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A Return to Values: A Conservative Looks at His Party

A Return to Values: A Conservative Looks at His Party

Автором Bob Beauprez

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A Return to Values: A Conservative Looks at His Party

Автором Bob Beauprez

246 pages
3 hours
Dec 1, 2008


Acknowledging that the Republican Party's compass is askew, former congressman Bob Beauprez makes the case for the GOP to return to its founding values and principles. Analyzing the successes, failures, and lost opportunities of the Republican-controlled Congress and White House, Beauprez identifies several crumbling foundations that led to the election defeats in 2006—including his own. He explains his own guiding principles by drawing upon his real-world experience to examine why he became both a conservative and a Republican, reaching the conclusion that trust from voters must be earned through substantive action, not bought by empty political rhetoric.
Dec 1, 2008

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A Return to Values - Bob Beauprez

SPEAKER’S CORNER is a provocative new series designed to stimulate, educate, and foster discussion on

significant topics facing society. Written by experts in a

variety of fields, these brief and engaging books should

be read by anyone interested in the trends and issues

that shape our world.

© 2009 Bob Beauprez

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the publisher.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Beauprez, Bob.

A return to values : a conservative looks at his party / Bob Beauprez.

p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references.

ISBN 978-1-55591-679-4 (pbk.)

1. Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- ) 2. Conservatism--United States.

3. United States--Politics and government--2001- I. Title.

JK2356.B4 2009



Text printed on recycled paper in Canada by Friesens Corp.

0 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Design by Jack Lenzo

Fulcrum Publishing

4690 Table Mountain Dr., Ste. 100

Golden, CO 80403

800-992-2908 • 303-277-1623



The idea for A Return to Values was generated in early 2007 over lunch with Sam Scinta, president and publisher of Fulcrum Publishing. Republicans were reeling following significant losses in the 2006 elections, including my own campaign for governor of Colorado. Since I had come up through the ranks of party politics as a precinct committeeman, county and state party chairman, US congressman, and as a candidate for governor, Sam reasoned that my experience with both the good times and bad could provide a valuable perspective to lift the GOP out of the doldrums following the 2006 election. I hope that lessons and observations learned from successes as well as mistakes in the political arena will be helpful to my party. Following the additional disappointments of the 2008 elections, defining how the GOP can make a comeback is more important than I had originally imagined.

A Return to Values is dedicated to my parents, who by their strong example laid the foundation for whatever man I have become. Although I would not claim to have satisfactorily lived up to the standards they taught me, there is no misunderstanding about what principles they felt were most important. Dad has been gone for four years, and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him and warmly recall his powerful work ethic and his devotion to my mother and to his faith. Their humility and dedication to providing the best possible opportunities for their children are a constant inspiration and example for which I will be eternally grateful.

I also wrote this book for my children, their spouses, and my grandchildren. As I have pondered what motivated my ancestors, I realized that there was a good deal of evidence about what they did, but hardly anything about what they thought. If one day my descendants have similar curiosity about what principles motivated me, this book will hopefully serve as evidence.

Through this process, I discovered that writing a book is more involved than I anticipated. As with everything I have done throughout my life, the completion of this book would not have happened without help.

Most critical to me was the support of my wife, Claudia. She has always been my source of patience, understanding, encouragement, and hope in everything I’ve attempted during the last four decades. I owe her a special debt of gratitude for enduring the reading of countless drafts and redrafts, for being my grammar and spelling consultant, and for maintaining my perspective and sanity. Throughout our life together, she’s always been at my side on a moment’s notice to drive a tractor, help herd cattle, vacuum carpets and clean the bathrooms at our banks, campaign, or give me a much needed hug. And as our children will attest, she’s the world’s best mom and grandmother. She lifts my spirits when I’m down and brings me back to reality when I get carried away.

I also want to thank our daughter, Melanie, and her husband, Allen Fuller, who did some research and offered their always helpful encouragement. My former chief of staff and dear friend, Sean Murphy, provided his typical good counsel and editorial skills, for which I am grateful.

Additionally, I want to thank Adam Schrager, who provided the original encouragement to undertake writing a book and made the introduction to my publisher. Sam Scinta and the entire staff at Fulcrum Publishing have been completely professional and a true joy to work with throughout the process.


What more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people? Still one thing more, fellow-citizens—a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.

This is the sum of good government.

—Thomas Jefferson, March 4, 1801, inaugural address

Should Jefferson return to Monticello and gaze across the expanse of today’s America, what would be his assessment of the more than two hundred years since his famous admonition? One might easily surmise that our third president and author of the Declaration of Independence would at best be disappointed with our performance, and more likely not recognize the government we have become.

