Wednesday, February 6, 2008
A Memorandum for Our Conservative Colleagues
Some thirty years ago, we and thousands of other grassroots conservatives helped a man then deemed a "maverick conservative" take on the established order in Washington and the Republican Party. Ronald Reagan's run for the nomination in 1976 nearly succeeded in denying a sitting president another term.
In the mid-1970s, the GOP was crippled by corruption, and betrayal of conservative principles had brought the party to its knees. Expectations of a firm and principled stand against the Soviet Union had been converted to the misty-eyed policy of "detente." The reigning Republican Establishment considered Reagan an interloper, an ill-informed and a somewhat primitive and uninformed one at that.[# More #]
While the Establishment embraced "detente" with the Soviets, Reagan rejected it as unrealistic, a flawed and dangerous approach to a powerful and determined adversary. The Reagan concept, founded on the principle of peace through strength, was that the United States possessed the resources, human and financial, and the determination, ultimately to persuade the Soviet Union and its allies to give up the quest for world domination. Reagan believed that American power must be wielded cautiously but decisively in the pursuit of our national interests. That power, he believed, emanates from the American people, and not from a few powerful elites.
In short, Reagan challenged the reigning Establishment and in so doing, remade the Republican Party, at least its base, into a movement that for thirty years challenged the status quo rather than merely embrace it.
In the intervening years since the Reagan presidency, a new status quo, inconsistent with mainstream conservative principles and actions, has taken hold in the Republican Party, promoting practices, programs and principles inconsistent with the Party's character and traditions. Just as Ronald Reagan did in his time, John McCain now challenges this Establishment "orthodoxy."
The Old GOP Establishment said terrible things, untrue things, about Ronald Reagan. Some in this new Establishment are also saying terrible and untrue things about another maverick conservative, John McCain. Reagan was a threat to the Establishment; so, too, is John McCain. Reagan did not waver, holding fast to his basic principles. John McCain now soldiers on, espousing conservative principles. Some conservatives disagree.
Because the US corporate income tax rate is uncompetitive and counterproductive, and causing job loss, John McCain backs a corporate tax rate of 25 per cent, spurring investment in equipment and new technology. Lowering corporate income tax rates will strengthen the demand for dollars and fight inflation and recession simultaneously. He wants to make the Bush income and investment tax cuts permanent and repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax. John McCain’s pro-growth stimulus plan is precisely what our economy needs today.
Senator McCain knows that true conservatism is rooted in the people, which is why in the recent candidate debate at the Ronald Reagan Library, he declared himself a "Federalist." McCain knows what the Founders and Reagan knew; the ultimate goodness and dignity of American citizens is the repository of what makes America great and special.
In 1974 Ronald Reagan addressed the very first Conservative Political Action Conference held in Washington. Reagan brought as his guest someone of whom both he and Mrs. Reagan had grown very fond; a young American Vietnam War hero, Lt. Commander John McCain, who had been so terribly tortured while in captivity for six years in Vietnam.
As long-time Reaganauts, we are proud of our work over these many years, helping to advance conservative principles, and as "certified" Reaganauts, we are proud to stand with another old friend of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, John McCain, who is our best and safest choice in 2008. Some fellow conservatives find it hard forgive past positions on campaign finance or other matters. When you stop to reflect, however, with whom--among those out there--are we going to be more secure in terms of domestic security than with John McCain? Who has greater understanding of and experience with the foreign policy and national security challenges we will face than John McCain?
We urge you, fellow Reaganauts, to join in supporting a man of character, conservative temperament, a "maverick" in the Reagan tradition who has and will continue to stand up to the corrupt elites in Washington, and will not join them.
That man is John McCain.
Sincerely, yours in the cause,
Richard V. Allen was active in all national Reagan campaigns, and from 1977-80 was Reagan's Chief Foreign Policy Advisor, then first National Security Advisor in the Reagan Administration. Awarded the Reagan Revolution Medal in 1983, He has been active in conservative circles since the early 1960s.
Frank Donatelli worked in all three of Ronald Reagan's presidential campaigns and was White House political director for the last two years of the Reagan Administration. He is a former Executive Director of Young Americans for Freedom and was a founding director of the National Conservative Political Action Committee.
Peter Hannaford's association with Ronald Reagan dates from 1971 when he was appointed vice chairman of the Governor's Consumer Fraud Task Force. Pete had senior positions in the 1976 and 1980 Reagan campaigns. Five of his nine published books are about Ronald Reagan.
Jack F. Kemp was a Special Assistant to Ronald Reagan in 1967, served as a Member of Congress from 1971-89, and co-authored the Kemp-Roth legislation (Reagan's tax rate cuts). He is known as a long-time friend to Reagan in his national campaigns, and has held many leading positions in American conservative organizations. He served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, 1989-93.
Craig Shirley, author of Reagan's Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started It All, has been President and CEO of Shirley & Banister Public Affairs. In 1980, Shirley managed a critical independent campaign in support of Reagan after he lost the Iowa Caucuses to George H. W. Bush. Shirley is now authoring Rendezvous with Destiny about Reagan’s 1980 campaign.