Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Only One Way to Fix the GOP Brand


As a party, we should own all of the issues. Republicans, not Democrats, organized the most comprehensive homeland security overhaul in the aftermath of 9-11 as Democrats sat back and wondered what to do. Some were even thankful that there was a Republican administration – Remember, I’m talking about right after 9-11, when Democrats realized that we were in danger and before politics clouded the national security debate, causing them to oppose the same measures they themselves had co-authored, albeit only after Republicans pushed for a needed overhaul.

Republicans, not Democrats, sounded the alarm in 2002 about the pending mortgage crisis and the abuses of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Democrats accused the Republicans of trying to curb homeownership at a time of record growth. Republicans were sensible. Democrats were not. But Republicans were assigned blame.

And the list goes on. Republicans, not Democrats, put forward sensible prescription drug coverage for seniors that did not rob them of all healthcare options or put them under the control of statist non-doctor panels. It should be noted that Republicans did this after decades of Democrats doing nothing, yet Democrats have the temerity to call themselves the party of compassion.

So it is not the positions which we advocate for that are the problem, rather it is our failure to properly advocate for those positions.

Do you get sick watching those Sunday political shows? When Maxine Waters yells out that whatever the Democrats are doing is better than those “tax cuts for the rich?” The last I checked in the tax cuts she was referring to Republicans cut taxes on the poor by a third while only cutting a few points for the wealthy, and those cuts to the upper brackets stimulated near record job growth. By contrast, Democrat congressmen, like Charlie Rangel who doesn’t pay taxes anyway, and Diane Watson, who praised Fidel Castro as the ideal fair arbiter of income distribution, fought to raise taxes on the lowest income bracket from ten percent back to 15.

Republican economics work. Republican solutions work and Republican values work, but we need to be able to articulate them as a party. These are not federal or state issues. They are issues that affect our brand name across the board, and local leaders must finally set the record straight.

But here are some of the state issues that are absolutely central to any campaign and should be part of the GOP message:

Current property tax rates are unsustainable and assessed values must come down to reality. A 1.35% property tax cap would be a good start, but we can do even more to stop exacerbating the foreclosure crisis.

Educational reform is key to our nation’s success. Spreading my lifeskills course is just one thing that needs to be done and that I will work on as we seek new methods to improve student motivation and to achieve success throughout the state.

Criminal justice reform, with shorter but harder labor sentences is key to stopping first time and nonviolent offenders from becoming career criminals. Long sentences, aside from being wrong and useless, have allowed radical Islamists to recruit within the prison system. There is a better way that focuses on rehabilitation while allowing the corrections system to fill necessary labor contracts. As always, society benefits from simply doing the right thing.

Furthermore, taxes are a family values issue. This is so because we must never allow the government to increase the burden on those who work hard to provide for their families and pay for their children’s education. It’s just a shame that it takes a candidate for State House to say so.

And speaking of missed opportunities, for some reason I’m the first candidate in the nation to make an issue of the simple fact that our shores are the frontline in the war on terror and that their proper surveillance should be priority number one.

This point is absolutely critical. Right now, anyone can take a ship from Saudi Arabia, or from anywhere else in the world, park 12 nautical miles off of our shores, load up a small yacht and we treat it as if that yacht had just come in from Chesapeake Bay. Am I hesitant to mention this? No – because this fact is well known to our enemies. The only question is, “What are we going to do about it?”

We must also be keenly aware of the need to stand up on all issues and all matters of importance.

Had local politicians and the equivalent of state representatives stood up in Chile in the late 1960s there would have been no radical government of Salvador Allende that terrorized the populace.

Had local politicians stood up in Venezuela in the early 1990s, there would have been no Hugo Chavez.

And had local leaders raised their voices in Cuba in the 1950s, the murder squads of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara would have gone to Russia instead of wreaking havoc 90 miles off of our shores.

We need to be keenly aware that failed dogmas have been allowed to take hold on every continent of our globe because local leaders have failed to articulate their sound beliefs.

So when Obama and his fellow socialist Democrats pledged to ration healthcare and relegate seniors to the backline, I called State Sen. Carey Baker and gave my input, as he was about to propose an amendment that would protect Florida from Obamacare.

You see, the way that we treat seniors says a lot about who we are as a society. I may not yet be elderly and I am not infirm, but I am the father of two small children and I don’t want them growing up in a society that does not value its senior citizens or fight for the infirm. Such an attitude is the exact opposite of American values. Such an attitude also cheapens the medical profession and stops doctors from realizing that their mission is to save lives across the board. Simply put, when you tell doctors whose lives they can and cannot try to save, you destroy motivation in a professional where staying motivated is crucial.

When the federal government decides to do all it can to return a communist thug to power in Honduras after the democratically elected dictator’s own party removed him from office and their courts declared his power grab unconstitutional, Florida can and should do what it can to help the people of Honduras as they do the right thing. We can promote sensible trade. Even our words of encouragement can make an untold difference.

If Obama’s team, the same people who prevented the CIA from communicating with the FBI before 9-11, now dares to harm our CIA agents who stand on the frontline in keeping our nation safe, we must withhold all Florida law enforcement resources and file amicus briefs on behalf of our agents.

And there’s no reason that every Republican in the nation shouldn’t be pushing with tremendous force for all of the same things.

All in all, local officials must raise the rallying cry against the advocacy of seductive yet harmful policies and against the demagoguery that is the hallmark of today's political left. I will do this without fail, because it is the responsibility of each of us to do so across the board; especially those who are running for office.

Our nation is in need of solutions if we are to continue to remain strong and vibrant. The answers are clearer than one would be led to believe and are routed in common sense and in a willingness to do what is right. That is what my campaign is about.

Lastly, I can tell you this:

We Republicans often take a lot of flack from friends, coworkers, employers and even employees. But as I stated earlier on, it is not the positions that we advocate for that are the problem; it is our failure to advocate for those positions.

When we’re asked by others why we are Republican, let me propose a few clear answers:

I’m a Republican because I believe that hard working people should be encouraged to make jobs for others, not hindered in that task. That’s why I’m a Republican!

I’m a Republican because I believe that seniors are our most valuable members of society and they deserve far better than second rate government rationed so-called healthcare. That’s why I’m a Republican!

I’m a Republican because I believe that people should be protected and that madmen should be stopped. That’s why I’m a Republican!

Lastly, I’m a Republican because I believe that age old values and wisdom are better than feel good momentary fixes. That’s why I’m a Republican.

When we see that in some areas more teens were dropping out of school than were graduating, we need to do something about it. I wrote a motivational course that was used by local schools and the United Way, but each of us, all creative Republicans, can do our own thing to find innovative solutions.

When we see issues that are in need of solutions, we must propose sensible ones and when we see the need to speak out, must do so. That’s representation in action that will trump the Democrats each and every time. That’s the kind of representation that we owe our nation and that’s the kind of representation that will rebuild our party.

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