The Senate’s Talent Infusion–A Wall Street Journal Opinion Piece

I’m revisiting a few of the essays I wrote over the past years – essays mainly about the rise of the Tea Party movement and why it resonated with me at the time, and still does. Today I will couple these essays of mine with one from Kimberly A. Strassel in the Wall Street Journal written a few days after the 2014 mid term elections.

First a snippet from one of my essays:

I am a Tea Party Patriot

This is my apologetic. I do not claim to speak for others in the movement, only for myself. However , I suspect that my story would resonate with many Tea Partiers.

  • · I expect honest and integrity  of my government; I am getting neither.
  • · I expect that my children and grandchildren, and generations beyond them, will have liberty and opportunity as I have had; and as my immigrant parents had, and generations of Americans before them.
  • · I expect that my generations debt to be minimal, and will not be passed on to future generations. Instead, my grandchildren will be burdened with less liberty and opportunity because other nations such as China and Japan will be controlling the purse strings, and thus the direction on the nation.
  • · I expect my leaders to understand, honor and preserve our nations foundational principles and our history. This American civilization has been the greatest force for good in the history of the world …  by far! We have been the shining city on the hill, the hope of the nations, and a refuge for generations fleeing oppression and seeking new opportunity, and liberty. I do not expect it to become just some other country in the world community.
  • · I expect the freedom to try and succeed, based on our own character, ambitions and dreams. Or to fail, and have the freedom to try again.
  • · I expect the freedom to buy and sell as the market and my pocket book allow. I do not expect wage, price or profit controls placed on me by my government.

Following are some links to essays I have written during the Obama era:

James Madison on Barack Obama, Obamacare, Dodd Frank, and Foreign Policy | A Yearning for Publius
Sewing The Seeds of Mistrust | A Yearning for Publius
I am a Tea Party Patriot– revisited again | A Yearning for Publius
The IRS and the Tea Party | A Yearning for Publius
Al Gore, Glenn Beck & Al-Jazeera | A Yearning for Publius
Why Do Blacks Overwhelmingly Embrace the Racist Democratic Party? | A Yearning for Publius
Tea Party Terrorists | A Yearning for Publius
My Pick for President in 2012 | A Yearning for Publius
I am a Tea Party Patriot– revisited | A Yearning for Publius

And now the Wall Street Journal essay

The Senate is about to change in ways that go far beyond GOP control. Voters aren’t just sending a bumper crop of Republicans to Washington in January; they are sending an A-Team.

The obsession in the media this year has been so heavy on which states were in play that, the contenders themselves got short shrift. Even when the media begrudgingly acknowledged the Republican Party had chosen good candidates, it wasn’t a particularly deep compliment. The press measures GOP hopefuls on how many months they can go without burbling about rape.

This doesn’t give credit to voters, who on Tuesday elected one of the more solid and reformist freshman Senate classes in decades. Conservatives have been overhauling the GOP for years-replacing an older, lazier, spend-happy generation with Republicans who have run on policy change and principle. The tea-party wave sent 87 new Republicans to the House in 2010, churning over more than a third of the GOP caucus.

The pace has been slower in the Senate, though it too has seen a steady growth in reformers: Marco Rubio, Ron Johnson, Pat Toomey, Jeff Flake, Kelly Ayotte, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz. Up to now, their influence has been largely internal putting the older guard on notice and helping shift the Senate Republican caucus mostly in smarter directions. Harry Reid’s Senate lockdown hasn’t allowed for much more. But that’s about to change, as Republicans take the Senate reins, and as the reformers ranks swell with Tuesday’s victors.

It happens that most of the incoming Republican freshmen are experts in, and passionate about, the issues that are about to dominate Washington. The country hasn’t witnessed a real foreign-policy debate since at least 2004, but President Obama’s mishandling of ISIS has made it inevitable. Joining the fray will be folks like Arkansas’s Tom Cotton. The 37-year-old Harvard-educated, former Army platoon leader has in his few short House years positioned himself as a leading voice on foreign policy.

Add Iowa’s incoming senator, Joni Ernst, who served in Iraq and Kuwait, and who made her opponent’s votes to defund the Iraq war a prominent part of her campaign. In Alaska, Dan Sullivan, who looks to win that Senate race, ran on his military service and his time working on foreign policy for Condi Rice in the White House. The voices of these younger veterans are going to resonate in any coming debate over the president’s cuts to the Pentagon budget. Expect, too, an interesting new dynamic vis-a-vis the Rand Paul wing of the GOP.

