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The GOP’s Next Leader

November 29, 2017

In June of 2010, conservative Republicans faced issues that are oddly similar to ones we face in 2017. Back then we looked to the Presidential election of 2012 as a way to overcome the consequences of Sen. John McCain’s loss to then-Senator Barack Obama. Now we wonder if the GOP can survive the election of 2020.

The one accomplishment conservative Republicans could look to was the successful “Contract with America” that we now realize was the first statement of the post-World War II generation to affirm the interests of that generation.

The handiwork of Cong. Newt Gingrich, the 1994 Contract with America was jammed with principles connected to policies that appealed to the voters and led to a 54 seat gain in the House and a 9 seat gain in the Senate in that year’s Congressional elections.

Back then, as now, tax reform was an issue balanced by concerns for growing deficits. The solution, then as now, was not to raise taxes, rather reduce government spending.

Here’s what I wrote in 2010 and which I still believe:

It is necessary to look at federal tuition assistance (direct student loans and Pell                  Grants), Medicare, Social Security and begin to cut back benefit by 5% a year for                  five years. It is also necessary to conduct a review of American foreign policy                      which has been in decline since the election of President Jimmy Carter and                          reevaluate the value of NATO, the United Nations, and, of course, our military                      engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

My recent book on the crisis in higher education calls for shifting 5% a year of annual Title IV student loan spending to the states in Block Grants to the States. Let the States define what education and training programs are needed.

Entitlement Programs like Social Security, Medicare and the foolish Prescription Medicine benefits of the George W. Bush Administration will not exist in any meaningful form when today’s “Millennials” reach retirement age.

I argued then and I believe today:

it is necessary for younger Americans to vote their economic interests. It is not in                the interest of 30-somethings to vote for politicians whose policies will assure that              withholding income for Medicare and Social Security is never returned to them in              benefits when they retire.

Every word about foreign policy and national security that I wrote in 2010 is true today. NATO has changed and became a place to meet to talk about collective security, but not grab the bull by the horns and build a strategy to protect Western Europe from a predatory Russian kleptocracy. Instead, NATO built a new headquarters building in Brussels at a cost of close to $1 billion.

The United Nations, too, is a relic from the 20th century when it was believed that international law, international agreements and world government could replace balance of power politics. And, of course, we are still embroiled in the politics of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Apart from President Trump’s promise to protect all existing entitlements, his pursuit of tax reform without concern for increased deficits and his statements on American national security and foreign policy are much like those I emphasized back in 2010.

The difference this year is that we have no Newt Gingrich grinding out new ideas around which the GOP can rally.

Our President has demonstrated that, though he wanted to become President, he knows nothing about how government is organized and managed.

The GOP is, essentially, leaderless and that does not bode well for the GOP in the 2018 Congressional elections nor in the 2020 Presidential contest.

The good news is that any young, ambitious and optimistic conservative Republican currently holding elective office can see opportunity in this sorry mess.  Who that young person is and when will he take the lead?

Tomorrow, my picks for the next leader of the GOP.

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