Hopefully, he would take pleasure in the abundance created from what was vastly wilderness in his day, particularly appreciating confirmation of the wisdom of his Louisiana Purchase. Innovation, exploration, and the quest for knowledge—all traits identified with Jefferson—served America well, so he would undoubtedly feel pride that we became the dominant economy and the free world’s superpower during the last century. The abolition of slavery, the issue that confounded him throughout his life and haunted his legacy, would probably please Jefferson, though he would shudder at the cost of the emancipation and the lingering effects upon our culture to

this day.

However, Jefferson might be less pleased with the realities of other facets of America’s maturation. It is doubtless Jefferson absolutely believed in the very limited, narrowly defined purpose of good government. Were Jefferson to peruse America two centuries beyond his presidency while reflecting on his own words and core beliefs, his inquisitive nature would prompt numerous questions, such as How did American government, in scarcely two centuries, expand so greatly beyond the sum of good government that he and the Founding Fathers envisioned and created? How did government come to encroach so very greatly on the freedom they envisioned for men to regulate their own pursuits? From whence came the government that through taxation, regulation, legislation, and a rogue judiciary would trample the freedoms for which they had risked their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor, resulting in extracting ever more of the bread earned from their labor, as well as squelching their rights and initiative for industry?

We hold these truths to be self evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness… Jefferson would be pleased to note the acclaim attached to his profound words within the Declaration of Independence, and that those words have been a torch of freedom to oppressed peoples throughout the world. He could take satisfaction noting that those rights and privileges extend to all Americans, including those who are black, women, and Native American—all issues that escaped Jefferson’s and his peers’ ability to reconcile.

Jefferson, however, would ponder how and when America mistook equality of opportunity for equality of outcome, something completely foreign and abhorrent to the founders. What had happened to the unbridled individualism and self-reliance that flourished among the diverse, yet similarly dedicated, patriots at our founding? A revolution against the

overtaxing, unaccountable, unjust government of George III to win the freedom of self-determination is what brought forth the United States of America. How could Americans have forsaken the gift of individual liberty won at such risk and sacrifice, and by their own will place an equally heavy hand of government around their own throat?

Seventy-four years after Jefferson’s visionary wise and frugal government speech, Karl Marx laid out the design for a far more intrusive, controlling, limiting form of government: communism. He described its objective as from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. Jefferson would wonder which model America had chosen to embrace in the twenty-first century.

Overall, a puzzled Jefferson might conclude that Americans lost the belief in themselves and forfeited their freedom to a monolithic federal government. The days of faith, family, and a strong work ethic seeing one through most challenges have blurred, if not disappeared. Government has replaced Dad and Mom to ensure family financial stability, to educate the children, and to protect the family’s health and even retirement security. Expansive government hasn’t been free; it came at great cost of both dollars and individual liberty.

Jefferson, a staunch supporter of the French Revolution and a revolutionary at heart, could also look across modernity in America, particularly in American government, and recall less-famous but equally profound words in his Declaration of Independence:

That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. (italics added)

Jefferson went on to caution that forsaking current government should not be undertaken for light and transient Causes, as it bears great risk and uncertainty. People can and will tolerate a great deal, or, as he put it, Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable. Jefferson was, of course, making the case that King George III had exceeded the bounds of man’s unalienable right to be free of the excesses of government, and the time had passed to suffer any longer.

Fortunately, the ballot box and what remains of the Republic, if you can keep it, as Ben Franklin described the new American creation, still allows the patriots of today to exercise revolution without taking up arms against an overly aggressive, intrusive, carnivorous government. It is then time to act, or any resemblance to what Jefferson envisioned will vanish beyond recognition. It is time for a revolution, and Republican principles must lead it.

Attend a Republican gathering at any level—from a neighborhood precinct, a breakfast club, a party meeting, or a caucus of elected officials—and you’ll see that the Grand Old Party is still the party of people who want less from government, with the notable exception of more freedom. Republicans lower taxes and champion individual liberty and parental rights to raise their children and choose where and how they get educated. Republicans revere the Constitution and the rule of law and abhor judges and those who see the Constitution as an evolving document that they can change to suit their whims. Republicans are the party of a strong military and Reagan’s peace through strength philosophy. The American flag and what it means is sacred in the GOP, and it doesn’t get burned or trampled. In spite of our mistakes and weaknesses, America is the greatest nation on earth and is to be defended at all cost. Our country is the source of great strength to the world, not the source of all the world’s problems.

