New US Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) hits the nail squarely on the head in this piece for the Washington Post. The Republicans MUST become more effective at presenting the idea of the opportunities that conservatism provides. The GOP no longer needs to be known as the Grand Old Party, but the Great Opportunity Party. Our principles of limited government, personal responsibility, and a desire to make tomorrow better than today, are what make us uniquely qualified to address our nation’s challenges in the most productive manner. We MUST become salespeople of conservative ideals.
What is the opportunity that the GOP provides? We have a belief in the power of the individual to improve their own lot in life. We understand that it is hard work and a desire to learn that allows people to invest in their future. We KNOW that America and our founding principles are what continue to make America that “shining city on a hill” that John Winthrop spoke of as he reached the shores of this great land. I believe that we are at a time for choosing, and we must do as Reagan said, ““Four years ago we raised a banner of bold colors – no pale pastels. We proclaimed a dream of an America that would be a ‘shining city on a hill’.” We’re talking about the same bold colors today – crafting a message of opportunity and then communicating that message eloquently, forcefully, and without apology.
We offer a spirit of entrepreneurship. This idea is not only confined to those that own their own business, it applies to everyone as they seek to do their job to the best of their ability. I remember a store manager early in my career said to me, “Billy, in order for us to be successful, we need to run it like we own it.” He meant to take pride in the job that I did, and if I took ownership of the job I was assigned, I would be rewarded. This lesson paid off, as a short period of time later I entered the management training program. I continued to carry that philosophy throughout my time in the grocery business, and continue it today as I have a small business of my own. Any person can be an “entrepreneur,” whether it is the men and women that keep the office clean, the folks that make the products we use everyday, or the people that take care of us when we go out to eat. Anyone that takes pride in their job, and seeks a way to improve, is an entrepreneur.
We offer a way to invest in their future. The ability of an individual to keep the fruits of their labor is essential to investment. When we speak of “investing,” we don’t mean merely putting money in a 401(k), we mean saving to buy a place that you can call home, to buy books for your children so they may learn, to afford a family vacation so that you can make memories that will last a lifetime. Investment can take on many of these forms, but it is about one fundamental idea, “I want to make tomorrow better than today.”
We know that personal responsibility is essential to success. When you play by the rules and work hard you CAN succeed, however a burdensome government can often make this more difficult. The wages that people earn should not be used to bail out irresponsible business owners and others that have made poor decisions. The ability to fail is essential to success, I have learned far more from my failures, than I learned from my successes. If that opportunity to fail was not there, I would never have learned those valuable lessons. When people make bad decisions in business, they need to be allowed to fail, so that we all may learn these lessons to ensure success in the future. It is much better to learn not to touch a hot stove by watching someone else burn themselves, than putting yourself through that pain.
We have many other reasons for why we truly are the “Great Opportunity Party,” and this is just a start. I challenge each of you to think of ways that opportunity can lead to success, and to become salespeople of these ideals. Change begins at home, and I hope many of you will join us in this fight. We must shout our message from the rooftops, and liberate everyone from the “soft bigotry of low expectations.” We can continue to ensure that America remains that “last best hope for mankind,” but it will take all of us working towards a common goal to get there.