This morning I spoke at the Parker Breakfast Club, an organization that meets in my District every Monday and that is described as very Republican and very conservative. The response I received to what I had to say was overwhelmingly positive. I definitely won converts throughout the room.

I thought I would share with you what I said to them.

Good morning. My name is Bill Winter and I'm running for Congress against Tom Tancredo in Congressional District 6.

I'm a Colorado Native, a Littleton High School graduate, and a veteran of the Navy and the Marine Corps. I'm a lawyer, a teacher, a high school football coach, and a kidney donor.

I worked for Senator John McCain on his Senate Commerce Committee staff and on his 2000 Presidential campaign.

But before all those other things, and more importantly than all those other things, I AM AN AMERICAN AND PROUD OF IT AND YOU SHOULD BE TOO!

It may come as a surprise to many of you to hear that I worked for Senator John McCain on his Senate Commerce Committee staff in Washington during law school. Or that I worked on the Senator's Presidential campaign in 2000.

But I hope that opens your eyes to the fact that I am a different kind of candidate.

I'm not going to Washington to represent Democrats. I'm going to Washington to represent Americans, the people of Colorado Congressional District 6, and that means Democrats, Republicans, Unaffiliateds, and the 50% of Americans out there who don't even participate anymore for whatever reason.

You need to know right now that my loyalty is to America and to Colorado. There are only two things I will ask in making my decisions as your Congressman--what is right for America, and what is right for Colorado!

Let me tell you a few things right now that I'm NOT interested in.

I'm not interested in taking away anyone's guns. I'm not interested in raising taxes. And I'm not interested in impeaching George Bush.

What I AM interested in is solving the problems that face America today and making YOUR lives better!  So let me talk about some of the things I believe in and the ways I'm going to do that.

I believe in fiscal responsibility and that's something that's been completely lost in Washington for the last six years. We have run up the largest deficits in our Nation's history and it has to end.

I believe in local control of schools and I will go to Washington and work with Republican and Democrat alike to fix No Child Left Behind and put control of our schools back in state and local school boards where it belongs.

I believe in limited but EFFECTIVE federal government and I will work to eliminate the redundancy and waste in the Department of Homeland Security that actually prevents FBI agents and Customs Agents and INS Agents and other federal agents from working together for real national security.

I believe in fair tax policy that asks Americans to give back to America on a level commensurate with the opportunities that America offers them.

The sad truth is that current tax policies have actually INCREASED the tax burden on the middle class as they have decreased taxes for the wealthiest one percent in America.

I'm going to help change those policies and give hard working middle class Americans a real shot at the American Dream.

It seems to me that if you consider yourself a conservative in America today, you have to wonder what happened to conservatism. Barry Goldwater wouldn't recognize it anymore.

Conservative used to mean fiscal responsibility.

Conservative used to mean a limited government.

Conservative used to mean keeping the government out of our private lives.

Conservative used to mean a strong but limited foreign policy that didn't have us policemen for the whole world.

Conservative used to mean state and local control of things like education.

But that's all gone in the last six years. Now we have the largest deficits in the history of America.

Now we have the largest most intrusive federal government in the history of America.

Now we have a government that wants to tell us who we can associate with in the privacy of our own homes and how we should pray and what our faith should look like.

Now we have a foreign policy that says it's our job to fix every problem we see in the world.

Now we have a foreign policy based on nation building.

Now we have a federal education policy that has Washington D.C. telling us how to run our schools. Folks, we have five of the best school districts in America right here in CD6 by any measurement. We don't need the federal government telling us how to run our schools!

We can do better folks, and we have to expect better from our elected officials in Washington.

It's my understanding that my opponent, Tom Tancredo spoke to you last week and that he tried to wrap up all the problems facing America today in one word--immigration.

Well I submit to you that Mr. Tancredo has lost touch with those of us who live and work down here at the regular American level. I submit to you that his eight years in Washington have gone to his head and he's no longer interested in representing us.

And I say that because he is clearly fixated on HIS issues and not on ours. I say that because he is clearly more interested in running for President or for the United States Senate than he is in representing us here in CD6.

