Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Brian Newberry: Teach the National GOP
I have not always been a big fan of the Northeast Republicn Party. US Senator Susan Collins of Maine has played the "moderate" card for a long time, yet she supported the 2009 Obama-Stimulus, which did not stimulate. However, she was a reliable vote against Obama-WaxmanCare, and she continues to caucus with the GOP. Scott Brown of Massachusetts was bipartisan, yet sometimes conservatives wanted to part ways with Brown, since he voted for Dodd-Frank, or he supported the repeal of "Don't Ask. Don't Tell." Still, he voted against Obama-WaxmanCare, and he supported the Republican Party's policies on fiscal discipline. Most importantly, he was willing to bridge the partisan gap in Washington as best as he could.
Sometimes, I assumed that Northeast Republican leaders and their supporters were at b est principled moderates, or unprincipled opportunists. Christopher Shays, former Congressman from Connecticut, issued nasty personal attacks to take down former WWF CEO Linda McMahon in the 2012 primary. Not good for either person.
All of that changed the day that I learned that the first black popularly elected, US Senator: Republican Edward Brooke of Massachusetts. Did I agree with every vote he cast and platform that he stood for? No, but I respected the man's character, a minority in a New England state who stood up for principle, who reached out to everyone, a candidate that men and women could believe would do the job. He was a moderate on certain issues, but he was full of integrity.
Beyond Brooke, most of the New England representatives, aside from the John Sununu Sr. and Jr. and Judd Gregg in New Hampshire, were wasted out, watered down sellouts who would gladly spend money that this country did not have, but just not as much as the Democrats pledged. Or so I thoughy. . .
I then learned about Rhode Island, the most liberal state in the union, yet one for which I had great respect. The smallest state has the longest name and a history of bucking trends for the great good of the individual. Colonial Founder Roger Williams established the colony based on the Gospel and religious tolerance. "Heretic" Anne Hutchinson preached the full Gospel of grace, caring and charismatic. The Ocean state resisted adopting the Constitution until the very end, holding out for its own status as long as it could. Rhode Island reminds me of the true and final arc of freedom.
I was also impressed to learn that Rhode Island was dealing with the largest pension deficit pro rata of the fifty states, and that the same lawyer who helped out San Jose, a liberal Democrat in a very liberal Democratic city, was doing more help for Rhode Island. I told David Boies, with General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, to "sue [CA Governor] Jerry Brown] So far, no papers have been filed.
Then I learned about RI GA House Minority leader Brian Newberry of Smithfield. I assumed that he would be a lukewarm moderate, one who would not talk tough about free markets, free enterprise, and free people.
I was greatly, and gratefully mistaken. In this February interview, Newberry laid out the principles which 2012 GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney should have shared. Taxing the rich hurts everybody. Taxes on the "rich" end up soaking the poor and middle class voters with higher costs, fewer job opportunities, and economic stagnation. Tax credits are not that great, either, because they allow government to pick winners and losers, instead of letting the consumers decide. He wants a streamlined tax code, just like me, and many other conservatives and Republicans throughout the United States.
I was shocked when he admitted: "There are Democrats more conservative than I." If that is the case, then the RI GOP needs to start reaching out across the aisle and pull Democrats away from tax and spend unionism to support all Rhode Islanders.
In another interview, Newberry candidly pointed out some hard truths. For example, Local leaders want the state to take the political hits for difficult decisions which local leaders have to make. Perhaps Newberry should remind city leaders that individual cities like San Diego and San Jose led the charge on their own through the initiative process to enforce massive pension reforms.
Newberry then said the obvious: "We are a very difficult state to do business in." Time and again, Republicans want to make business good for everyone. One of the things. Newberry reaches out to small business owners and asks them the hard questions. What he terms "the Management of walking around", he notices that the regulatory burdens in Rhode Island (as well as California and the federal government) need to be "more lean".
Rhode Island does not sell well with other businesses, and the state needs more sizzle. While Governor Chafee wants to raise taxes, everyone else opposes them. He shared that the gov's sales tax plan is a poor idea, but with responsible planning, Rhode Island can eliminate the sales tax altogether. Expand gambling and create serious competition with neighboring states. More tables means more tourism, which means more business. The car tax in Rhode Island takes into account the highest valuation of the car? That is just not fair, and the Rhode Island GOP wants to make it fair.
Newberry is Very savvy with connecting with constituents. He is not afraid to tell people bad news, but he provides good plans -- something that the National GOP needs to learn about.
I also witnessed this lone Republican challenge a dubious redistricting effort. In last year's roundtable with leading Democrats, he stood his ground about the spending problems in Rhode Island, which the Republican Party had been warming everyone about for years.
"Give us twenty-six GOP seats -- That's what we must do!"Newberry offered to viewers. caucus which will stop the Democratic hypermajority from overriding gubernatorial vetoes, and will stop the tax-and-spend, regulate-frustrate frenzy which is eating up Rhode Island.