03.02.2015 1

The struggle for the soul of the Republican Party

By Rick Manning

senator sessionsA parade of Washington, D.C. and state politicians came to speak before a throng of mostly 20-something conservatives at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this past week. Many of those who think they are going to run for president spoke, with personalities ranging from Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina to Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindal.

One senator who has been at the vanguard of the illegal immigration fight however, was strangely missing from the official program — Jeff Sessions from Alabama.

In a not-authorized-by-those-who-run-CPAC speech that Breitbart.com hosted, Senator Sessions laid out the case for a new Republican Party, a party of the people rather than the big corporate interests that use their financial power to choose nominees. Cigar smoke-filled backroom deals are no longer de rigueur of the ruling class, but in today’s modern world of communications that image is passé.

The Washington Times shed light on the modern manipulation of the political process by men of money in an article titled, “GOP must embrace pro-immigration policy, big donors say,” quoting Mitt Romney’s 2012 finance director Spencer Zwick as saying, “If someone wants to be taken seriously running for president, in my opinion, they need to be in a similar place.”

Sessions responded forcefully to the donor community’s push for Republican candidates for president to toe their amnesty line saying, “Contributions and supporters are always important in presidential elections and other elections too, but votes trump money.”

Continuing in his presentation, Sessions answered Zwick’s statement with basic truths that the American worker’s wages have declined, workforce participation has shrunk and that the U.S. Congress owes its allegiance to the American people, not corporate interests. He went on to argue that a Republican candidate for President who supported the big donor immigration policies would find him or herself on the wrong side of Americans who work for a wage or a salary on a core personal pocketbook issue.

“The American people are pleading for their country to do something about their problems for a changes, wages are down, we’re down nearly $4,000 in median income since 2007. This is a catastrophe. Middle class Americans have had a $4,000 decline in their wages. This needs to be the party for the working American.”

In a 2013 memo to his fellow Senators urging opposition to flooding the legal workforce with millions of new workers, the senator from Alabama argues that Republicans will win elections if they can appeal to “working Americans of all backgrounds,” pointing out that, “Low-income Americans will be hardest hit.”

Sessions’ message of conservative populism, putting the needs and concerns of the people who have become increasingly alienated from their own government, must be heeded.

This does not mean that Republicans should step away from pushing for lower taxes and limited government, but to the contrary, they should make the forceful case that the bigger the government, the more it becomes the tool of those wealthy enough to manipulate it to their own ends.

In 2014, America’s voters rose up and gave the Republican Party a mandate to stand up to President Obama and stop him from finishing his fundamental transformation of America. Voters made it clear that they wanted Republicans to stop Obama’s executive amnesty. They made it clear that they rejected Big Government health care. They made it clear that they were trusting Republicans to challenge Obama’s Big Government schemes and stop them.

If Republicans follow the pathway that Senator Sessions is laying out, those voters will not be disappointed. However, if they continue to capitulate to the rejected Harry Reid, a historic opportunity to recast the Republican Party as the party of the people will be lost.

It might not be the message that Spencer Zwick wants to hear, but it is certainly the one that the American people will applaud. With Congress near an all-time low approval rating, that would be a sound that they haven’t heard in quite a while.

Rick Manning is President of Americans for Limited Government.

Copyright © 2008-2021 Americans for Limited Government