The Ripon Forum

Volume 44, No. 2

Spring 2010 Issue

Our Path Back

By on October 24, 2014


What a difference a year makes. Just think, nearly a year ago, Time Magazine asked, “So are the Republicans going extinct?,” and James Carville was gloating with his newly minted book, “40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation.”

Today, things have changed and the environment is reminiscent of past wave elections. Recently, the Washington Post reported that, “Political handicapper Charlie Cook said that it was ‘very hard to come up with a scenario where Democrats don’t lose the House…’”

How did this happen? We weren’t ready to accept this pontification of defeat, especially with the bad policies coming out of Washington.

In Washington’s first 100 days under complete Democratic control, a trillion dollar stimulus bill was passed with the promise that unemployment would remain below 8.0%; exactly one year later, unemployment is 9.7%. Democrats also approved a budget blueprint that would triple the national debt in ten years, and increase Washington spending by percentages in double-digits. And this spending spree came at the same time that hundreds of thousands of Americans were losing their jobs, forcing their families to make difficult and sometimes painful cost cutting decisions. Washington’s disconnect became clearer by the day.

Washington’s disconnect is putting our country’s future at stake, and we are not going to just stand by and watch it happen. Anyone listening to Americans can’t comprehend how Washington could borrow so much from our children’s generation with so little to show for it.

Washington’s disconnect is putting our country’s future at stake, and we are not going to just stand by and watch it happen.

However, one thing we do understand is that those running Washington are incapable of listening. Case in point — the deeply unpopular 2,000 plus page health care bill that was rammed through Congress with the shady tactics of back room deals, special interest favors, and giveaways.

America has had enough. Today, millions of Americans are fighting for a new direction based on liberty, common sense, and a government where they have a voice. More people are involved in politics than ever before. There are fresh faces and new ideas. Our party is stronger because of this.

Reminiscent of the lead up to 1994, Republicans are now in charge of governor’s mansions in two previously blue states – New Jersey and Virginia. And earlier this year, a truck driving Republican armed with the voice of the people won Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat.

Today, our party’s existence is no longer questioned. Republicans are filled with deep resolve to create a stronger future, and I have seen this firsthand.

This summer, I embarked on a candidate recruitment road trip that started in the President’s home state and concluded in Tennessee. On the way I met Steven Fincher, a cotton farmer from Frog Jump, Tennessee who told me he was concerned that Washington’s reckless ways would damage his children’s future. Steven said he had had enough and he was going to challenge Congressman John Tanner in Tennessee’s 8th district. Rep. Tanner had been viewed as untouchable – with over a million dollars in the bank and a strong reelection record (the lowest vote percentage he ever received was 62 percent). In just a few months, the cotton farmer from Frog Jump raised over $600,000 and Tanner subsequently decided to retire.

The road back for America starts like this — one district at a time with a candidate who has the fire in the belly to take on the status quo.

The road back for America starts like this — one district at a time with a candidate who has the fire in the belly to take on the status quo.

Throughout the year, Reps. Lynn Westmoreland, Judy Biggert, Geoff Davis, Jim Jordan, Bill Shuster, Pete Olson, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Tom Price and I all meet regularly to find the best recruits. We are an unconventional group, but we resembled a good cross section – athlete, military, mother, moderate, conservative – and are all hungry to change the direction of our country.

Shortly before the year ended, our efforts were not unnoticed. National Journal reported “this year, the GOP has done its best recruiting job in several cycles.”

The implications of our recruitment efforts are the building blocks to earning a House majority and a new direction for America. As we know, the Constitution gives Congress the power to control government spending (Art. 1, Sec. 9). Can you imagine Speaker Pelosi no longer in control of this country’s spending? We can. And today, we have an exciting and diverse field of candidates in every state — from doctors, to veterans, to small business owners — ready to make that a reality.

These include candidates like Adam Kinzinger in Illinois, who is just over 30 years of age, but with the courage to fight for his country. He served in the Air Force and literally halted a man from killing a woman across the street from him in Milwaukee one night. Southeastern Wisconsin Red Cross named him hero of the year for this courageous act. The list of fresh face recruits also includes Sean Duffy, who is taking on the father of the failed Stimulus, David Obey, in Wisconsin, and traverses across the ocean to Hawaii, where Charles Djou is challenging the status quo and running in President Obama’s native state of Hawaii.

To help go on the offensive this year, my good friends Republican Whip Eric Cantor and Congressman Paul Ryan worked with Chairman Pete Sessions to bring our “Young Guns” program into a candidate development program at the NRCC. This program gives candidates benchmarks to grow stronger. With this, we also have the opportunity to showcase these top candidates that include our first round of Young Guns that have progressed through the three stages – Lt. Col. Allen West in Florida, Maj. Vaughn Ward in Idaho, Councilwoman Martha Roby in Alabama, Former U.S. Attorney Patrick Meehan, and Lt. Col. Steve Stivers in Ohio, to name a few. Throughout the year, we will be updating our list of Young Guns as they progress through the program.

With strong recruits like this, and America demanding a new direction, I believe that if the election were held today, we’d have a really good night.Just look at the leading ndicator of the generic ballot done by Gallup – it’s a historic rarity because it has Republicans leading by four points (48-44). Gallup notes that past years when Republicans actually led were good years for Republicans — 1994 and 2002. Another fact to note is that Gallup polls “registered voters”; if “likely voters” were surveyed, experts believe you can add another four points.

With strong recruits like this, and America demanding a new direction, I believe that if the election were held today, we’d have a really good night.

Like the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial elections earlier this year, where 74 percent of Virginians and 68 percent of News Jersey voters said they voted for the GOP candidate to send a message to the Obama administration that they were unhappy with the direction they are taking the country, this country is more than ready for a new direction in 2010. This will be a national election, and the build-up of momentum reflects the frustration of the American people towards Nancy Pelosi’s job-killing agenda in Washington and shows that Republicans have an opportunity to be successful this November. I experienced this feeling on my most recent road trip that went from Obama’s home state of Illinois to Chris Christie’s state of New Jersey. People want their government back.

And we are developing a commitment to America, which is our opportunity to do just that. We can give the American people a voice in their government again. We will use the Internet and all tools available to us, so that we can start a broader national conversation to develop this

Together, we aren’t the weak party the media once thought we were. Rather, we are a strong party with new fresh face recruits that is ready to put our nation back on the right track and restore the broken bonds of trust between Americans and Congress.

This is our path back.


Kevin McCarthy represents the 22nd District of California in the U.S. House of Representatives. He serves as Chief Deputy Republican Whip. He is also a member of The Ripon Society’s Honorary Congressional Advisory Board.

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