RLC Chapter News
Whenever the so-called progressive mindset is challenged in modern debate, big-government supporters turn to 20th century welfare programs, which they say led to our country’s great success. If anything, these programs and their modern iterations, such as Obamacare, have held back the country—and more importantly, its citizens—from progressing further than we have.
Our nation is now in decline because we are spending more money than we can print on progressive entitlement programs that encourage dependency on government rather than hard work, innovation and discovery. Even our state is struggling to stay afloat because the progressives in state government have convinced us to collect as many federal grants as we can, even if we lose 25 cents on the dollar and get heavy strings attached to the 75 cents we receive.
As of the most recent count, nearly 110 million people—more than a third of our population—received a welfare benefit in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This figure doesn’t include subsidies such as the Earned Income Tax Credit or the health insurance premiums in the president’s progressive health insurance law. The latter program will add 25 million people who receive premium subsidies by 2020, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Is this the progress that progressives are working toward? Do they intend for every citizen to depend on the federal government for their care, with the states simply serving as subsidiary organizations? What freedom will citizens have to pursue their own interests when everything is paid for and controlled by the government? What fulfilling charity, paid for and executed by real people, will remain? Will any real human progress result if individuals are compelled to act according to the whims of a centralized government rather than the dictates of their own conscience?
Only liberty lived out by a moral people, which conservatism seeks to preserve, can truly lead to progress. Liberty means government stays out of the way while individuals take risks and even fail—sometimes repeatedly. After all, one lost opportunity creates a new one, and opportunity, properly grasped and cultivated, will always lead to human advancement. These advancements benefit everyone because they generate wealth, which not only allows people to create jobs and opportunities for others to work toward their own well-being, but also provides more people the resources to privately help those less fortunate, which we know is the most humane way to provide for the needs of those most vulnerable in our society.
In traditional America and traditional New Hampshire, which conservatives desire and groups such as the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire seek to restore, government’s job is to make sure no one is taking what doesn’t belong to them, that no one is using coercion to get what they want, and that no one is conspiring to prevent others from trying to improve on what they’ve already done. This limited government allows people to achieve as much as they’re able and keep the fruits of that achievement, which inspires them to achieve more.
Contrary to what so-called progressives will have you believe, these conservative ideas are actually quite revolutionary when put into the context of human history. It is a new idea that common men and women should be able to achieve the good life according to their ability, that they should keep the property they’ve earned and do with it what they wish, and that they should elect their own leaders who are held to the same legal standards to make sure no one person takes advantage of government for their personal benefit. Unfortunately, while a relatively new idea, human liberty has been short lived.
Progressivism has been creeping into America since the day our forefathers signed the Treaty of Paris in 1783, but it has become most pronounced within the past 100 years—since we lost our ability to trade with real money following the creation of the Federal Reserve bank, allowed for direct federal taxation, and destroyed the delicate state-federal balance via direct election of U.S. Senators. Ever since then, an American ruling class has slowly grown in power as the remaining Americans have slowly lost their wealth, their power and their freedom.
Most governments that we’ve observed since the rise of man have been large and oppressive like ours has become, preserving the good life for a small group of people who hold the rest in mediocrity, dependence, and inevitably, injustice and oppression. This is the oldest system in human history: a type of totalitarianism that shows complete disrespect for human dignity. It is this system that is endemic to the so-called progressive philosophy today.
We seek to conserve and restore what is really a new idea—the ideas of limited government, individual liberty and personal responsibility, which once led to the most prosperous people the Earth had ever known.
Dear Congressman Scott,
Last week I attended a meeting of the Dorchester County GOP, as I regularly do, and I appreciate that you took time out of your schedule to come and visit us and keep us up to speed on how things are going in the U.S. House. During your remarks, you hit on many key points, and one in particular that struck me as exceptional in comparison to the average politician. Rather than just pointing out how bad the Democrats are, you asserted that we Republicans need to improve our marketing of our message of conservative principles and American Values. You said (paraphrased):
“We have to stop talking just about the current election cycle and we need to present a long term plan for America. We should talk about 30 year goals, and give people an idea of where we want to take this Country.”
