The following was originally given as a speech on December 13 and then published on December 14, 2005.
Because those who are doomed to repeat the past the past probably didn’t know it was coming.
►Please answer a multiple-choice question about who said the following concerning Ronald Reagan:
… I had immense respect and admiration for his leadership and his extraordinary ability to inspire the nation to live up to its high ideals.”
- Chris Vance? (Then Wa. State GOP Chair)
- Nancy Pelosi?
- Tom Daschle? (Former Dem. Senate Majority leader)
- Mike McGavick? (then GOP U.S. Senate candidate)
- John Kerry?
- John McCain?
- Ted Kennedy?
The fact is it could have been any of them, because Democrats, Liberals and “Pragmatists” who have demonstrated absolutely no agreement with Reagan’s principles all admire his success.
I think it’s time to return the favor.
As a member of the Ronald Reagan wing of the Republican Party I’d like to declare my admiration for one of our most successful Washington State Republicans, Daniel J. Evans.
Evans entered the Washington State Legislature in 1956 and by 1964, with Slade Gorton, Joel Pritchard and Ralph Munro, built a political movement that dominated the Republican Party and the State of Washington. They won positions as State representative, State Senator, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Governor, U.S. Congressman, and United States Senator. But they didn’t just hold elective offices themselves, they developed protégés from within their movement that filled innumerable political positions, offices and staff across the state.
But I want to point out that throughout all this success and victory we can see a driving power at work in the Evans/Gorton/Pritchard/Munro movement. It was a commitment to their principles. They were willing to compromise, but only if it moved them forward, accomplishing the objectives of their political beliefs. It was those dynamic ideas that were at the very root of their growth, inspiring their supporters, giving cohesion and motivation to their coalition groups, guiding their candidate recruitment and defining their legislative agenda. It’s how they developed the infrastructure of political change; consistent principles. They supported candidates that agreed with them and opposed those who disagreed. They dominated Washington because they stood for something.
It was their commitment to Environmentalism that helped them pass landmark legislation that began to move property rights from private owners into the hands of government without compensation and fired the first shots in the war on the timber industry.
It was their commitment to the Living Document Theory of the Constitution that led them to demand (and get) liberal judges and help defeat Robert Bork for the Supreme Court.
It was their commitment to Big Government that helped them overcome the adversity of their repeated failed attempts to add a state income tax in Washington, and still be able to almost triple taxes during the course of Evans’ governorship.
And perhaps their greatest feat, uniting virtually the whole of the liberal movement in Washington to legalize abortion three years before Roe vs. Wade, was because of a commitment to the fundamental right of a woman to choose to kill her children.
Now, those are not my principles, But you have to admire the power of ideas. And in a way Ronald Reagan did the same thing.
In 1982 Reagan told the CPAC convention:
…the election victory we enjoyed in November of l980 was not a victory of politics so much as it was a victory of ideas; not a victory for any one man or party, but a victory for a set of principles…”
Speaking of the difficulty of effecting change and turning the nation around he said:
…change will come if we conservatives are in this for the long haul—if we owe our first loyalty to the ideas and principles we … popularized over the years. Last year I pointed to these principles as the real source of our strength as a political movement…”
That’s as true today for Reagan Republicans as it was for Evans, Gorton, Pritchard, Munro and their allies. Real unity in the new century, just as it was in the Dan Evans era, will be a result of the complete dominance of our ideals.
We just happen to be going in the exact opposite direction.
Samuel Adams, signer of the Declaration of independence and organizer of the Boston Tea Party said, “It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men”
We stand for the principles of justice and liberty embodied in the Judeo Christian vision that founded and built our nation.
- the Constitution restored,
- the borders protected,
- ballot cheaters imprisoned,
- murderers and child rapists executed,
- taxes cut in half,
- the economy unchained,
- abortion completely wiped out
- and an explosion of family love and prosperity.
This is a revolution.