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Column: Republicans embrace conservatism anew

Marcus Bowen

Feb. 2, 2009

In 1994, the Republican Party came to power in the House of Representatives. Americans overwhelmingly voted for bold conservative principles. Republicans bound themselves to the Contract with America, their commitment to reduce spending, lower taxes and limit the size and power of the federal government.

Americans chose the Republican Party to be an agent of change in Washington. Unfortunately, Washington eventually changed the agents of change. Republicans forgot why they were in Washington. They lost touch with us. They spent too much, borrowed too heavily and, in 2006, deserved to lose control of the House.

Americans should be excited to learn fiscal responsibility and limited government are back in vogue. I am proud to report earlier this week, the Republican Party began its much-needed revival.

Wednesday, House Republicans united in their stand against wasteful, big government spending by voting against President Barack Obama's $819 billion stimulus package. Not a single Republican voted to authorize the pork-laden bill. I have to say, I am very proud.

Obama is asking Congress to write an $819 billion check, when the account balance is already $10,639,018,626,962.70 in the red. Our generation will pay the price for Obama's big spending plans. We will have to cash the checks that Congress writes today.

I praise the 177 Republicans and 11 Democrats who voted against the bill. I am glad to know that at least 188 people agree with me that it is ridiculous to spend $1 billion for Amtrak, $2 billion for child-care subsidies, $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts, $400 million for global warming research and $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects.

In this one vote, the Republican Party renewed its commitment to reasoned conservative principles. That commitment to conservatism was also echoed this week as the party chose a new chairman. On Friday, the Republican National Committee chose former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele to serve as the face of the party. Long-time Republican voters will be happy to hear that Steele's commitment to conservative principles is unwavering.

In a statement outlining his goals as RNC chairman, Steele said, "Moderates in our party and liberal elements outside it, have tried to steer this debate toward the suggestion that we need to change our core views, desert our convictions and give up our conservative philosophy. This is nonsense."

He went on to say that after the election, polls found that 69 percent of Americans consider themselves conservative on fiscal issues, such as taxes and government spending. A majority (53 percent) of the electorate considers itself to be conservative on social issues, and 34 percent say very conservative.

As a young African American, Steele marks the beginning of a new generation for our party. His chairmanship will be marked not only by a return to conservatism, but also by a vast expansion of the Republican base.

In 2008, only four percent of African Americans and 30 percent of voters less than 30-years-old voted for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. The continuation of this trend would lead to the demise of the Republican Party. We know that most Americans are conservative: they believe what we believe. We have no excuse for failure.

Marcus Bowen is a former vice president of the MU College Republicans and currently serves with the Jackson County Republican Party. He can be reached at

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