I absolutely agree. This is the difference between petty partisan politics and real leadership. This is the kind of thing that can win over not only the independent voters, but the trust of the American people. If this mission is carried out honestly, genuinely, and enthusiastically then the GOP won’t just win elections, it will win back the direction of the country, and hopefully restore freedom and the American way.
The question before us is: what is the long term vision? What is the 30 year plan?
I urge you to consider this question very carefully, and to not answer too hastily, bending to the influences of the current political moment. Do not create a plan that emphasizes “less government” or “more competition” and don’t use blanket answers such as “return to Christian values.” Do not mince words, do not present patchwork solutions, do not aim for the easily attainable. Nobody was ever inspired by pragmatism or compromise. No, people are inspired by ideas, integrity, honesty, consistency, and bold solutions that are based on right and wrong, not “popular right now.”
The truth of our current situation is that most people aren’t tuned in to Politics. Most people aren’t card-carrying members of the Republican or Democrat party. Most people don’t really follow the issues that closely, and really, who can blame them? What is there to be inspired about with our current state of partisan bickering, special interest lobbying, and endless thousand page bills that nobody reads?
I ask you to recognize that one of the most inspiring documents in history, the Declaration of Independence, does not say that we have the right to “more life” or “more liberty” or “more pursuit of happiness.” It says that we all have the unalienable right to our own life, our own liberty, and our own pursuit of happiness. It doesn’t say that, when a government violates those rights, the solution is “less government.” On the contrary, it says that when the government crosses those boundaries, we should remove the government!
Don’t take me the wrong way, I’m not asking you to introduce a bill to dissolve the government. What I am requesting is that as you formulate your 30 year plan to restore prosperity and freedom, you do not partake in the same sort of political thought that has dominated the discourse at the federal level for so long. I’m asking that when you present a picture of what things will look like 30 years from now it doesn’t leave every government institution in place with simply minor adjustments, tinkering around the edges, with some reductions. I’m asking you to plant yourself firmly in the perspective of individual rights and examine each and every aspect of the federal government and ask the fundamental question: is this the proper role of government?
If not, then take out your eraser, and wipe that particular function, or regulation, or department off of your long term vision. If it is wrong, just remove it. Then figure out a transition that will take us from today, to a future without that injustice. Do you want to inspire Americans to vote for Republicans to restore prosperity and freedom? If so, then show them a future where wrongs are eliminated, not simply reduced. Give us a vision that inspires our support, so that people will vote for Republicans, not just against Democrats.
As an example, let’s take the income tax. During every election in my life, Republicans have said that they won’t raise taxes. Sometimes they even say they are going to lower taxes! Unfortunately, that rarely happens. But is this really a message that inspires people? If a robber robbed you every month, then one month decided to tell you “don’t worry, next time I wont’ take quite as much” would that really make you feel any better about the situation? I doubt it.
When you set out your 30 year plan, you have the opportunity to propose the elimination of the income tax! After all, taking property from people just because they are productive can’t be rationalized as morally right. We also can’t say that we live in a capitalist country when people earn a paycheck and the government takes a large chunk of it, otherwise known as potential capital savings. So don’t offer us a vision that says you will “lower the income tax.” Instead paint a picture where we live in a free country, without an income tax, where the common man can accumulate capital! Of course we can’t do this over night, but we didn’t have an income tax until 1913, so surely you can come up with a plan that will abolish it over a 30 year span.
I could go on with many examples such as this but I think my point has been made. I appreciate your time and the amount of effort you put into communicating with your constituents. I hope that this message finds you well, and that it inspires you to be bold, and to fight for those principles that made this country great.
Bills, Hernandez, Fields and Byberg will be advocates for sensible, constitutional government
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 20, 2012
CONTACT: Norann Dillon, 763-516-1175 or firstname.lastname@example.org
SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA — Today, the Republican Liberty Caucus [rlc.org] and its Minnesota Chapter [rlcmn.org] jointly announced endorsements for four Congressional candidates who will sincerely uphold the oath to protect and defend the Constitution.
