November 9, 2006

Jon Scott on the Republican Future

Carroll Andrew Morse

First District Congressional Candidate Jon Scott weighs in on how he thinks Republicans can best move forward from where they are. He begins as graciously as always…

Jon Scott: First, let me take the opportunity to say thank you to those that cast votes for me on Tuesday and to those who supported my candidacy in other ways, as well.

Where we go from here certainly affects me in the future and I am unhappy with the support (or lack thereof) that came from the Party on both a national and statewide level – although I do understand why there was none.

The question that needs to be answered and placed into the record is one of how we define conservatism. What makes a conservative a conservative? I am a Republican because:

  1. I believe in low taxes
  2. I believe in small government
  3. I believe in a strong national defense (to include secure borders).

Instead of flames, [I will support the statement] that we need to put aside our differences and come to some sort of agreement on flashpoint issues that divide the Party and pull us away from forward progress. That was one of the central tenets of my campaign.

In his comments, Hayden wrote: “The party needs to recruit some moderate, smart, energetic young people to make them relevant” and I couldn’t agree more as long as those recruits agree that taxes should be low, government should be small, and the US should have a strong national defense.

Some on this board will bristle at that sentiment because their definition of conservative is somewhat different. The problem is that those three principles are our core beliefs as a Party and we have abandoned them for social conservatism. It is fine to be socially conservative but we cannot be so at the expense of our core beliefs and that is what has happened in Washington.

There is a bit of a struggle forming in the House right now that I wish I was a part of. As Speaker Hastert announced that he would not seek the Minority Leadership, those still standing after Tuesday night began to line-up in an attempt to secure their chance at the helm. The first was Mike Pence, a social conservative from Indiana. The heir-apparent, of course, is John Boehner of Ohio who is sometimes at odds with the Christian wing of the Party. The third name mentioned has been Joe Barton of Texas who is an oil industry insider.

Who would I have supported had I unseated Kennedy? I am not a social conservative in any true sense of the definition but there is no question that I would have gotten behind Pence. Why? Because in a statement that he sent out yesterday, the Congressman, who leads the conservative caucus called the Republican Study Committee, stated that we have not only lost our majority but “we have lost our way”.

In abandoning their commitment to limited government, the Party has lost their foundation. It is OK to argue the flashpoints but we have to get our central ideals back first. Those central tenets need to be the rally point for a re-building and re-energizing process in RI, as well. Without those ideals at our center we will continue to be lost.