchers that would free the poor from the third class medicine they suffer in that government program to enjoy the same health care through the same health insurance as the middle class.

This race is so exciting because Parker can demonstrate how Reagan conservatives can break through and win ultimately in minority districts across the country, which would be a political earthquake of Krakatoa proportions. With African Americans suffering long-term, Depression level, 15% plus unemployment under the current, throwback, Democrat/bureaucrat regime, and Hispanics not far behind, this is a race Parker can win.

Other emerging grassroots Republican leaders include Nikki Haley, who won the GOP gubernatorial nomination in South Carolina over a bevy of old boy senior Republicans who descended into generating transparently false claims by political consultants of affairs with this Christian mother of two. Those allegations have served only to raise her profile as an emerging national leader for the essential reforms America needs. The uniquely brilliant, leading, supply-side economist David Malpass is running for the Senate seat now occupied by Kirsten Gillibrand, and would double the IQ of the entire Senate the moment he entered the Capitol. Just imagine how he could elevate the level of debate in Washington. That is why his candidacy is worthy of whatever support can be provided.

You need to ask yourself in this moment of America's grave crisis, if you had been asleep near Lexington and Concord late at night on April 18, 1775, and heard Paul Revere riding by proclaiming, "The British are coming," would you have rolled over and gone back to sleep because you had to plant the corn in the morning? 

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About the Author
Peter Ferrara is Director of Entitlement and Budget Policy at the Heartland Institute, General Counsel of the American Civil Rights Union, Senior Fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, and Senior Policy Advisor on Entitlements and Budget Policy at the National Tax Limitation Foundation. He served in the White House Office of Policy Development under President Reagan, and as Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States under President George H.W. Bush.