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CONCORD, N.H.—As the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire adds 22 endorsed candidates and four recommended candidates to its list of supported contenders for the Sept. 11 New Hampshire primary, the organization will focus its remaining efforts on identifying the best Republicans for elected office in a final round of endorsements and recommendations prior to releasing its voter guide right before the election.
The RLCNH 26 endorsements and recommendations released today are for new candidates who scored well on the organization’s survey found at www.rlcnh.org/survey and who made it through a reputation-screening process run by the RLCNH Endorsements Committee. Last month, the RLCNH endorsed and recommended 90 incumbents based on how well their voting records reflected the essential principles of limited government, individual liberty, personal responsibility and free markets. Earlier this summer, the RLCNH endorsed an initial 20 new candidates who met the same criteria as the current group.
“The RLCNH is happy to offer voters today’s list of ideal Republican candidates who have shown their willingness to stand firm on principle and continue the work of the current Legislature to restore liberty and prosperity in New Hampshire,” said Carolyn McKinney, chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire. “As we get closer to the primary, the RLCNH will start to identify key districts where these true Republicans are running against weak, big government Republicans. Following a final list of candidate endorsements and recommendations, we will release our voter guide to make sure New Hampshire continues to move forward in its effort to restore the ideas that made our state and country great.”
With 107 endorsed candidates winning their elections in 2010, the RLCNH swept 80 percent of its post-primary candidates into office. These endorsed Republicans passed 338 bills, leading the restorative, common sense changes desperately needed after years of wasteful Democratic spending and the resultant taxes and fees that left the New Hampshire economy in shambles.
Endorsed Republicans in the next biennium will have to continue the responsible decision-making that led to this session’s $1 billion budget cut, which allowed the Legislature to reduce taxes, fees and regulations and foster the beginning of economic growth. Further cuts to excessive and burdensome government will be needed to make the changes necessary for sustainable prosperity among New Hampshire’s working families and businesses.
The RLCNH has raised its standards in making endorsements for the 2013-2014 Legislative Session to send a clear message to voters about which candidates will truly support the organization’s Liberty and Prosperity for New Hampshire agenda, and which will simply continue business as usual in Concord.
“The just ending session of the Legislature was one of the most refreshing in modern times because it featured statesmen who truly executed on the mission they promised to voters,” McKinney said. “The RLCNH is interested in making this type of honest politics—focused on reducing the size of government by cutting the budget and reducing taxes, fees and regulations, and letting people live their own lives and raise their own children—a new normal within New Hampshire. We expect endorsed candidates to give deference to their campaign promises and their oaths to the N.H. and U.S. Constitutions above any testimony given by state bureaucrats or lobbyists.
“No longer can New Hampshire afford to accept mediocrity in the Legislature,” McKinney added. “Republican representatives, senators, executive councilors and governors should be spending every day of their elected office driving more power away from government and into our homes, private sector businesses and non-profit organizations.”
Because timing is now short, new candidates—particularly those with a primary—who have not yet filled out the RLCNH survey are encouraged to do so by visiting www.rlcnh.org/survey.
