- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 12, 2006

“Going to the mattresses” is a memorable line from the film The Godfather. The phrase refers to not giving up and preparing for a protracted fight. Conservatives would do well to heed the advice from the classic movie. Keep in mind that values voters have a number of victories to point to. Seven states passed marriage amendments with one state, Arizona, too close to call at the time of writing. In Colorado, voters not only passed an amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman, but the Centennial State also defeated a measure that would have legalized counterfeit marriages under the guise of “domestic partnerships.”

In states like South Carolina and Tennessee, the marriage amendments passed by large margins of 78 and 80 percent, respectively. Ninety-four percent of the House incumbents who had a perfect score on issues in FRCAction’s last scorecard for the 109th Congress were returned to office and will be joined by established conservatives such as Michelle Bachmann, Minnesota Republican, and Peter Roskam, Illinois Republican.

While Republican conservatives will have a tough fight on their issues in this brand-new Congress, they can take heart that a number of their new Democratic colleagues won by running on a conservative platform. Candidates like Brad Ellsworth, Indiana Democrat, and former Redskins quarterback Heath Shuler, North Carolina Democrat, ran and won on pro-life, pro-marriage platforms. Mr. Shuler even suggested he would push for a pro-life plank in the Democratic Party’s platform. The Family Research Council has always prided itself on its nonpartisanship and we look forward to working alongside pro-family legislators of both parties — and we will be strict in holding them to the promises they made while campaigning.

Most likely the very first vote these new Democrat lawmakers will make will be to elect the most liberal speaker in American history, Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat. Additionally the most liberal lineup in over ten years will be holding the gavels for a number of important committees. Rep. John D. Dingell, Michigan Democrat, first elected to the House in 1955, is poised to return to the Energy and Commerce chairmanship he held before Republicans won the House in 1994. Rep. David R. Obey, Wisconsin Democrat, returns as Appropriations chairman. Rep. Henry Waxman, California Democrat, is in line to be chairman of the Government Reform Committee, an important venue for a man who used his minority status to attack abstinence programs and pregnancy care centers.

In charge of the committee that oversees taxes will be Rep. Charles Rangel, New York Democrat, who has vowed to raise people’s taxes. In the important House Judiciary Committee, the pro-abortion Rep. John Conyers, Michigan Democrat, will be in charge. Most insulting to Americans while we are in the middle of a war on terror is that impeached former judge Alcee L. Hastings will be privy to military secrets as the likely new chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Before the elections FRCAction’s Vote Scorecard showed a significant difference between potential Republican and Democratic chairmanships. Among the Democrats most likely to take over chairmanships in the House, only the potential chairman of the Agricultural Committee, Collin Peterson, Minnesota Democrat, scored 100 percent on the scorecard. Of the seventeen committee chairs, nine Democrats could not find one pro-family vote to support, thus scoring 0 percent. The overall average for potential Democratic chairs was 26 percent.

We would all be wise to look to the examples of Ronald Reagan in his successful efforts to define what makes a conservative. The late president never strayed from his core beliefs of fiscal conservatism, respect for the traditional family, reverence for God and his sovereignty over all nations and a strong respect for life, both born and unborn.

So now is the time for conservatives to be united and “go to the mattresses.” To be caught napping will result in legislative nightmares on Capitol Hill for families.

Tom McClusky is the vice president for government affairs at the Family Research Council.

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