EDITOR OF REDSTATE
Morning Briefing for February 19, 2010
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Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey showed true and very real leadership yesterday at CPAC. To understand why, and I hope conservative groups and tea party activists read this post several times, you need some context.
I get asked all the time where the good guys are. We all know some guy somewhere who we want to enter the arena. We want one of our guys there. We know the guy would be miserable. Most often the guy never steps up and volunteers. Most often we settle for something less than even second best. But sometimes, just sometimes when the moon hits the water just right, our guy enters the arena. Our guy decides he will take the slings and arrows, suffer the insults, and risk embarrassment and defeat, because he decides we are right — if good men sit on the sidelines because politics is rough, dirty, or aggravating, the lesser men will win.
That’s not to say the lesser men are bad men. Most are very good men. But while anyone who steps into the arena for any excuse under the sun has some amount of ambition, often times it is the most ambitious of men — ambitious for their own advancement — who enter the arena, make the compromises needed to win, and then immediately set to work to win re-election, not to change the country or stand on principle.
At this point, I hope you are following along and paying close attention — particularly if you work for a conservative group or are an active tea party activist.
Let me repeat myself first. Sometimes, just sometimes when the moon hits the water just right, our guy enters the arena. Our guy decides he will take the slings and arrows, suffer the insults, and risk embarrassment and defeat, because he decides we are right. Good men sometimes need to take a risk, be bold, and enter the arena come what may.
But then you know what? The conservative movement’s system breaks down around them.
I’ve suspected for some time now that the California Senate race against Barbara Boxer was basically the high-watermark Senate race for the GOP – that is, the toughest race that has a non-trivial chance to be winnable if everything breaks just right. But the recent withdrawal of Evan Bayh from his own re-election race in Indiana (not as “safe” a seat as Boxer’s, given Indiana’s natural Republican tilt, but an entrenched incumbent with a $13 million warchest) is a reminder, as was Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts, that you really never know where your opportunities are until you press them.
The GOP in New York is already stretched fairly thin trying to fight a two-front war against what should be vulnerable candidates, Gov. David Paterson (who is basically doomed, but likely will be replaced as the Democratic nominee by the more formidable Attorney General Andrew Cuomo) and his Senate appointee, Kirsten Gillibrand (who should emerge successful from what nonetheless promises to be a vigorous challenge from former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford). Former Long Island Congressman Rick Lazio is the leading contender to be Republican nominee in the Governor’s race, while the Senate field lacks even a candidate as mildly well-known as Lazio, assuming George Pataki resists entreaties to run.
Now, with polls showing the generally invulnerable-seeming Chuck Schumer bleeding popularity, Republicans may open a third front if they can talk longtime CNBC/National Review economics commentator Larry Kudlow into running.
Estimates are at about 10K attendees for this year’s event. So far we’ve had Marco Rubio and Jim DeMint addressing the crowd. Both were fantastic, as expected, and got the audience fired up. Rubio detailed several key ideas he has for how to turn the country back from the Obamination that we find ourselves experiencing today:
- Reform the tax code, reduce tax rates across the board
- Eliminate double taxation – abolish capital gains, dividends, interest, death taxes
- Lower the corporate tax rate so it is competitive with the rest of the world
- Stop big govt energy madates such as Cap & Trade
- Put the consumer in charge of healthcare spending in America
- Pass lawsuit abuse reform
- Undertake serious measures to get control of national debt
- Terrorists attack to impose their view of the world on as many as they can; America is standing in the way
- We will do whatever it takes, as long as it takes, to defeat radical Islamic terrorism
- We will stand with our allies like Israel
- We will capture them (terrorists_, get useful info from them, bring them to justice in front of military tribunal at Gitmo, not a civilian courtroom in Manhattan (BIG APPLAUSE)
The agenda here is rich, and there will be more where that came from. Watch the action on Twitter via hashtag #cpac10. And watch the front page throughout the conference…we’re all working to bring the conference to you live!