11.01.2008 0

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright

  • On: 11/20/2008 10:46:05
  • In: Conservative Movement
  • By Alex Rosenwald

    “Those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.” – John F. Kennedy

    This past Tuesday, the people of Alaska decided it was time to close the chapter on Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), who leaves as the longest-serving Republican in the Senate’s history. But not all in the GOP are saddened by the impending end of Mr. Stevens 40- year sojourn. Nor should they be.

    The fact is, many in the GOP—especially at the grassroots level—have already turned their attention to an exciting new group of GOP leaders. They are more than ready to watch the RINOs walk off into the tall grass. And they are hoping against hope that the new faces don’t develop the same old habits.

    Brendan Miniter, in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, talked about possible new leaders who have shown time after time their ability not only to lead, but also to return the party to its conservative roots and revitalize an increasing dispirited electorate.

    He highlights a few names that have gained considerable attention of late:

    • The Governors of Louisiana and Alaska, Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin, are talked about as the possible new faces of the GOP. They are young, exciting, and most important, their track records as executives of their states show commitment to acting on basic conservative values.

    • Then, there is Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina. Gov. Sanford, who last week was named the new chairman of the Republican Governors Association, has been a vocal critic of the recent bailout from Congress. Just a few days ago, he voiced his concern that the bailout would simply “issue debt to a problem caused by the very people who put America there in the first place.”

    • There is also Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC). He was ranked by National Journal as the most conservative Senator in 2007, and like Governor Sanford, proven to be a very fiscally responsible politician. He opposed the bailout being pushed through Congress, and has been a courageous leader in fighting for traditional family values.

    There is no doubt these are all very attractive and capable, potential leaders of the GOP, and by extension the conservative moment. But the problem is, they haven’t stood the test of time—or in a timely fashion, the test of time limits. Will they come to serve and leave the stage with their integrity intact? Or will they, like Ted Stevens, come to do good, and stay to do well?

    Gov. Sanford says it well: “[Ted Stevens] personifies what went wrong in the election…He stayed so long that he developed a blind eye to ethical lapses that would be readily seen by scout leaders and soccer moms alike.”

    In his widely quoted Inaugural Speech, President Kennedy warned “Those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.”

    It’s now too late for Ted Stevens. And the new faces who hold such hope would do well to be wary of that same seductive “tiger, tiger burning bright.” Once they reach the pinnacle of power, he’ll come to them too, seeking to “twist the sinews of their hearts.” And one can only hope, they have the courage and character to know when to dismount.

    Alex Rosenwald is a contributing editor of ALG News Bureau.

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