Positive Platform: Young Guns
Sep 22, 2010 | Posted by Team Cantor
This Editorial was published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on September 18.
Many months ago, as indications of a Republican sweep in 2010 first materialized, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-7th) suggested that opposition to the administration’s statist agenda would translate into significant GOP gains. In a conversation with the Editorial Board, he added that if his party was to govern effectively it would need to offer a coherent program to the American people. The publication of Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders does much of that. In the book, Cantor (whose wife Diana serves on the board of Media General, the newspaper’s corporate parent) joins fellow GOP Reps. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Kevin McCarthy of California in outlining a Republican vision.
Cantor opens with a critique of the Obama presidency and congressional Democrats — and of his own party’s performance during its years of legislative ascendancy. He knew his side had lost its way, he explains, when Parade magazine reported the news about “the bridge to nowhere.” He laments a trend that saw the idealism of 1994′s Contract with America perverted by politics as usual. Disenchantment with Republicans generally and, we note, with the war in Iraq specifically, contributed to Democratic landslides in 2006 and 2008.
Young Guns offers a “better way.” Rather than trying to stimulate the economy with massive and haphazard federal interventions, Cantor and his colleagues would rely on the essential strengths of free markets, and on the entrepreneurial spirit and expertise of the citizenry. Government cannot disappear but it can smoothe the way. Its policies should promote the creation of wealth, not the confiscation of it. Although most of Young Guns’ content asserts attainable goals, Ryan’s ideas regarding Social Security will not help the cause, alas.
And despite the challenge posed by a recession that originated with a Republican in the White House, national security remains the federal government’s principal obligation. Cantor and Co. do not omit this. Indeed, Young Guns implicitly adapts Ronald Reagan’s combination of realism and vision to global circumstances that have changed since the end of the Cold War.
Young Guns is more oriented toward policy than was the 1994 contract. Yet although its recommendations reflect a philosophical perspective, the book does not resemble Barry Goldwater’s The Conscience of a Conservative, which more vigorously engaged the intellect. Young Guns offers immediacy and serves as a practical guide not only to campaigning but to governing. It tells voters what they need to know. Mainstream Republicans and much of the Tea Party will like its direction. True independents will find the overall prospectus congenial. The left will sneer.
The cover depicts three appealing fellows, whose backgrounds reveal differences in religion, regional culture, ethnicity, and other influences. The success of their endeavor will be apparent if future editions portray not only three white guys in suits but the rainbow this country has wonderfully become.