During Congressional elections in most districts voters usually get the same old show. The career politician or citizen turned Washington insider comes along after eighteen months of silence and tries to re-open a line of communication with the people which closed on election night two years earlier.
The message from the Member of Congress to the voter is always the same: I am the known, trusted and proven leader and if that isn’t reason enough to give me another two years of making six figures, then vote for me because my opponent is corrupt and their views represent a radical fringe minority. Sound familiar?
According to a poll conducted by Rasmussen in late October, touting experience and running a last minute campaign with a status quo message will most likely disqualify you if you are running on the Republican ticket.
In the poll 73% of Republicans spoke loud and clear: Congressional Republicans have lost touch with the voters.
Well, what does this have to do with capitalism? Simple, you can argue to what degree Republicans support free markets and capitalism, but the fact still remains that Democrats in Congress oppose free market principles and opt for government based solutions to economic issues which often go free from meaningful transparency, oversight and accountability.
This should concern every Republican seeking re-election in 2010. However, looking ahead to the 2012 race for President, two House Republicans in particular could pay the price for this vote of no confidence from GOP voters. Mike Pence (R-IN) and Eric Cantor (R-VA) are both considered by many to be eyeing the road to the White House. But unlike most of their fellow caucus members, these two hold key caucus leadership positions and could be on the receiving end of the blame for any GOP shortcomings should they throw their hat in the ring in 2012.
Other, more recent polls could spell further disaster for GOP incumbents. A December poll, also from Rasmussen, shows that 76% of voters in the United States prefer a free market economy. Not just Republicans, but voters across the political spectrum seem to be trending more toward libertarian principles with 79% of American voters saying that they favor auditing the Fed.
The Grand Old Party could find itself very divided and bleed out in some primaries. In conservative states like South Carolina, the trend toward the desire for a more fiscally responsible government is showing. Once again, in a Rasmussen survey, 51% of South Carolina Republicans said that the GOP should be represented by people more like Senator Jim DeMint rather than 32% who said the party should be represented by people more like Senator Lindsey Graham.
So, what do all of these surveys suggest? The GOP should not be taking anything for granted. It appears that the people are in line with what are perceived to be Republican principles, but their elected Republican leaders in Congress are out of line with those principles. This is not a place that the party wants to find itself in at the beginning of 2010.
Yet, this is not bad news for all Republicans, especially newcomers and political outsiders.
In California, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman is seeking the Republican nomination to succeed unpopular Republican governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. On the campaign trail when Whitman talks about California’s next chief executive, Whitman says that, “the next governor must have a spine of steel, know what she believes and sticks with it.” This message is resonating with voters. Whitman is leading in polls for the GOP nomination and is tied in the general election against former governor Jerry Brown, a Democrat.
As governor, Whitman plans to do exactly what she did to take eBay from a small dot com startup to a multibillion dollar, multinational corporation: focus. By doing three things at 100% as opposed to hundreds of things at 20%, Whitman plans to create jobs, cut spending and fix the state’s broken education system, which, at one time, was the envy of the nation. While this will be no easy task with the current makeup of the California State Legislature, Whitman is not going to worry about popularity, but instead focus on results and creating a stable, prosperous state for future generations of Californians and businesses.
Of course Whitman won’t be the only former female executive asking for the people’s trust. Long after one of the good old boys from the state legislature began his campaign to unseat Senator Barbara Boxer; polls still consistently suggested that former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina would have the best shot at unseating Boxer in 2010. With Fiorina on the GOP ticket, this could be a big year for women from the private sector in California, which is just the kind of experience the state needs to be put back on the right track.
The appeal of candidates like Meg Whitman can be related to that of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. At a time when people need experienced leaders, voters are specific in what type of experience they are looking for. Rather than candidates who have waited their turn in line, shuffling up the ladder of positions in government, they’re opting for people with a view from main street.
With Palin’s book still on the New York Times’ best sellers list and thousands camping out overnight in single digit temperatures to see her, there is no doubt that voters are craving representation from those who will govern alongside them, rather than above them. This is just the type of leadership that people like Whitman offer and voters are responding in an overwhelmingly positive way in a party that is not known for being fond of change.
With a variety of paths for the Republican party to take in 2010, it will be interesting to see which way the party will try to go and if voters will follow. Of course, it is highly likely that voters will blaze their own trails in 2010. If that is the case, the big question will be if the Republican party, its candidates and leaders follow.
Republicans voters have raised the standard for those who represent them and it is now up to those seeking re-election to get serious in their efforts if they are going to make the grade next November.
The opportunity for capitalism and free markets to make a comeback in the 112th Congress is certainly there. Will we seize it? I hope so.
In less than one year, the anti-capitalism majority in both Houses of Congress and the White House have declared war on the principles which have been a part of our nation’s core and what makes our system of self-government better than that of any other nation in the world.
Part of the threat to the future of capitalism and free markets in the United States lies within the Republican party as well. Being the party of diversity, when it comes to voting on the floor of the House or Senate, Republicans have not always succeeded in protecting capitalism.
Make no mistake, this is not a call for a “purity test” for Republican candidates, but it does point out the importance of primaries and supporting the candidates which will be the most effective voices for capitalism and free market principles.
Protecting these values is key to a healthy future for small businesses which are what will create a stronger economy and prosperous citizens.
Under the current majority in Washington, DC, the need for creation, invention, competition and innovation as the four cornerstones of economic prosperity are being addressed by Congress and the White House in the following way:
Creation: creating more government and more debt to give the illusion of meaningful job growth
The markets have not responded positively to alleged job growth because the only sector growing is government, not the private sector.
Invention: inventing trickle up poverty so that everyone feels the pinch
Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have focused on taking money from those who have created private sector jobs to employ more lemmings in government which has devastated middle class and blue collar workers alike. Robbing the poor to feed the rich: perhaps if they’re still not getting it, we ought to make them watch the Walt Disney version of Robin Hood again…perhaps that will meet their level of comprehension.
Competition: competing to see how many more minorities the government can hold hostage on generational welfare to protect labor unions
Did the government ever stop and think that by getting people off of welfare and allowing them to compete in the free marketplace that they might become wealthy and not burden those who work?
Innovation: finding new ways to make people dependent on the incumbent party for everything in life
It is the most immoral, but most successful way to ensure your re-election: put everyone in economic prison, put a gun to their head and then hand them a ballot.
By restoring a pro-capitalism and free market majority in Washington, DC, the four cornerstones to prosperity will be installed on a firm foundation of competition that rewards those who take risks, work hard, and create jobs. An economy build on the right sound principles will punish no one who is retired or earns an income.
Every time in history that the government has made an economic gamble it seems that the people loose. Every time the people both individually and collectively take risks on their own initiative that suit their own goals, the odds seem much more favorable.
It would seem that in Washington, DC, our lawmakers are so far from main street that no amount of technology could help them get a clear view of reality. It is up to the voters to show them the way in 2010 by not electing a partisan majority, but a pro-capitalism majority.
Of course I wouldn’t be doing anyone any justice if I did not point out the most important step in the process to bringing capitalism back to Congress: voter turnout! No one can (legally) vote for you. If you do not take 30 seconds to vote for the pro-capitalism candidates on your ballot and make a generous effort to make sure your friends, family and neighbors do the same, then you had better have no complaints.
Voting is a part of the equation of economic prosperity. You get out of it what you put into it.
What will your standards be in 2010?
*Drew Sweatte is the author of the Desert Capitalist Blog. The views expressed in this blog are the author’s, and do not necessarily represent the views of Right Pride or GOProud.