Saturday, March 11, 2006


Day 2 - SRLC - 9:26 A.M. CST

While Senator Lindsey Graham practices his comedy routine, I will try to get caught up on what has happened thus far this morning, as well as providing commentary on last night's speeches.

Leading off this morning was Senator George Allen from Virginia, a potential 2008 Presidential candidate. Allen is known for his football roots (his father was the Hall of Fame head coach of the Washington Redskins), and they usually come out in his addresses. That was true here, too, as he was here to rally his "teammates."

First, Senator Allen recognized the hospitality of Tennesseans, and he then paid tribute to his wife, who accompanied him to Memphis. Having been blessed with a wife who has helped me in much the same way this weekend, I can second those thoughts.

Senator Allen called himself a "common sense Jeffersonian Conservative" - meaning that he trusts free enterprise and believes that good government does not take bread from those who have earned it.

Allen then highlighted his former accomplishments without making it seem obvious. He mentioned abolishing the lenient parole system in Virginia (Allen was previously Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and this was done under his watch.) As a Member of Congress, Allen trumpeted welfare reform prior to the Clinton vetoes of related reform. Allen said that those reforms were a resounding success, and that he measured that success by the number of people living self-sufficient lives, not the number of people getting Welfare checks (as had been the previous standard under Democratic-led Congresses). Allen also mentioned the Republican gains that had occurred under his leadership of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Allen then began to transition into his vision for America. Regarding education, Senator Allen insisted that we not dumb down our state standards for success to those standards set by the federal government. Allen, in a move that has been standard for the speakers at this event, established three main goals for our party:
1) Secure our freedom - This includes identifying our troops as "our team." Allen believes that we need to see that when our troops are dealt a loss, we all as Americans are dealt that loss. He also mentioned defending our borders as the first principle of immigration reform.
2) America as the Land of opportunity for all - Allen spoke of increasing opportunities for minorities in science and engineering, expanded broadband access, and keeping taxes off of the Internet.
3) Defend our time-honored traditional values.

Allen continued to roll through several issues. He called for an up-or-down vote for John Bolton when his recess appointment expires. He spoke of the need for a working energy policy, including the need for new biofuels and alternative forms of energy to relieve our dependency on Arab countries.

Speaking on taxes, Allen called for permanent status for the demise of the "Death Tax." He also called for the institution of the line-item veto, drawing upon his personal experience as Governor of Virginia. To do this, Allen appealed for a constitutional amendment for the line-item veto, which he has introduced in the Senate. In a moment of thinking outside the box, Allen called for the institution of the "Paycheck Penalty" - if the Congress fails to pass all appropriations bills by the October budget deadline, it would mean that the paychecks are withheld from Congressmen until the budget is passed. Allen believes that this would curb earmarking and create more transparency in the budget process.

Regarding the judiciary, Allen spoke of the eminent domain decision (Kelo) as amending the Bill Rights by judicial decree. He called for judges that would fairly adjudicate cases and recognize that their role is not to legislate from the bench.

Allen closed with a tribute to Ronald Reagan, calling for us all to strive to make sure that the U.S. is that shining city on the hill. He recalled that Reagan had given his father a plaque with the following words made immortal by the late President: "If not us, who? If not now, when?" Allen said that plaque was now in his office in Washington, and he drew inspiration from it during his service to the country.

Another potential 2008 candidate, Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, had the difficult task of following the charismatic Allen. Brownback is a tried and true conservative, but his style varies greatly from the Senator from Virginia.

Brownback described himself as a Ronald Reagan Republican. Like Senator Norm Coleman yesterday, Brownback spoke of Reagan's idea of American exceptionalism. Senator Brownback recalled meeting with Reagan many years ago. He was struck by a plaque in Reagan's office that said: "You can be too big to be used by God, but never too small." Brownback transition into our global function, stating that others depend on us around the world. "Why us, and why now?" Brownback asked. In paraphrasing British Prime Minister Tony Blair, he answered the question: "It is our time, and it is our destiny."

Brownback had a wonderful Reagan quote to summarize his vision for the future of this country. "It is in our fundamental goodness in which our greatness is found, and if we lose our goodness, we will lose our greatness." As Americans, Brownback said, we believe in the separation of church and state, but not the removal of church from the state.

Brownback came across, as expected, as the strongest pro-life advocate of the potential candidates for the White House. "Our party is the party of life, from conception to natural death," said the Kansas Senator. Speaking of Jenna Joy, a girl that Brownback knows from China, helped shape his strong pro-life convictions. "She shouldn't be here, but because a woman in China thought abortion was wrong, Jenna Joy BROWNBACK will have an 8th birthday party tomorrow." This was by far the strongest part of Brownback's speech, as it showed true emotion and pride.

Brownback spoke of the battles that face us today -
1) The protection of each individual as a child of the Living God. He spoke of "fighting for all by fighting for each." Brownback spoke, in quoting U2's Bono, that "where you live should not determine whether you live." I'm not sure if this was a rebuttal to those who believe that abortion should be a state issue, but it certainly could be perceived as being such.
2) Building dignity but not the dependency of the impoverished. We can do this through marriage and employment (and there are studies that back that up). Marriage rates have plunged 50% since the 1970s, and 40% of all marriages end in divorce. Brownback believes that the crisis of poverty is in large degree a crisis in marriage. Thus, supporting commitments to marriage should be the goal, not undermining them.

Brownback used Africa as an example of how we should respect dignity and not enable dependency. In Africa, 60% of children have malaria, resulting in widespread death. Visits to sub-Saharan Africa by Brownback enable him to speak of the particular people he met along the way and the struggles they have endured. We must help them, Brownback said, but not in ways that build dependency, but instead choosing ways that build their dignity. Citing that 90% of our money to help fight malaria is spent on conferences and consultants, Brownback said that government was feeding the bureaucracy while ignoring the problem. "You can teach a man to fish, but he won't catch anything without a pole."

Brownback continued on that theme by saying that Washington is built to spend. Quoting Ronald Reagan: "Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program." Brownback wants to apply the BRAC strategy (the military base realignment program that closed dozens of military bases in the United States) to all government programs, which certainly did not thrill this observer.

Brownback also backed the flat tax - but with a twist. He wants to give people the option of filing under the flat tax or the current system.

I will have more as the day permits...

My choices for President:

1. Brownback

2. Allen

3. Romney

4. McCain


I am still angry with Frist because he sold out on stem-cell "research." Frist is a nice guy...but with that position, he might as well be pro-abort. In my eyes, there isn't much difference.
I don't know how much feedback you're getting, but it's great having bloggers at the SRLC for those of us out there starving for info. Thanks.
Dave and Dela-

Thank you for the encouragement. It was nice to know that the efforts were appreciated.


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