A Few Thoughts On the 2010 and 2012 Elections
by Tom Donelson on January 25, 2010 at 11:51 AM
Living in Iowa, I am at ground zero of American presidential aspirations. Iowa caucus is the first step in the Presidential nomination process and it is the Iowa Caucus that shrinks the presidential field (even though it doesn’t predict the Republic nominee or Michael Huckabee would have been the Republican nominee.)
My own thought is that the Republican nominee will not come from those who ran for the President the last time. With the advent of the Tea Party movement and its impact on American politics, the next candidate will be a political outsider. Sarah Palin and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty are just part of a new generation of Republicans who are not part of the Republican establishment and while I am either endorsing either individual or claiming that either will become the nominee; they do represent the future of the Party. (Both are involved on Facebook and Palin has used facebook as a vehicle to counter much of the Obama agenda. She is already thinking outside of the box.)
The Iowa caucus gives us the opportunity not just to oppose the Obama agenda but to set in place; a new agenda. The beauty of Iowa is that it is a small state in which selected radio stations, newspapers and television networks set the pace of the debate. It is an easy state to target the audience you want to reach.
In reviewing Newt Gingrich strategy in dealing with Hillary Care in the early years of the Clinton administration, Gingrich used the opposition to Hillary Care to devise an entire platform that was both more free market and practical. In 1995, Gingrich had a game plan in which to push the Clinton’s administration to the right and the early years of the Republican control of congress saw reduction in government spending relative to the economy size, a capital gain tax cut and welfare reform while stopping in place any future tax increases. We all know the story of how the Republicans lost their ways during the Bush years, but there are lessons to be learned from Gingrich strategy between 1993 through 1997.
There are many within the conservative movement already thinking along these lines just as the Golden Door Initiative. The biggest flaw over the past few years that have been the contraction of our coalition, most of it on the economic front. The recent health care debate gives us new opportunities to expand the liberty agenda associated with the Reagan years and the Cap and Trade is another reminder of the neo socialist agenda of the present day Democratic Party.
Gingrich strategy centered on two aspects: the first being to oppose the more left leaning aspect of the Clinton agenda and after the 1994 elections, promote free market conservative ideas as alternative since he had the votes to make a difference. Right now, we are in stage one, namely being the Party of opposition but with the 2010 elections around the corner, we can certainly give people a reason to vote for Republicans as oppose to voting against Democrats. And 2012 election will give us the opportunity to select a free market President and begin a new era that could last a generation.
We have enough issues to work with. Some of those include:
- Turn the Healthcare debate into a debate between a plan that restrict opportunities and patient choices versus expanding patient choices.
- Challenge conventional wisdom on the benefits of cap and trade and show how cap and trade will restrict our freedoms while reducing economic opportunities.
- Use the example of bail out nations to show how the Obama Administration has used government policies to favor wealthier workers and employers while forcing the Middle Class to pay the price in higher taxes and decrease opportunities in the future.
There are the social issues. Often we find ourselves on the defensive on social issues as well as judicial philosophy. Debates over judicial nominees often centers around Roe v Wade. I will say upfront, it would be political foolishness to jettison social issues. There are numerous reasons but one is that if we are to have any hope of making our case to Hispanics and African-Americans voters; emphasizing social issues is one area that both of these groups tend be more conservative than the general population as a whole.
There is another aspect that has always bothered me. Social issues deal with more than just abortion and defense of traditional marriages but also gun rights, property rights and political free speech. We came within one vote of losing the right to own guns in the Heller case, and the Kelo case on property rights essentially gave local governments to right to steal property from one set of private citizen to give it to another, if local government can “raise more revenues for the common good” from the exchange. The debate over the Fairness doctrine shows how vulnerable we are on political free speech as many on the left have looked for ways to silence talk radio. And the recent health care bill is filled with unconstitutional ideas including forcing Americans to buy a specific health care plan or face being fined by the IRS.
If I was advising a political candidate today, I would instruct him or her to say the following, “The reason that judicial nominations matters not just because of defending the unborn but also allow the average citizen to decide for themselves what the definition of marriage should be, to protect a citizen right to keep their property or their guns; to listen to their favorite pundit on radio.” Put the other side on the defensive.
As the chairman of Americas PAC, I have worked with the late Richard Nadler for the past decade and Mr. Nadler taught me much about the present political scene and how to win in 2010 and 2012. Mr. Nadler and Americas Majority Foundation has provided much research that will provide the basis on reviving free market ideas even among those that not traditionally supported our side. Thank you for taking your time and I will ready to help in winning back America.