A scene from one of my favorite movies, Braveheart, portrayed Scottish politicians bickering and ended with this memorable line from William Wallace: “You think the people of this country exist to provide you with position. I think your position exists to provide those people with freedom.” That pretty much sums up how Americans feel about Washington politicians these days.
In 2006 and 2008, Americans fed up with a big-spending Republican party that had become a symbol of entrenched Washington power turned to the Democratic party and to a new president who promised lower taxes, net spending reductions, and a smart foreign policy. Instead of delivering on those promises, however, Obama and the Democrats have overseen unparalleled runaway spending, debt close to $13 trillion, unemployment over 10 percent, plans to enact the biggest tax hikes in history, and a foreign policy based on apologies and retreat that has encouraged our enemies.
As buyer’s remorse sets in, Americans of all political stripes are taking a second look at the Republicans and wondering if the party of Lincoln and Reagan is ready to lead this nation again. Has the Grand Old Party learned from its recent mistakes? Will Republicans return to common-sense American principles of limited government, low spending and taxes, and strong defense? Can we trust Republicans to fight for freedom instead of power and position?
This fall’s elections provided glimmers of hope for Republicans across the nation. Looking ahead to next year, in states that we’ve long been told would never again vote for conservatives, principled candidates are ready to prove the pundits wrong. Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania and Marco Rubio in Florida are carrying a message of fiscal responsibility, smaller government, and personal freedom that is resonating with voters. And now Chuck DeVore is hoping to show that even in one of our bluest states, Americans are looking for someone they can trust to change Washington, not be changed by it.
If Chuck’s life is any indication, voters in California have every reason to be confident that he’s ready to fight for them. A 24-year veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves, DeVore served in the Pentagon for President Reagan and helped develop a critical missile-defense program with Israel that helps keep our allies safe today. After years of success in the aerospace industry, he was elected to three terms in California’s legislature, where he’s been widely recognized for his principled fights against wasteful spending, tax hikes, and out-of-control government bureaucracy.
Now he’s running to unseat Barbara Boxer, one of the most entrenched and liberal senators in the nation. Senator Boxer has never met a new spending proposal, new tax, or new government bureaucracy she could say no to.
Chuck DeVore is a proven, tested, mainstream conservative who is gaining momentum and the trust of Californians. He’s ready to come to Washington and fight the big-government liberals who are hurting our country, but he’s also willing to stand up to his own party and won’t be pushed around by the Republican establishment. Chuck DeVore opposed the budget-busting government stimulus, he opposed the Wall Street and auto bailouts, he opposes earmarks, and he is 100 percent pro-life.
California — the home of Ronald Reagan, my personal hero — has fallen on hard times recently, but I believe Chuck DeVore can begin to change that. If grassroots conservatives get behind him, he can win the primary next June and go on to defeat Barbara Boxer in November.
In 1964 Reagan said:
This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves. You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down.
Reagan’s words are as true today as they were 45 years ago. Chuck DeVore is exactly the kind of leader America needs, and he’s proven that he’ll keep his word and work to move the nation toward a better and freer future.
Americans are demanding freedom, not government control. Californians can make sure they have it by sending Chuck DeVore to Washington.
–Jim DeMint, a U.S. senator from South Carolina, is chairman of the Senate Steering Committee.