On domestic issues, nowhere are Republicans better offensively positioned than on energy. Colorado’s new senator, Cory Gardner, won in part by pummeling his opponent on fracking and Keystone, and by highlighting energy legislation he’d authored in the House. Mr. Sullivan, the’ former head of Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources, can and will talk all day about pipelines, drilling on more federal land, and energy regulations. Montana’s Steve Daines made a name for himself in the House with aggressive oversight of the EPA.

Washington is poised for a major battle over corporate or broader tax reform. Joining the fight will be Georgia’s new Senate voice, David Perdue, a successful businessman who made tax reform central to his campaign. Mr. Daines is a former businessman who loves the subject and helped rally opposition in the house to Internet taxation. North Carolina’s new senator, Thom Tillus, another businessman, has spent four years as speaker of the North Carolina House, where he shepherded a tax-code overhaul and budget reforms. These new senators are also likely to have prominent roles in upcoming budget and spending debates.

Nebraska’s Ben Sasse cruised to a Senate victory by 34 points, and he ran on a fully articulated plan for replacing ObamaCare.
He wasn’t shy either about calling for entitlement reform, welfare reform, immigration reform and election reform – and to explain his detailed policy thoughts on each of those topics. Expect to see him everywhere.

This new Republican bunch isn’t like the 2010-style firebrands; they are, for the most part, principled yet pragmatic. Think of them as the latest iteration of a grass-roots movement that has grown wiser about Washington realities. The voters deliberately chose these personalities over more, radical conservative voices in GOP primaries. Most of the senators-elect come to Washington with real mandates, having been elected in their home states with notable majorities.

A more dynamic Senate caucus meantime has the potential to lay the groundwork for, and give backing to, a reformist 2016 presidential candidate. Voters like to complain that Washington is too full of headline-seekers, empty suits and soulless political types. True. And voters on Tuesday did something about it; they elected some men and women of substance.

I read of Ms. Strassel’s  Republican A-Team and I’m encouraged …  encouraged for several reasons:
First –  are their qualifications, records and passions in the real world of America – the America of free-enterprise business and the creation of jobs and wealth … and  their experience based realizations of the huge cultural, social and economic problems the past eight years of Progressive one-party-rule has  imposed on this nation.
Secondly – is the voting publics strong repudiation of the one-party-rule of Barrack Hussein Obama and his fellow Progressives in the Democrat party.  This repudiation has manifested itself in several ways – in the large spread in the elections between D & R as shown in the WSJ piece – and in the fact that so many voters, as Mr. Obama laments, stayed home rather than coming out and voting for his policies.

The damage of the past six years has been great, but hopefully new leadership can begin to reverse the course of this ship of state and getting us back on a course respectful of our founding principles and past successes.

What is this damage I speak of? Let me address what I see as the top two:

Trust – Let me preface this by reminding all of us that government can not and should not be trusted … the very structure of our Constitution declares this. 
However, that is not to say that our elected and appointed civil servants, from the President on down, should not strive diligently to the highest standards of honesty and integrity. The behavior of President Obama and his administration, as evidenced by the numerous wide and deep scandals having surfaced in recent years, have had a deeply eroding effect on the trust many Americans have in government. This erosion is seen overseas as well in growing distrust in American words and deeds.

Trust is the engine that leads the train. That engine will lead us on a well established American history as the “Shining City on a Hill” or that engine will lead us off the rails to a dead end side track – or worse – off the rails on a sharp curve of reckless economic and cultural malfeasance.

Debt –   Our national debt approaches 18 trillion dollars and continues on an upwards trajectory. This is one of the sharp curves I mentioned above that can quickly run a nation off the rails in one or both fashions:

Excessive debt robs the economy, and the government,  of wealth necessary to maintain legitimate public domestic responsibilities.

Excessive debt robs the nation of the capability to protect and defend our many strategic commitments on the world scene. When foreign nations control our nations purse strings in the form of owning large portions of our national debt they can, to a large and detrimental effect, control American foreign policy and our means to have a robust and effective foreign policy, let alone a robust and effective military presence.  Our ability to counter genocidal Iranian nuclear weapons is a case in point … when Iran obtains deliverable nuclear weapons (and with the help of Barack Obama she will) … and is poised to deliver them to Israel, will we have the capability to come to the aide of a long time and reliable ally … or will we wilt like the cut flower on a hot day?

Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen has said on a number of occasions that he considers our excessive national debt to the the number one security threat to the United States. 

*   *   *   *   *

So I’m hopeful and perhaps naively optimistic that a fresh band of congressional leaders, along with a demonstrated new chief executive such as Scott Walker or Rick Perry, can turn the rudder of the ship of state in a direction away from the rocks and shoals.

The light houses are there to be seen if only we will see them and heed them: George Washington, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Abraham Lincoln, Calvin Coolidge, Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan  and others.

Don Johnson – November 2014  


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