RLCNH THIRD-ROUND CANDIDATE ENDORSEMENTS
Endorsed Executive Councilor Candidate
Robert Burns, Executive Council District 4
Endorsed State Senate Candidate
Dennis Acton, Senate District 23 (Brentwood, Chester, Danville, East Kingston, Epping, Exeter, Fremont, Kingston, Sandown)
Endorsed State Representative Candidates
Keith Carlsen, Cheshire 6 (Keene Ward 3)
Jacqueline Casey, Hillsborough 34 (Nashua Ward 7)
Donald J. Frye, Hillsborough 16 (Manchester Ward 9)
Bianca Garcia, Rockingham 8 (Salem)
Dan Garthwaite, Hillsborough 12 (Manchester Ward 5)
Shuvom Ghose, Hillsborough 11 (Manchester Ward 4)
Robert D. Goodman, Rockingham 36 (Exeter, Newfields, Newmarket, Stratham)
Donald Gorman, Rockingham 32 (Candia, Deerfield, Northwood, Nottingham)
Brian Griset, Rockingham 18 (Exeter)
Elijah Haykinson, Hillsborough 7 (Bedford)
Kevin J. Kervick, Rockingham 30 (Portsmouth Wards 1, 2, 4 & 5)
Gerard A. LeDuc, Merrimack 21 (Epsom, Pittsfield)
David Murotake, Hillsborough 32 (Nashua Ward 5)
Kelleigh Murphy, Hillsborough 7 (Bedford)
Ron Noyes, Merrimack 27 (Concord Wards 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7)
Eric Rolfs, Hillsborough 37 (Hudson, Pelham)
Emily Sandblade, Hillsborough 18 (Manchester Ward 11)
David Schoneman, Hillsborough 22 (Nashua Ward 3)
Phil Straight, Hillsborough 21 (Merrimack)
Len Turcotte, Strafford 25 (Barrington & Lee)
RLCNH THIRD-ROUND CANDIDATE RECOMMENDATIONS
Recommended Executive Councilor Candidate
Jerry Thibodeau, Executive Council District 1
Recommended State Representative Candidates
Patrick J. Bick, Rockingham 8 (Salem)
Robert G. Fullerton, Strafford 17 (Dover Wards 5 & 6, Somersworth Ward 2)
Lee Shaikh, Merrimack 9 (Canterbury, Loudon)
The Republican Party establishment has proven itself to be all too willing to compromise the fiscal conservative values that Americans have long maintained. Just as in 2006 and 2008, voters voted against Republicans because of wars and out of control spending; likewise, in 2010 voters voted against Democrats for health care and out of control spending. In this, perhaps both parties have failed to win the confidence of the American people because both parties have largely ignored the real center of American politics: Those who believe that government ought to mind its own business.
First, one should be mindful that the narrative of the debate in Washington won’t change with a Republican “win” in 2012, if it is so fortunate. The narrative of the debate will only change, when the people outside of Washington demand it. If conservatives want to affect that change, it will require the conservative movement to appeal to the ignored center; and to do so, they will need to confront some inconsistencies that have plagued the movement in the past.
To start, those who call themselves conservatives must not only embrace the idea of limited government at home, but also abroad. Just as conservatives oppose federal mandates over health care in their home states, they should also oppose mandates in Afghanistan, Iraq, and all other nations across the globe. Traditionally, conservatism has embraced a non-interventionist foreign policy. It was conservatism that has opposed “nation building” and the doctrine of Wilsonian style “liberal internationalism.” That opposition has faded in recent years and this interventionist foreign policy stands in contrast to the values of limited government promoted by conservatives at home. It’s a contradiction and conservatives must reconcile that contradiction.
They must also embrace the idea of limited government in respect to social issues. Government has no business telling two people they shouldn’t get married or a person he shouldn’t put a particular substance into his own body. That isn’t to say one agrees or disagrees with whatever social issue is being debated. It is simply an acknowledgment that some things just shouldn’t be dictated to 320 million people from one city by a handful of well-connected rulers.
That also doesn’t mean folks have to abandon moral principles or give up on what they think is right at the expense of what others do that they think is wrong. There is still a place in society to debate moral questions — but government is not that place. Perhaps acting through the power of persuasion, one can reason with his neighbor that “this” is right and “that” is wrong. Churches, think tanks, civic institutions, charities and the like are the proper venues for such debates. But the halls of Congress are not. Corrupt politicians deciding questions of morality is a faulty system and it’s time we move past that.
The Republican Party can unite the country behind a philosophy of limited government if it resolves these contradictions. The idea of limited government is a uniting principle that can bring people of vastly different beliefs and values together around the principle that people don’t have to force everyone else to live just like them, and that the individual can make choices for himself. And when people come together around that principle, and stop trying to force their views through the power of government on everyone else, perhaps they will be more receptive to the persuasive arguments of others. In civil society, outside of politics, the debate over moral issues can become more meaningful and really address the root issues. It would be a more civil discussion among neighbors rather than relying on brute force to impose a form of cultural socialism.
