- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 14, 2010


If most pundits and pollsters agree America is a center-right nation, then why is all the power on the political left?

The left captured not only the White House and the Congress, but also countless state and local governments. The only lever they dont control is the Supreme Court. In just one year, the left went all in: sending countless billions of dollars to faceless bankers, buying GM, controlling health delivery, and increasing middle-class dependency.

As conservatives we believe in timeless and transcendent values. We are given free will and the right to be free from arbitrary force. We are tireless fighters for liberty. Political freedom cannot exist without economic freedom. Governments essential purpose is to protect those liberties and provide for our national defense.

With the recent breathtaking amassing of federal power, it follows that order and liberty must diminish. These ideas, put on paper by conservative thinkers meeting at William F. Buckleys home in Sharon, Conn., on Sept. 11, 1960, helped form the basis for Young Americans for Freedom. The Sharon Statement helped define the modern-day conservative movement.

Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana said it best after the 2006 Republican defeat, when he observed that we did not just lose our majority — we lost our way. Republican arrogance and excesses for uncontrolled spending, expansion of government helped betray the vitals of liberty. Especially ironic was the almost hysterical embrace of earmarks by many congressional conservatives. The 12 years of growing government under Republican control of Congress took away conservative credibility and increased cynicism and alienation. The 2008 presidential primaries produced a nonconservative Republican nominee who regularly supported zany ideas of the left such as more campaign-finance regulation and global warming. There was little for conservatives to support. Our elected representatives created a political and idea vacuum.

With the Obama onslaught, the objective conditions have changed. Conservatives have a new and brilliant opportunity to support personal liberty, economic freedom and to downsize federal power.

Conservatives doesnt need reinvention, we need new leaders. Leaders who know how to implement our ideas for freedom. Republican National Chairman Michael S. Steele, Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor, Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann, South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint and Mr. Pence understand how to affect the political debate. Recent victories and dramatic actions by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown prove conservatives have winning ideas that earn majorities.

But what about the November elections? Will conservatives have to reinvent conservative ideas to win majorities? Not at all. Ideas for liberty are always current. This year we have a whole new coalition of articulate conservatives in the field. The coalition arrives in three groups.

The “tea party” movement has galvanized Republicans and helped awaken the independents and open-minded Democrats that alarming radical changes are moving fast and furious. Add to that a huge new and rambunctious crop of conservative women and minorities who are running for mainstream positions.

For Congress, Newt Gingrich assistant Princella Smith in Arkansas and Vietnamese refugee Van Tran in California, are to join pioneer Joseph Cao, who won in the 80 percent Democratic city of New Orleans. More black, Asian and Hispanic conservatives than ever will be nominated and elected this fall. In the U.S. Senate, look for the brilliant Carly Fiorina to sweep out Barbara Boxer and for Sue Lowden to remove Nevadas Harry Reid.

Finally the reawakened middle class is on the move. It is awakened, stimulated and angry. It is not fooled by the liberal siren song of government handouts. November is a long way off, but more than 40 congressional Democrats are looking quite feeble. The myth of phony supposedly conservative Blue Dog Democrats is exposed. They have no more cover after Obamacare.

Some short-term goals will include repealing the most obnoxious tentacles of Obamacare, truly increase energy independence — which Mr. Obama just conceded with offshore oil drilling and downsizing — squeezing federal dependency powers.

The struggle is classic — going back to Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. How much freedom do Americans need for the soul of this republic? Will Americans want a larger federal government omnipresent over their daily lives? Or will conservatives make a decision, to ethically reinvent themselves to convince Americans they are worthy to lead?

Mr. Steel is a California member of the Republican National Committee and former chairman of his state’s Republican Party.

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