Disillusioned Democrat Eric Greitens switched parties, became a governor

Reading the Wall Street Journal's Matthew Hennessey's September 16-17 "Weekend Interview" with Missouri Republican governor Eric Greitens, I couldn't help but notice Mr. Hennessey's recurring use of action words like "hard-charging Republican governor" pursuing a "muscular conservative agenda" in describing Mr. Greitens's first months in office.

Similarly, I couldn't help but compare his "muscular" accomplishments with the paltry output of a Republican Congress quivering in their boots in Washington while squandering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enact the "muscular conservative agenda" America voted for in 2016.   

Mr. Greitens is a Rhodes scholar and former Navy SEAL.  He was a lifelong Democrat because his parents taught him that Democrats were the party that cared about people.  If he thought the Democratic Party had the right ideas to do that, he'd still be a Democrat.  "But they don't."  He switched parties in 2015.

His politics began the shift to the right after a 1994 trip to the Balkans led to the realization that "if you care about people, then you are willing to act not just with compassion, but you're also willing to act with courage."

Governor Greitens wasted no time acting with courage.

One of his first executive orders froze all new state regulations through 2017.  

Within a month of taking office, he signed a right-to-work bill under which workers can't be forced to join a union as a condition of employment.  In July, he assented to a law overriding St. Louis's $10-an-hour minimum wage.  A minimum wage "may read pretty on paper," he said, "but it doesn't work in practice."

He attributes his shift to the right more to experience than philosophy.  After returning from four overseas deployments in the mid-2000s, Mr. Greitens started a consulting business and founded The Mission Continues, a non-profit organization serving veterans.

Starting his own business and helping veterans start theirs gave him "a very practical sense of what it means to deal with burdensome regulations."  

"I think that you've got to take action that actually helps people," he says.  Unruffled by criticism from media and unions, he cites economic indicators showing Missouri fast becoming one of the best states to do business.

Mr. Greitens's governing philosophy may be summarized thus: "One of the things I've found in everything that I've done: People want leaders to create a sense of direction and to lead and to act, and they know that we will never get everything perfectly right, but they want us to lead."  

Logic suggests that the repeal and replacement of bankrupt Obamacare, tax cuts, and immigration reform will achieve the greatest good for the greatest number, even those dependent on the status quo.  Common sense initiatives all.

However, Republicans are giving Americans reason to believe that they lack the mettle "to lead and to act."

To borrow a line from Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, "There comes a time in the life of every human being when he or she must decide to risk 'his life, his fortune, and his sacred honor' on an outcome dubious."  "Those who fail the challenge are merely overgrown children, can never be anything else."

It's time for Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and company to meet the challenge or step aside.

Reading the Wall Street Journal's Matthew Hennessey's September 16-17 "Weekend Interview" with Missouri Republican governor Eric Greitens, I couldn't help but notice Mr. Hennessey's recurring use of action words like "hard-charging Republican governor" pursuing a "muscular conservative agenda" in describing Mr. Greitens's first months in office.

Similarly, I couldn't help but compare his "muscular" accomplishments with the paltry output of a Republican Congress quivering in their boots in Washington while squandering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enact the "muscular conservative agenda" America voted for in 2016.   

Mr. Greitens is a Rhodes scholar and former Navy SEAL.  He was a lifelong Democrat because his parents taught him that Democrats were the party that cared about people.  If he thought the Democratic Party had the right ideas to do that, he'd still be a Democrat.  "But they don't."  He switched parties in 2015.

His politics began the shift to the right after a 1994 trip to the Balkans led to the realization that "if you care about people, then you are willing to act not just with compassion, but you're also willing to act with courage."

Governor Greitens wasted no time acting with courage.

One of his first executive orders froze all new state regulations through 2017.  

Within a month of taking office, he signed a right-to-work bill under which workers can't be forced to join a union as a condition of employment.  In July, he assented to a law overriding St. Louis's $10-an-hour minimum wage.  A minimum wage "may read pretty on paper," he said, "but it doesn't work in practice."

He attributes his shift to the right more to experience than philosophy.  After returning from four overseas deployments in the mid-2000s, Mr. Greitens started a consulting business and founded The Mission Continues, a non-profit organization serving veterans.

Starting his own business and helping veterans start theirs gave him "a very practical sense of what it means to deal with burdensome regulations."  

"I think that you've got to take action that actually helps people," he says.  Unruffled by criticism from media and unions, he cites economic indicators showing Missouri fast becoming one of the best states to do business.

Mr. Greitens's governing philosophy may be summarized thus: "One of the things I've found in everything that I've done: People want leaders to create a sense of direction and to lead and to act, and they know that we will never get everything perfectly right, but they want us to lead."  

Logic suggests that the repeal and replacement of bankrupt Obamacare, tax cuts, and immigration reform will achieve the greatest good for the greatest number, even those dependent on the status quo.  Common sense initiatives all.

However, Republicans are giving Americans reason to believe that they lack the mettle "to lead and to act."

To borrow a line from Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, "There comes a time in the life of every human being when he or she must decide to risk 'his life, his fortune, and his sacred honor' on an outcome dubious."  "Those who fail the challenge are merely overgrown children, can never be anything else."

It's time for Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and company to meet the challenge or step aside.