Iowa Businessman Recalls his Awakening to Ron Paul
My Conservative Awakening
by Derek B. Balsley
November 15, 2011
I remember the day. I remember the moment. The moment in time where everything I had learned in my life about politics, about right vs. wrong, about left vs. right fell flat right in front of my eyes. On that day, the president I had supported through thick and thin uttered the words which shook me to my core and pulled the blindfold from my brow. On December 16th, 2008 as his presidency waned and the country braced as the largest financial collapse since the great depression reared it’s ugly head, George W. Bush said “I've abandoned free market principles to save the free market system.”
As President Bush prepared to abandon his principles and spend billions bailing out big wall street banks, in almost that one instant - with one simple phrase, George W. Bush had helped what I imagine was millions of conservative Republicans like myself realize that no one in Washington was watching out for us anymore. We had let it slide when President Bush signed the largest increase in the Federal Education budget in history with ‘No Child Left Behind’, we brushed it aside when this ‘compassionate conservative’ passed the huge and completely unfunded Senior Prescription Drug Program. He had been growing government under our noses for 8 years and we said nothing... but enough was enough!
Due in large part to the bailouts, the Tea Party was formed and grew organically across the country as millions of us promised to hold our weak-kneed Republican politicans’ feet to the fire. The truth though, is that the anger and frustration so clearly demonstrated in the Tea Party movement was born not out of the actions of one man, but out of years and years, decades even, of being hung out to dry by our entire government. We knew where the Democrats stood in regards to big government, but it was our party that was supposed to stand for limited government which doubled the military budget between 2000 and 2008. It wasn’t the Democrats alone who doubled the size of the Department of Education in 2001 and bailed out the banks in 2008... it was us, the Republicans, the so called limited-government Fiscal Conservatives.
The sad truth is that for more than 100 years, every American President including even the most conservative of Republicans, have failed to reduced the size of the federal government. Despite their promises and rhetoric the federal leviathan continues to grow - just in different ways during different years depending on the party in power.
As someone who believes that politics represents an immensely important opportunity to we have at changing the course of this country, I’ve very blessed and proud to be an Iowan - where our first-in-the-nation caucus allows our vote to carry significant sway in the political arena. To my fellow Iowans - we have a tremendous opportunity to make a statement to the rest of the country. We need to take a stand and no longer allow our politicians to simply talk the talk; but also walk the walk. We need to remind the world that the Tea Party wasn’t just a fluke and that in 2012 and going forward, we intend to hold our politicians accountable.
Today, I’d like to ask you to help me by voting for conservative consistency in 2012. I’ve devised a grading scale for electing the candidate most likely to slam on the brakes on the federal government and turn this country around. The grading scale is quite simple - the “Three C’s”:
- Constitutional Commitment
- Conservative Credentials
- Consistency, Consistency, Consistency
As I see it, our party and our country can’t afford another Republican president who says they’ll do one thing and does another once elected. It’s time to put an end to the rhetoric and the excuses and start shrinking government. It’s to stop lying to the public by telling them that our we can afford to maintain our welfare/warfare state. The Republican name has to stand for something.
As Iowans, our vote counts for more than most. As individuals, we all have to vote for the person we think represents these principles, but I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t have a strong opinion on the matter. I’ve spent a tremendous amount of time over the past several years researching, analyzing, and meeting with the different candidates intent on bouncing them off of my “Three C’s” scale.
Today, I’m personally a proud supporter of Dr. Ron Paul, congressman from Texas, often referred to as ‘Dr. No’ (for his strict adherence to constitutional government), and more recently ‘godfather of the Tea Party’ for his role in helping to popularize issues like reducing the size of Government, auditing the Federal Reserve, and bringing an end to several federal bureaucracies which have been plaguing this country for years.
Ron Paul has been a steadfast and loyal conservative, even when the Republican party establishment did everything they could to get him to compromise his values. The ideas he has championed for years are now more popular than ever, but he was talking about long before they benefited him politically. Here are a few facts about Ron Paul that you may find interesting:
- He has never voted to raise taxes.
- He has never voted for an unbalanced budget.
- He has never voted for a federal restriction on gun ownership.
- He has never voted to raise congressional pay.
- He has never taken a government-paid junket.
- He has never voted to increase the power of the executive branch.
- He predicted the financial/housing collapse, years ahead of time.
In a day and age where everyone seems willing to compromise, where political parties wield a large bat and pressure individual politicians to follow the party line... most would agree that this kind of principled voting record is something to be tremendously proud of. Men like Ron Paul who are so committed to the constitution, free markets, small government are too far and few between. He just may be the closest thing we have to a living founder.
It’s an incredible time in our nation’s history and the decisions we make as a society today will make or break us as a country tomorrow. Desperate times call for desperate measures. We can’t continue to fool ourselves into believing that we can afford the ever expanding entitlement systems and nation building that we’ve grown accustomed to. It’s time we as a society refresh the value we place on liberty, and vote in a real small-government conservative.
The Iowa Caucuses are on Jan. 3rd - if you intend to caucus for real conservative/constitutional change, make sure you’re registered ahead of time. Whatever your decision is, I look forward to seeing you at the polls and later seeing our nominee contrast true conservative principles with the big government status quo.
(c) 2011 by Derek B. Balsley
Derek Balsley is a Marketing Professional In Des Moines, Iowa. He grew up on a mid-sized Iowa Family Farm, is a lifelong Republican and a recent Ron Paul convert.