John Cox: Why I am running for President

Posted: Sep 04, 2007 4:51 PM
John Cox: Why I am running for President

There is no shortage of candidates running to be our next President – so why am I doing what I am doing? In short, it is because conservative Republicans have for too long been taken for granted and worse, taken for fools by our elected leaders. We have had too many say they were conservative when they wanted our votes; only to watch them almost turn into liberals once they were elected.

I am glad we have George W. Bush as President instead of Al Gore. Having said that, like many conservatives, I am very disappointed in what the President and the Republican Congressional leadership did with the power we gave them. No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, Sarbanes – Oxley, the immigration sellout, the failure of tax and social security reform, the spending, McCain-Feingold, and on and on – not to mention rampant corruption. It didn’t have to be like this: and we need to demand something different. That’s why I am running for President.

I have labored long and hard in the Republican vineyards behind the scenes; I was President of the Republican Party in Cook County, Illinois – a thankless task in one of the biggest blue blotches on the political landscape. I go back a long way, serving on Jack Kemp’s national steering committee in 1988, becoming one of the original members of the Club for Growth (which came out of the Kemp campaign), a longtime funder and proponent of both economic and social conservative, pro family causes. I am a long term, dyed in the wool conservative, brought to the Republican Party by Ronald Reagan; believing that government isn’t the answer to our problems, government is the problem.

I am a conservative because I believe that conservative solutions solve problems, just as Reagan believed. You want security? Build the strongest, most powerful military so no one ever would think of challenging you. Want a functioning economy? Enforce the rule of law and create tax and regulatory schemes that allow for the free flow of capital. Want the best health care and education at a reasonable price? Increase supply, reduce demand and ensure fair competition – that is the free market writ large and has from time immemorial proven to be the best way to assure the availability of the utmost in quality at an affordable price.

Specific ideas for our problems today? Get the Iraqis to start pumping their oil, put their people to work and stabilize that economy so our troops can get home. Get rid of the income tax in favor of the Fair Tax. Enact a line item veto and change the incentives for government spending; use a sharp pencil to get rid of and consolidate agencies and programs that have outlived their usefulness and only exist to support their political sponsors. Break down the barriers of competition in health care so we get more doctors, more nurses, more hospitals, and more insurance companies competing with each other. Do the same in education by empowering parents with vouchers, breaking the government school monopoly and defanging the power of the teachers unions.

I have been successful in the private sector; I started with nothing (working my way through college and law school without scholarships or loans) and building a $100 million real estate and investment business; also buying and turning around a $100 million snack manufacturer in Chicago. I have been a chief executive where it counts; I have solved problems and gotten results. I have also done quite a bit in the charitable and civic realm, serving on the board of the USO as well as various local charities – even founding my own charity that has now repaired 500 homes owned by the low income elderly. I have done my thing locally – school board president, local zoning boards – even running unsuccessfully for Congress and the Senate in a very blue state (Illinois).

I could have taken the $1 million I have spent running for President, given it to ten different charities and been their man of the year if all I was interested in was ego boosting. That is not what I am about. Alas, I subscribe to that evidently outmoded idea that our purpose in this life is to make it better for those that come behind us; leave our community, our country and our world better off for having been here. I understand that government has grown so large, so all encompassing, so much a part of our existence that the small difference I could make in the charitable or civic world would be dwarfed by what I could accomplish by leadership in government.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many in Washington D.C. that share my vision. Most denizens of the halls of Congress seem to be there to make a buck; to create for themselves a career; to create a family business and legacy more founded on money and power than on the good works that build a stronger nation. We don’t have statesmen as we should; we have career, professional politicians who mouth the ideals that we seek but at the end of the day do what is necessary to maintain their long held positions.

This has to change and the bully pulpit of the Presidency is the only place where it can start. We need to ignite in the American voter the idea that their public servants should be just that – servants who put forth part of their lives as faithful leaders searching for the proper solutions to our problems; advocating long term ideals that will address our problems rather than merely meet short-term electoral goals and assure re-election.

I am here to tell you they are out there; America is blessed with persons who exhibit selflessness and have it within themselves to give a part of themselves to others for the greater good. What we need is an awakening, a new rebirth of service and statesmanship.

The media has made its selection of our choices in this election and they have frozen me out. I am not a celebrity or a career politician; I therefore don’t show up in the published polls. I am thus caught in a classic catch-22; I can’t get into the debates without polls and I won't show up in the polls without being in the debates.

Is this what we want? Is this how we end up with 20 years of Bushes and Clintons? Do we want another 8 years of Clintons? I am working to change this dynamic with good, old fashioned shoe leather and grassroots politics. Take a look; you will be glad you did. Don’t let another presidency go to waste like this one; our children deserve much better from us.