BY: B. Keith Plunkett @Keithplunkett
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.”-John Maxwell
Mississippi Republicans should be thrilled! We should be ecstatic. We have been given an opportunity in this state unlike any in my lifetime to reshape the national conversation, if only we will show the courage.
Over the years, I have worked many a festival, knocked many a door, and handed out many a push card. I’ve planted thousands of signs and driven tens of thousands of miles across Mississippi.
I’ve volunteered for the Republican Party. I and my wife have helped organize and attend meetings, rally’s and meet-and-greets for numerous Republican candidates, and have promoted many Republican causes.
I have studied and researched policy, and continue to do so every day. I am confident in my conservative beliefs. I know that they have worked throughout history, and I know the research that shows how they would work today. These positions match with my chosen parties stated platform.
Why then are there those in my own party, the one I have worked for, telling me and those like me that these principles no longer apply? Why are those who are commonly referred to as ‘Republican leaders’ going on national television and talk shows and telling others that I don’t belong? Why are they saying we must now reject parts of our own platform?
And, maybe more importantly, why won’t they have the discussion with those of us who have worked in the trenches? Why won’t they defend their position? Why won’t they show those of us how this proposal to reject the platform will result in success? Better yet, why won’t they show us where it ever has?
I am old enough to remember the conservative movement that allowed Ronald Reagan to become President. Despite his administrations imperfections, I remember the incredible things accomplished in pulling our country back from the brink of economic disaster and world war, and how people began engaging again in their communities.
I also remember the hard push by a scrappy group of Republican Congressmen in the House of Representatives in 1996 that resulted in the ‘shutdown’ of the federal government. I remember that the Washington media heaped blame upon them, much as they did Senate conservatives last year. Despite the blame-game in DC, two years later the American people rewarded the fight by giving Republicans control of the House again, and even electing two new Republicans to the Senate.
Two years later, again due to the willingness to fight, a Democrat President was forced to sign the first balanced budget in generations. He also signed a major reform of welfare pushed by Republicans that went on to lift millions of children out of poverty.
These are the GOP principles in action that I remember. What they illustrate to me is that when Republicans are willing to fight for conservative principles and not just their next election, then the people of this country win.
Why is this no longer a valid approach? Can one of my GOP leaders explain?
- Can they explain why the Republican leadership no longer believes illegal immigration should be illegal?
- Can they explain why the push for a simplified tax code is only given lip service, when our history clearly shows that reducing taxes and doing away with the thousands of tax loopholes increases economic prosperity for everyone and actually increases tax revenue?
- Can they explain how the more the federal government has spent and regulated, the less people have worked and participated in their own communities?
- Can they explain how the states receiving the most in federal funds have created the fewest full-time jobs?
- Can they explain how money sold as disaster relief can end up in the pockets of political friends and family members of the politicians in charge instead of the victims? Can they explain how states nowhere near the Gulf Coast should have received money from Hurricane Katrina relief?
- Can they explain how federal legislation intended to prop up industry and markets is now a good thing and why it rarely ends once it begins?
- Can they explain how two-thirds of the taxpayers money is taken and handed out to others who have not worked to save their own?
- Can they explain why they fund agencies that create laws by creating regulation that restricts some people while rewarding others?
- Can they explain why they vote to give billions of dollars to other countries and international agencies every year who then question the validity of U.S. citizens God-given rights within our own borders?
- Can they explain why they vote to fund practices and create laws while in office that they tell us they are against when they are running for reelection?
- Can they explain why discussion of cutting benefits to Veterans comes up, but never discussion of cutting Congressional benefits?
When leaders have the faith of those they are leading then it is easy to take the fight forward. But, it is difficult for anyone to lead when they refuse to speak, inspire and answer questions. It is impossible to lead when the answers to the questions have become the exact opposite of what people believe and want. When that happens, the conversation ends, just like it has with Senator Thad Cochran. That is why he has refused to debate.
The only person in the race for U.S. Senate who is having a conversation with the people right now about how we move forward as a state and a nation is Senator Chris McDaniel. He is the only person answering difficult questions and addressing topics of the economy, education, jobs and healthcare. He is the only person presenting his ideas and engaging in a discussion. He is the only person that’s record shows he has fought and will continue to fight for conservative principles espoused by our Republican Party.
To my friends in the GOP who are fretting about the future, for the sake of our party tell our leaders to stop fighting the debate we all know is necessary.
For those old bastions who refuse to listen and would rather personally attack than have the debate, thank you for your past service. But, you are now part of the problem.
I believe it was Haley Barbour who said, “Good policy is good politics.” To recognize that is to take part in the ongoing important discussion, to refuse is to prolong the GOP’s misery.
About Keith: Keith Plunkett is Policy Director for McDaniel for U.S. Senate. He has worked on communications and policy issues with a range of public officials from aldermen to Congressmen, and a variety of businesses, governmental agencies and non-profits. He serves or has served as a board member of several non-profit, civic and political organizations. Contact him by going to HorizonMediaMarketing.com or follow him on Twitter @Keithplunkett