Three decades and 2 years ago our great nation rejected the malaise and misery of the Carter presidency and elected the former governor of California, Ronald Reagan, President. Reagan, not known as an overly conservative governor, recognized instinctively that the greatness of the American people lay not in more and bigger government programs but in the ingenuity, creativity, and hard work of the individual citizen. In order to get America back on its feet Reagan got passed the biggest tax cut ever and combined it with an agenda of deregulation, monetary restraint and spending controls. Stephen Moore, member of the Wall Street Journal editorial Board, stated in 2001 that “No event over the past quarter century has had a more profound impact on the U.S. economy and the prosperity of the 1980s and ‘90s than the Reagan tax cut of 1981”.The Republican Party split in 1976 into Ford and Reagan camps which along with the lingering stench of Watergate ensured Carter’s election. In 1980 we united behind Reagan and the rest, as they say, is history.
As we head into the homestretch of the race for the Republican nominee for President we need to heed certain lessons from the past. First we need to watch our rhetoric and yes this definitely includes myself. I would suggest that we are coming close to a finalization of the Republican contest. I would also suggest that any candidate who can win a presidential primary in conservative Clermont County deserves a second consideration and a unified party if he is the eventual nominee. Reagan as I mentioned was not the most conservative of governors in California just as Romney was not in Massachusetts – two states not overly known for producing conservative politicians. Reagan was not the first pick of many in either 1976 or 1980 but he made believers of us all. I am not suggesting that Governor Romney is a new Reagan. I am definitively stating that whoever the eventual Republican nominee may be is far better than the current occupant of the White House.
Secondly, we must not allow ourselves, our allies, the main stream media or our common foes to divide us. In 1858 Abraham Lincoln uttered the words, “A house divided against itself cannot stand”. Lincoln, the autodidact, had borrowed the phrase from the New Testament books of Matthew and Luke. The concept, either in the biblical sense or Lincoln’s use, is easily and readily understood. Any house, any institution, any party cannot stand if it is divided itself. In order to withstand or win a “house” must be united with one goal in mind. Today many wish to speak of factions within the Republican Party. Friends we cannot allow ourselves to be divided. We must be careful so as not to divide ourselves. We must learn to speak with one another rather than at or to one another. I have not heard the word “establishment “used as much as a pejorative since the days of my youth when it was used by the likes of Jane Fonda, Tom Hayden, and Huey Newton. I don’t believe any of us wish that connotation on anyone. It also does not help when a state party both tries to co-opt the Tea Party by use of its symbols and deny its members seats, duly won in an election, on the state central committee. Correct me if I am wrong but I believe that the principles of the conservative base of the Republican Party and the Tea Party are one and the same.
As we move forward we need to realize that our motivation in this momentous fight is not for ourselves. If we fight only for ourselves than the fight is not worth the effort we are putting into it. We fight not for ourselves but for the generations to come. We fight so that our sons and daughters and their sons and daughters will have the same opportunities that we have enjoyed. Seen in this light, it doesn’t matter who gets credit for a win.
After signing the Declaration of Independence Benjamin Franklin declared, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately”. As chairman I will gladly stand united with you if necessary after the next election at the gallows pole. I would rather paraphrase an even older maxim, “United we stand and win, divided we fall and fail”. After all,this time, failure is not an option.