And this was the recipe for success for the GOP two years ago — even if it was accidental. The Republicans won in 2010 being notably quiet about social issues while embracing the idea of limited government in fiscal matters — an idea it had abandoned several years before. Republicans stumbled on a winning formula of being fiscally conservative and socially libertarian. I’m just not sure they realized it.
What is not an accident is that Americans by instinct embrace those ideas because at heart. Americans still believe, by and large, in the idea of liberty and limited government even if they can’t quite put their finger on it. But that instinct extends to believing in limited government and individual liberty when it comes to social issues. In that respect, I think Republicans may have stumbled on the real center of American politics — a soft, libertarian-leaning center in the same tradition as our nation’s founders. They may not know the nuances of the policies or the principles of economics that free-market libertarians advocate, but in their hearts people believe that they can make choices for themselves better than several hundred men and women in a far distant capital can — and that’s a great start.
A liberty-minded Republican is grounded in doing what is right, not what is politically expedient or what has been requested by a lobbyist or an official from another branch of government. The ideal official works for the people by following through on his or her campaign promises and uses his or her judgment to make independent decisions. He or she does not bend to the whim of the media, special interest groups and their e-mail or phone campaigns, or other elected officials.
Most importantly, however, a conservative Republican will always live by the core principle: “first, do no harm.”
For instance, we expect officials to honor New Hampshire’s “live free or die” attitude and oppose bills that require motorists to wear seat belts or motorcyclists to wear helmets. Adults who are personally responsible will wear seat belts or helmets, and those who choose to take the risk to go without should be expected to take full responsibility for the consequences if something goes wrong. Likewise, a liberty-minded Republican would vote to repeal the state’s smoking ban in restaurants, assuming the same principles.
We also expect officials to honor the natural rights of a free people. Thus, we would, for example, expect our officials to oppose strict licensing laws, which infringe on the right of a person to pursue an occupation of his or her choice. These laws are perpetuated under the assumption that government can protect citizens from danger, but as it turns out, licenses can provide a false sense of security to consumers because anyone can pass a licensing exam, but not everyone can provide a quality good or service all the time. The only true security is a business’s reputation and the idea that a business owner will be held responsible if something goes wrong.
Inherent in the idea of liberty is limited government, something our Founders understood well. Thomas Paine called government a “necessary evil.” Even George Washington said “government is force,” comparing it to a fire that must be controlled to ensure it does not destroy everything.
Therefore, our liberty-minded officials should loosen business regulations and their associated fees to expand economic growth and keep taxes low by limiting government spending to only those programs essential to establishing basic social order, keeping the peace and mediating disputes among citizens. Liberty-minded Republicans should never allow government to get involved in disputes by subsidizing a particular industry or group of citizens, setting price controls or minimum wages, or mandating the purchase of any type of product or service. These interventions disrupt free market forces, creating an unnatural environment that favors cronyism and political connections instead of hard work and supply and demand.
Another part of limiting government is ensuring the balance of powers among the three branches of government, and right now, the system is unbalanced. That means, for example, that our representatives and senators won’t let state police testimony influence their vote on a bill that allows citizens to carry concealed firearms without a license. It also means our legislators will ignore court decisions that unconstitutionally set policy, such as the Claremont decision that said the Legislature must fund an adequate education.
Finally, a conservative Republican knows that only the Legislature—the representatives of the People, and those most accountable to the People—sets state policies. Specifically, he or she knows that only the Legislature can determine how much educational aid, if any, the state will give to local communities to run their schools. Even more importantly, that Republican will vote to ensure state law respects the natural rights of parents to raise and educate their own children as they see fit. Additionally, the best Republicans will recognize the value of local control of local schools and support laws that encourage competition with those schools that are publicly funded.