Rep. is carving out a significant place in the Republican Party that extends beyond the House GOP leadership. His speech to CPAC tells us why he’s a rising national conservative leader. This portion of Rep. Pence’s speech is the quintessential roadmap to success:

On Election Day, only 22 percent of Americans described themselves as “liberal,” yet voters sent to Washington the most liberal, one-party government in our nation’s history.

So what happened?

The truth is, Republicans didn’t just lose a few elections, we lost our way. We walked away from the principles that minted our national majority and the American people walked away from us.

So we’re in the wilderness. The only question now is, what are we going to do about it? There sure is a lot of advice out there, some of it even from Republicans.

We keep hearing that Republicans have to come up with new ideas and that we have to use new technology to take those ideas to voters who haven’t been coming our way lately.

Yes, we need to offer positive alternatives. Yes, we need to take our message to every community in America. But more than anything else, we need to be willing to fight, for freedom and free markets and traditional moral values.

I said that we needed to start picking policy fights all the way back in November, 2006. I’m more convinced of it now than I was then. And I was convinced then. We need to be the polar opposite of the Democrats in several important aspects. Here’s what I’m referring to:

1. We need to be identified as the party that thinks things through, not the party of ‘Surely we must do something’. The ‘Surely we must do something’ approach is fraught with wasteful spending and sloppy policymaking. We can’t afford that ever but we especially can’t afford that approach now when President Obama is proposing one foolish or irresponsible policy after another.

Another reason why we should aspire to being the party that thinks things through is because that’s how we become more articulate in explaining why conservatism is the better alternative.

2. We need to be the party that listens to every demographic group in every region of the country. That’s part of becoming the party that thinks things through. True listening is about telling people that their opinions matter. That’s the best way of telling people that we’ll listen before setting policies. The silent benefit of that practice is that people will still trust us even when they don’t agree with the policy.

3. We must be the party that follows through on its promises. President Obama promised to be a post-partisan politician. Thus far, he’s been polarizing partisan politician. That’s causing people to think that politicians don’t keep their word. We should do everything possible to keep our promises because that’s how we offer a positive alternative to President Obama, both in terms of trust and in superior policies.

Here’s another great part of Rep. Pence’s speech:

Margaret Thatcher used to say: “First you win the argument, then you win the vote.”

Although we lost the legislative battle, we won the argument because we proposed a better solution: tax relief for working families and small businesses. Twice the jobs, at half the cost. Republicans won the argument because we got back to basics: fighting for the principles and ideals that make this nation great. We got back to fighting for basic economic freedom: free enterprise and fiscal responsibility.

This is the way back for our movement and our party.

It isn’t enough to win the news cycle. It’s important, though, to own the issue, to be the experts on whatever issue is being discussed. Being articulate experts on issues is a great way to increase the GOP’s credibility. The more we improve our credibility, the more viable we become electorally. To borrow an old cliche, good policies make for great politics.

Finally, this portion of Rep. Pence’s speech is must reading:

After writing a stimulus bill that was nothing more than a wish list of liberal spending priorities and power grabs, Speaker Nancy Pelosi went to the House floor and said, “every American is asking, ‘what’s in it for me?’” She thinks the American people are a bunch of congressmen!!

No, Madame Speaker, they wanted to know what’s in it, period. Which is more than you can say for the 246 Democrats who cast their votes for it. The American people weren’t asking, “what’s in it for me?” They were asking, “what’s in it for America?” What’s in it that will strengthen the foundations upon which our prosperity rests?

The contrast couldn’t be more stark. Rep. Pence thinks like a real person from America’s heartland; Speaker Pelosi thinks like a typical Beltway politician. Right now, typical Beltway doesn’t seem like a particularly wise path to follow.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at California Conservative

3 Responses to “Rep. Pence Addresses CPAC”

  • J. Ewing says:

    “…why conservatism is the better alternative.”

    I thought you were spot on until you used that phrase, I assume in somewhat thoughtless haste. We have to be certain that the alternative vision, programs and principles we offer are not simply dashed off as “conservative.” They must be the “well thought out” vision, programs and principles that we conservatives believe, but we should never use the word itself because liberals have done such a splendid job of demonizing it. Make them attack the common sense ideas themselves, rather than the label.

  • Gary Gross says:

    I think you’re being a bit nitpicky. I’ll stand by what I said. It’s right to say that we should present a positive alternative to the D’s irresponsible economic policies.

    That “positive alternative” necessarily means it’s based on conservatism’s core principles.

  • eric z says:

    1. Would it be convenient in a comment to put a link to the full text, or is it not online?

    2. Will the GOP have to rethink “deregulation” into ways that do not created too great a potential for the worse kinds of abuse? In generally thinking government should protect the poor from the rich and the rich from each other, it seems the second part of that would entail GOP refocus on what bounds and norms of “deregulation” should be. Just a thought. No reply comment needed, although a cogent GOP response to that question needs to be published at some point in time. Whether now or later is better timing, I can see a GOP motive to “pay out rope” to Obama before saying, “Too much” instead of articulating anything firm at this time.

Leave a Reply