Senator George Allen (R-VA), the third subject in Townhall.com’s series on potential 2008 presidential contenders, visited South Carolina this past Friday. As keynote speaker, Allen drew in the crowds to a fundraiser for Ralph Norman, Republican candidate for South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District. After his speech, Allen sat down with Townhall.com to discuss his thoughts on today’s issues and what the future holds for conservative politics. Included here are excerpts from both the speech and exclusive interview.
COLUMBIA, SC -- George Allen is a serious contender for the Republican nomination for president. A former governor, he wears cowboy boots and can often be found outside with his can of dip. Consequently, some Republicans like Allen, because he seems the most like George W. Bush—a charge Allen can’t quite understand, and frankly, rejects. "I don’t know why people say that," he said. "My two role models are Thomas Jefferson and Ronald Reagan. Most people who know me think I’m most like Ronald Reagan." At the start of his speech, Allen proclaimed himself a "common sense, Jeffersonian conservative" and later quoted Patrick Henry. In fact, his talking points on government were so similar to Reagan’s that it seemed as if he had just read a few of the Gipper’s speeches on the way down to South Carolina.
Allen passionately emphasized his Reagenesque fiscal conservatism and Jeffersonian ideals on limited government. Most of his speech focused on lessening government and lowering the burdens placed on businesses. It is business, he said, that really drives the American economy: "Free people should be able to make free decisions."
He added, "Government doesn’t create jobs […] but government should get the field ready." In other words, government should get out of the way.
One way for government to get out of the way is to lower taxes. "Washington doesn’t have a revenue problem; Washington has a spending problem," he said. "The taxpayers are the owners of the government. That’s who we [Congress] work for."