Republicans respect the individual right to worship how we please, traditional marriage between a man and a woman, and belief in an almighty power greater than ourselves. Defending the most defenseless and innocent matters to Republicans, thus protecting life, born and unborn, remains a central issue for

the GOP.

Ask someone what they want from government, and if they answer, To be left alone, then they likely vote Republican more often than not. I strongly disagree with those who maintain there is little to differentiate the two dominant political parties. Narrow majorities, conflicted leadership, and an obsession with electioneering instead of governing have certainly blurred the distinguishable differences in accomplishment by the two parties when in power; nonetheless, there is dramatic

ideological separation.

Although Democrats claim an affinity to and a foundation from Jefferson, it is inconceivable that he could find any substantial agreement with the party that exists today. While some question the influence of the Right within the Republican Party, extreme and diverse leftist groups have unquestionably seized control within the Democratic Party and moved their ideological plumb line. Ronald Reagan’s description of why he changed to a Republican is apt: I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The party left me.

That Democrats almost universally champion expansion of government as the solution for every issue is indisputable. Whether education, healthcare, retirement, environment, or economy, Democrats offer larger, more powerful, more restrictive, more expensive government as the salve to cure whatever perceived wound needs healing. They have built a base of support from constituencies who largely feel victimized by someone or something, and who feel that to get their equality as they think promised by Jefferson, government should do something for them and at the expense of someone else. Democrats are quick to oblige, and in so doing have cultivated a following of people who believe they deserve to be taken care of by government, with many who think they are unable to care for themselves, so government must do it for them.

Democrats like control—especially over someone else’s life and property. Telling a farmer how to tend his land and livestock, dictating where a parent sends his children to school and what they are taught, eliminating any reference to God from our public culture, taking guns away from law-abiding citizens, seizing private land for public domain, confiscating a working man’s wages to pay for their social program du jour, imposing groupthink with union bosses and locking out nonunion workers from competing for jobs, abusing the rule of law and corrupting justice with rapacious trial lawyers—people who like this kind of political control are at home with the Democrats.

Whether it’s called Republican or Democrat, the Right or the Left, conservative or liberal, there is a difference. I remain convinced that a significant majority of Americans align on the conservative side of the spectrum. They are pro-American, for strong national defense, want less intrusive and less expensive government, believe in God and family, and want to be left alone. Why then does the Republican Party find itself in such disarray and out of favor with so much of the electorate if the values Americans hold are typically found in the GOP?

Politicians and their respective political parties are obsessed with winning elections. That is understandable, but it doesn’t necessarily assure good governance. Republicans did not manage the luxury of governing majorities and the time in the White House well and thus paid a heavy price in 2006 and 2008. That the franchise value of the Republican Party has become seriously tarnished of late is evident. Many Republicans, and even non-Republicans, are wondering how the GOP can regain its lost luster and reestablish trust with the American people. That is the question this book explores.

The Republican Party was born in an era of great principle and traditions that sustained the nation through her infancy, adolescence, and the most trying economic and wartime difficulties of the twentieth century. The great principles that sustained our party have not somehow expired or worn out; Republicans have simply failed to adhere to them and failed to let our values guide our behavior as well as our policy. We have failed to adhere to what we know to be right for our party and best for good governance. I believe the path to a successful resurgence of the Republican Party is as obvious as a glance over our shoulder into the past. We must return to the values that established our greatness to address the challenges we face today and beyond.

Part I


Chapter 1: A Good Example to Follow

As I remember it, I wasn’t quite seven years old, so it would have been the summer of 1955. My older brothers, Mike and Mel, were off in the fields on their own that day as was often the case. After all, at twelve and fifteen, they were plenty old enough to put in a very full day’s work—and they always did.

Dad was going to fill the ’46 Ford truck with grain, which usually was a one-man job. But since the grain bin in the barn was nearly empty, he would need to be inside shoveling the grain from the corners of the square room to the mouth of the auger that lifted it up and into the truck. To get the truck as full as possible, someone else would need to be up in the truck shoveling the kernels to the corners of the truck bed. Since no one else was around, Dad gave me one of the very first grown-up jobs that I remember.

I was to shovel the grain fast enough to make sure the truck didn’t overflow as the auger continually spewed grain in a concentric mound, fill the corners of the truck with all it could hold, and shout to Dad over the noisy auger motor when the truck was full. It was a remarkably simple job that Dad must have figured even his scrawny third son could handle.

I didn’t do so well.

Dad was a powerful man who only worked at one speed—full speed. He shoveled the grain as fast as that auger could take it. The mound of grain in the truck quickly got out of control, and just as quickly, I had the first backache of my life. Panic at the thought of

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