EDITORIAL: The battle in the heartland

America’s majority finds its voice

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The hard work of safeguarding freedom has just begun. This month’s elections were only a beginning. To become ever more effective, conservative power must remain focused on devolving authority to the grass roots rather than accruing it in the corridors of Washington.

That’s the message from Ned Ryun, president of American Majority, a group dedicated to identifying and giving political training to local activists across the country. Surrounded by Tea Party leaders from Cincinnati, Dallas, northern Colorado and other heartland locales, Mr. Ryun announced to a National Press Club audience a plan to recruit 10,000 new, credible candidates nationwide for elections in 2011 and 2012.

“The future of our republic, our democratic process, the free-enterprise system and the power of the individual are all dependent on activated citizens committed to accountability,” Mr. Ryun said Tuesday. “The conservative movement has become too D.C.-centric, despite stating beliefs in federalism. This project is as much about devolving power in the conservative movement back into the states by empowering local leaders.”

Mr. Ryun told The Washington Times that traditional values, as well as individual liberty, will thrive best when government decisions are made at a local rather than national level. “Big government is the enemy of life and strong families,” he said.

Put another way, Hollywood and Broadway can’t influence Washington to dictate social policy to Middle America if the comparably quiet majority between the two coasts retains greater autonomy. Toward that end, Mr. Ryun’s plan calls on 1,000 local groups to recruit 10 new leaders each to run for office in the next two years. He noted that despite a sea change in state legislatures across the country two weeks ago - most of it in favor of Republicans - more than 1,000 incumbent state legislators weren’t even challenged.

“This year’s elections were just the opening salvo in the long war that will determine who will control America’s future,” he explained. That’s the most important message of all. The 2010 shellacking of Democrats established a beachhead against intrusive government and trendy-left social policies - but much hard slogging remains, and the policy equivalent of a continent’s width of territory must be recaptured. Efforts like those of American Majority, local Tea Party campaigns and citizen-led ballot initiatives are what’s needed to limit government power, town by town and state by state.

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