And I will also say that I do not believe that Mr. Tancredo offers us any realistic solutions on the immigration issue and I don't believe the reasons he gives for his personal crusade.

With regard to solving the immigration issue I stand with the President, and with my former boss, Senator John McCain, in supporting the comprehensive immigration reform package passed by the United States Senate this year.

And I will say right now that Mr. Tancredo is simply not serious when he says his immigration crusade is about national security. Mr. Tancredo's crusade is not about national security, terrorism, or keeping America safe, and it's time we spoke honestly about that.

If Mr. Tancredo really cared about National Security, he would be talking about the Canadian border, where we have 3 thousand miles of border protected by one agent for every 300 miles, and where the majority of the 9/11 hijackers crossed into America.

If Mr. Tancredo really cared about National Security, he would be talking about our ports, where 95% of all containers entering this country are still not searched.

If Mr. Tancredo really cared about National Security, he would be talking about our airports, where more than 50% of all commercial baggage checked onto airplanes is not screened at all, but where you and I can't take toothpaste or nail clippers on board!

If Mr. Tancredo really cared about National Security, he would be talking about a federal government that insists on spying on it's own citizens instead of doing the hard intelligence work that actually leads to breakthroughs.

For those of you who don't know, the recent breakup of the terrorist plot by the British was NOT a result of wire taps and internal surveillance. It was the result of actual human beings on the ground in Muslim Countries infiltrating terrorist organizations.

The United States hardly does that kind of intelligence work anymore and we have to get it back. I want to know why we are more interested in wire tapping Americans than we are in infiltrating Al Quaeda.

And if Mr. Tancredo really cared about National Security, he would be talking about a military in the United States that is past the breaking point. According to the generals in charge of readiness in the regular and reserve Army, more than two thirds of our Army brigades are not certified combat ready right now, mostly due to massive shortages in manpower and equipment.

But we don't hear Mr. Tancredo talk about any of these things, do we? So I suggest to you that he isn't really interested in national security at all.

And to suggest, as Mr. Tancredo does, that every problem in America today is caused by illegal immigration defies reality.

We don't have an education problem in America because of illegal immigration. We have an education problem in America because Mr. Tancredo and the Washington bureaucrats are trying to tell us how to run our schools.

We have an education problem because Mr. Tancredo and this Congress keep cutting every single program that helps hard working Americans send their kids to college.

We don't have a health care problem because of illegal immigration. We have a health care problem because 44 million Americans can't get health care coverage and because our businesses can't compete with foreign companies that don't have to pay for health care.

And what about the Iraq War and national security?

What about the fact that we don't have enough water here for all the people who want to use it?

What about skyrocketing fuel prices?

What about the price of prescription medications and the absolute fiasco Mr. Tancredo and his friends in Congress gave us in Medicare Part D?

What about cut after cut to veteran's benefits, undermining the very people who sacrificed so much to defend our great nation?

These are all important issues that affect the lives of everyone here, but my opponent absolutely refuses to address them.

Take water as just one example.

One of Tom Tancredo's most critical failures in this district is his absolute failure to provide any leadership in this critical issue.

He has failed completely thus far, and will fail in the future, to secure federal funding for water in this District.

Most of the large projects (e.g. upsizing of Chatfield Reservoir, upsizing of Cherry Creek Reservoir, aspects of the Ruder-Hess Reservoir plan, etc.) that will provide the water we need to survive here will require some level of federal cooperation and funding.

Mr. Tancredo's failure to work with anyone to do this is simply inexcusable. Are you all ready to take a 20% to 25% hit on the price of your homes because Tom Tancredo cannot be bothered to do anything about our water problems?

And it's not a new problem either. We knew about this issue in Castle Pines North a long time ago as a result of the bankruptcy of our water district in 1992.

Folks, we pay federal taxes here just like everyone else. We are entitled to have some of that money spent here to make our lives better. That won't happen as long as Tom Tancredo is the Congressman from Congressional District 6.

We deserve better from our Congressman. We deserve leadership.

