As the political landscape shifts, one congressman in particular is helping lead us forward to win back America: Mike Pence, Republican of Indiana.
What are the talents that leaders need in this environment to rally the troops and lead us to victory in November and beyond?
Principles that have been long held not just us, but by the leaders themselves. Politicians who do not flip-flop, but hold fast to their ideals. They are dependable. Their values harmonically resonate with most Americans because they reflect and express the American creed. They are an expression of what makes us Americans. Rep. Pence's fidelity to these values demonstrates his fealty to us. They are conservative values hewn closely to the visions of our founding fathers. They are the values held dear by members and sympathizers of the Tea Party movement.
Mike Pence -- like Ronald Reagan -- is a son of the heartland and has those values. While incumbents and establishment insiders try to figure out how to adapt and appeal to the Tea Party movement, Mike Pence was very early recognized by them as someone who had already earned their allegiance by years of devotion to those principles. He has not changed his bedrock values; the rest of the nation has come back to them. He expressed those values quite well as the keynote speaker at the recent Taxpayer March on Washington. After eighteen months of Democratic steamrolling over our principles, the shredding of the Constitution, and the turning of the people's house into a house of ill repute (via bribes and deals behind closed doors), Pence called it like it is when he characterized Nancy Pelosi as "the least Democratic Speaker in U.S. History." Telling it like it is -- that is what we should want in our leaders.
We need leaders who are a fount of ideas: people who are prepared to face the many challenges before us with policy proposals, and not hot-air nonsense read off a teleprompter (Yes We Can; We are the ones we are waiting for) that resembles haiku as written by a freshman. We need someone who has experience with policies that work. Never before have Americans been more primed to learn about policy proposals. This is partly due to a revulsion towards the radical changes imposed upon us (hook and crook, and a lot of the latter) -- by the troika of Obama, Pelosi, and Reid and their Democratic partners.
Town hall meetings are just one manifestation of the deep concern people have for policy. They hunger for new policies because the old ones often failed, and the ones put in place by Democrats threaten our future. People are interested in charter schools and vouchers, cutting back public employee unions, the deficit time bomb, and immigration reform.
Democrats denigrate Republicans as the "Party of No," as paleoconservatives, as antediluvian dummies. Of course, these slurs are wrong both historically and currently, but liberal partisans are wont to throw insults as often as they throw dollars away.
Supply-side tax cuts as a way to boost growth? A Republican idea. Enterprise zones? Republican. Vouchers and school choice? A Republican idea. Tearing down monopolies is a legacy of the Republican Theodore Roosevelt and has been modernized by the Republican quest to eliminate the one last vestige of monopoly power in America: the provision of "government" services (when was the last time you looked upon government workers as serving you?). Welfare reform to restore a sense of self-esteem to our less advantaged? A Republican idea (Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin -- Bill Clinton was forced into such reform by a Republican Congress).
The list can be continued to the present day. The GOP has health care plans and budget proposals to slash the deficit, but the media smothered coverage of them. The GOP needs to push past the cover-up and bring the truth to the light of day.
As Peter Berkowitz wrote recently in the Wall Street Journal, "Republicans squandered their hard-won reputation as the party of ideas. It's time to reclaim it".
Mike Pence has been at the forefront of devising new policies for many years. Even before entering politics, he was president of a think-tank. After entering politics, he has led the way on immigration reform (focusing on securing our borders and following and enforcing our laws, as well as providing a way for honest immigrants to meet our labor needs) and free speech (battling Democratic plans to impose the Fairness Doctrine on us -- which would be the death knell for talk radio and independent voices). He battled the health care plan waterboarded down our throats by Democrats (see his Wall Street Journal op-ed, "This Law Will Not Stand"), the budget (as he was at the forefront opposing the disastrous "stimulus" bill and has tried to prevent yet another bailout -- this time of spendthrift European nations who have avoided the tough choices need to bring this fiscal affairs in order). He wants to stop "the freight train of big government " (a ringing phrase coined by him) before we are crushed by it. The big spending that is endemic in D.C. and has become a pandemic across state governments -- he wants to end the waste of our money and restore fiscal sanity to the asylum that Democrats now run into the ground.
Pence is a talented writer; he knows how to explain and expound his ideas (just peruse his Wall Street Journal columns, for example). I predict a book by him -- such as Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney have written -- to be published that charts his agenda to climb the bestseller lists because it is our agenda, too.
Mike Pence is a man open to new ideas -- if they bring good things to Americans. He has a real-world example of how pro-growth policies and limited (but well-run) government works in his own home state. Indiana's Republican Governor, Mitch Daniels, has put in place the very type of policies that Pence has championed for years. The result has been an economic miracle in the so-called Rust Belt that has garnered acclaim across America. We need these types of policies writ large across America. Mike Pence can propel them forward.
These leaders cannot come out of the blue. We have an example of that in The Oval Office now. We will need a leader who knows the ways of the world, the people to reach out towards, the networks of power to plug into and channel, the levers to pull. Time is of the essence. While there may be a sour mood in the nation regarding incumbents, this is not the time to cast a ballot against them all. The problems we face need to be addressed now. In other words, we need someone who knows the ways of Washington but has not been captured by them.
Mike Pence has, in barely a decade, become an influential leader among his fellow Republicans. He was chairman of the Republican Study Committee and is now the co-chairman of the House Republican Conference. He is the third-highest ranking Republican in the House leadership. His fellow Republicans hold him in high regard; he has powered -- and will continue power -- his ideas and plans into fruition by being able to channel his fellow members' votes in the direction the nation so desperately needs now. He is the one national figure that can bridge the establishment world of party powers and the energized movement of millions of Americans towards the Tea Party. The tent can be big when it is held aloft by standard-bearers such as Mike Pence.
We need people in charge who can inspire America. As the Obama-induced malaise spreads across America, we need someone who can boost our spirits and restore our confidence. In our media age, we need someone who is telegenic, fast on his feet, and who has shown skill in using both old and new media not just as message machines, but as morale-boosters. He has to be media-savvy -- with or without a prompter leading the way.
Mike Pence has the very skills -- the ability to connect and inspire people -- that Ronald Reagan had during his life. Not surprisingly, both share a background in media and the public stage before entering the political world. Ronald Reagan had experience in radio and film, and his ability to tap the energy of the crowds was honed by giving hundreds of speeches across America. Mike Pence, who was inspired by Ronald Reagan, learned the ropes by hosting both a statewide talk radio program in Indiana as well as a television program covering the issues of the day. Pence is a favorite of talk radio hosts to this day -- and for good reason. But he has not stopped there in his drive to be a tribune for the people. He has been a pioneer in using YouTube to reach over the heads of biased media outlets and into the hearts of Americans across the land (see -- and make a favorite -- the Mike Pence channel on You Tube). Podcasts, the web -- all are tools that a man determined to fix our government has brought to bear over the last few years. He has been ahead of the curve.
But he needs our help.
We need to step up to the plate and help fuel the engine and prime the pump. How can we do this?
Talk to our friends and family, spread the good news, send e-mails with links to his website and YouTube channel, cut and paste his columns and broadcast them far and wide. We can also candidly support his campaigns -- as I have been doing for years. I consider it one of the best investments I can make to ensure a bright future for my children and to restore America to its rightful place in the world. I hope you join me and many thousands of Americans in helping Mike Pence help us.Ed Lasky is news editor of American Thinker.