A RINO in our Backyard II

At the 2006 CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) in Washington DC this last February, Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana spoke of the state of our party.

“Two years ago, when I presented the keynote address here at CPAC 2004, I likened the state of the Republican movement to a tall ship at sea – a ship that had drifted off-course from essential conservative principles.

I said we had lost our way. But I believed we could get back on course — would get back on course. We could make the corrections. We needed only to keep our eye on True North — our core principles of limited government and traditional moral values.

I believed that we were off course not because we’d abandoned these principles, or forgotten the shining city on the hill. We’d simply made honest, but flawed calculations on how to get there.

I no longer believe that. It’s one thing to drift off course…It’s quite another thing to continue that course when half the crew and passengers are pointing out that nothing looks familiar … not to mention the tens of millions of Americans lining the shoreline screaming, “You’re going the wrong way!”

In short, we’re no longer adrift. We might’ve been when we started but now “off course” is the accepted course.

The evidence for this is overwhelming … while President Bush has called for increases in non-defense spending of 4 percent for the last five years, Congress has delivered budgets spending more than twice that each year … Congress has spent $380 billion more than the President requested under Republican control.

Whether it’s called “compassionate conservatism” or “big government republicanism,” after years of record increases in federal spending, more government is now the accepted Republican philosophy in Washington.

We are in danger of becoming the party of Big Government. And for the sake of our party and for the sake of the nation we must say, here and now, to all who would lead us in this new century, “the era of big Republican government is over!””

We can’t allow this national phenomenon to expand to state and local politics.

As we have seen the National Republican Senate Committee support liberals such as Lincoln Chaffee, Olympia Snow, and even Joe Lieberman over good, conservative candidates in those races – we must sent a message to those wishing to run for office here in North Dakota that if you intend to use the Republican label and the resources of the NDGOP you better be a conservative (both fiscal and social), or we don’t need you.

As we watch RNC funds go to support these liberals pretending to be Republicans, we have also seen how the RNC has basically abandoned our own good candidates, Matt Mechtel and Dwight Grotberg. This is a shame. While both men lack the personal bankroll they do not lack solid conservative principles – the kind of principles we need more of within the party both nationally and here in North Dakota.

On the flip side of all this, of course, is the fact that there are liberals masquerading as Republicans not only on the national level, but here at home.


Let’s look at just a glimpse of one such “fake Republican.”

Nancy Johnson

Social Issues

– In 1999 voted against Senate Bill 2254 which was a ban on partial birth abortions.

– In 2005 voted against a House Concurrent Resolution 3017 “a concurrent resolution urging Congress to pass a human life amendment to the Constitution of the United States.”

Fiscal Issues

– In 2005 voted in favor of the massive tax increase that was House Bill 1512 which would have raised the personal and corporate income tax by 33%; as well as raised the state sales tax to 7%.

– In 2005 voted against House Bill 3004, sponsored by Rich Wardner to require a 60% majority in both chambers of the legislature before a tax increase can be passed.

– In 2005 voted for House Bill 1518 to increase the tax burden on farmers by increasing the wheat tax by 5 mills.

If this were a Democrats record, we would be fighting tooth and nail to get rid of him or her, so why do we allow such a person to represent our district in the “R” column?

Until this summer, after the Primary, I was not aware of just how bad her record was. Even until recently, I thought it was constrained to a poor fiscal record. The fact that it goes beyond fiscal and into the core social values of our party makes me won’t how many people besides myself were ignorant of these facts – and I was ignorant because I didn’t do my research.

Fortunately our other two candidates have solid conservative records both on the social and fiscal platforms.

I am trying to think of the long term health of our party. If a time comes when a Republican can have the record of a far left-wing Democrat and get away with it – we are going to have major problems in the future.

Republicans win when they run as conservatives – but what happens when they aren’t conservative at all?

Are we willing to put up with someone whose stances are so divergent from our own just to retain a single seat in what is already a super majority?

There are several reasons why I am voting for Stuart Savelkoul with my second vote (after Frank Wald).

1. The Democratic Party has put their money behind the wrong candidate. Connie Koreen is a nice guy and all, but he is bought and paid for by the Jim Fuglie machine; Stuart has received nearly nothing in way of party support. So in a way it is an opportunity to make the other party look bad for backing the wrong candidate. (Always great motivation in my book.)

2. I believe it is time to start supporting candidates from the next generation, my generation, to be leaders. Stuart Savelkoul may very well be a leader of this new crop of civically minded young people.

3. It is time we send a message to would-be Republican candidates – “be conservative, or hit the road.”

4. I have known Stuart for a long time. We graduated from high school in Beulah at the same time. While we don’t meet eye-to-eye on everything, he knows common sense when he sees it, and is willing to abandon his preconceived notions when hit with an argument that makes sense.

5. Nancy Johnson is a tax and spend liberal who isn’t against abortion, which to me says she is pro-abortion. None of which qualifies her to be called a Republican. We certainly don’t want someone who wanted to raise taxes by $149 million 2 years ago to be determining where the $527 million should go.

I have spent the last two and a half years of my life fighting the cause of conservatism. Starting as the Chairman of the College Republicans here at Dickinson State University, to working as a Field Representative for the Leadership Institute of Arlington, VA under Morton Blackwell, one of the disciples of Barry Goldwater, to working for the Republican Party of Iowa.

In this time, I have seen where our party has gone wrong, and unless we return to a philosophy based on principles and morality we are doomed to return to the minority status we held for many decades nationally and possibly loose control of the legislature in a few election cycles if things don’t shape up.

Our state is loosing young people like me who are slapped with a burdensome debt in excess of $24,000 on average once we graduate from college. Meanwhile, North Dakota ranks 31st as far as business friendly tax policy while Montana, Wyoming, and South Dakota all rank in the Top 10. Jobs that should be in North Dakota are going next door and that this causing young people to not be able to afford to pay their debt and are forced to leave.

The education of college students is massively subsidized as well. While yearly tuition may only be $5,000, the taxpayer contribution is in excess of $17,000 per year. That means for every student that leaves the state after 4 years of education, over $68,000 in taxpayer money walks out the door as well. Do you think that has an impact worth worrying about?

I for one actually want to live in North Dakota, but the business climate and job market makes it very difficult to do this. We need to quit viewing education as a revenue stream for the state and treat it like the loss leader it should be. We’ve got plenty of resources to profit from; the youth of this state should not be one of them.

If we continue down this road of higher taxes like Nancy Johnson voted for, there will not be enough young people to sustain the public services and infrastructure that we have now. Just as social security will not have enough contributors, our state will also have a shortfall of people who can afford property – meaning those that can afford to own property, will have to pay an ever growing share of the tax burden.

Of course, Nancy Johnson would rather raise income tax to offset the fact that this is already happening. Simple economics tells us that the best thing to do would be eliminate the state income tax all together which will allow more people to buy property, and more expensive property – which will mean more tax revenue without raising the tax rate.

I won’t even address how horrible her record with just these two vote in favor of abortion are, but if our legislature decides to follow South Dakota’s lead, we can count her vote to go against protection of those without voices.

The only way we can change the direction of our party is by changing the people we entrust with power.

If we cannot keep the party based on principle here locally, there is no way we can do it on the national level and we will continue to be disgusted by the people within our party that have been elected.

The best time to stay moving in the right direction is right now – the choice is yours.


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