We deserve someone who will fight for us, who will bring jobs to the District for us,  and who will make sure our tax dollars are spent here instead of continually being exported somewhere else.

I'm not interested in the politics of republican versus democrat. I'm interested in the politics of leadership, the way I learned it in the Navy and the Marine Corps. The way I learned it under John McCain.

I'm interested in the politics of unity and red, white and blue.

I'm interested in the politics of America!

Our fathers fought and died for a nation that was united in liberty. It's time we got that nation back.

I have ten years of service to America in the Navy and the Corps, ten years of my own sweat and blood that is my promise to you that I'm going to Washington to serve you.

I took an oath twice to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic and that oath binds me still.

I understand national security. I understand strength and power and how to use them. But I also understand the limits of strength and power and how to control them.

Jesus said render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and render unto God that which is God's.

I believe it's time for our government to get out of the business of telling us what to believe and how to believe it and back to the job of governing and making our lives better!

We need people in Washington who will find solutions and fix the problems facing us as a nation today.

The Bible also says "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I reasoned as a child, I understood as a child. But when I became a man, I put away childish things."

My friends, you can sit there and dismiss me because I'm a democrat, and the democrats can sit there and dismiss the republicans, and we can continue down this destructive path where we look down on each other because we are in different parties.

We can continue to look for differences and build up all the things that divide us, and we can be like two old men in a cartoon yanking each other's beards and smackin' each other with two by fours for the rest of our lives.

We can continue to divide America and be weak in the eyes of the world as a result.

Or we can stop saluting donkeys and elephants and start saluting the American flag again, side by side, together, as we were when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon and made us so proud to be Americans.

We can recognize all the things we have in common--starting with the fact that we are all proud Americans--and we can go out and unite this Country again and give our children a future to be proud of.

I am a patriot and a Marine, folks. I love my Country. I quote the Bible with pride. I teach and coach your kids and grandkids.

I've taken oaths that bind me and I would gladly lay down my life for my Country--to defend you and to defend our way of life.

When I was in the military everyone I knew was willing to make that ultimate sacrifice. And all we ever asked in return was that our Country take care of us, and that our sacrifice mean something.

My friends, I'm going to Washington to make sure that it does!

Thank you!

Bill Winter

Tags: Bill Winter, CO-06, Colorado, Congress, Fighting Dems, immigration, Iraq, Iraq War, National Security, religion, Tom Tancredo, unity, veteran (all tags)



Limited government

Your question is framed in a way that doesn't really have a clear answer. Traditionally liberals and conservatives have both believed in limits to government, but they disagreed on what the priorities should be. Conservatives in the USA have placed priority on military spending, while American liberals during a certain period placed priority on social programs. While certain conservatives claimed that conservatism meant reducing overall spending, that really wasn't the truth, and I see no evidence they gave such an objective any priority. Reducing taxes obviously isn't the same thing.

Today, however, the distinction between liberals and conservatives isn't meaningful anymore. Some of the issues on this battlefield have been settled, others set aside. Today's battlefield is ideology vs pragmatism, and has more to do with our leaders' willingness to come to terms with the complexity of our world.

Republicans, representing a coalition of incompatible ideologies (neo-conservatives, nativists, economic fundamentalists, religious fundamentalists, and corporatists), want to make the world simpler by imposing some combination of these ideologies by centralized force.

Democrats embrace the complexity of the world and favor decentralized power, especially decentralized to individuals and small businesses.

Republicans think individual freedom is dangerous, while Democrats think concentrations of power (government or corporate) are dangerous.

by pdt 2006-08-28 03:01PM | 0 recs

I can't speak for Bill, of course, but my own feeling is that the word "conservatism" has been redefined to such a great extent by the Republican Party that it is now completely free of policy implications.

There are still a lot of people who call themselves "conservatives," of course, so it's not dead. I think we should reach out to those people, many of whom lack any political party representation, and show how our pragmatic approach to government can address their concerns and move us all forward together.

by pdt 2006-08-28 03:39PM | 0 recs

That was supposed to be a reply to Lucas, of course.

by pdt 2006-08-28 03:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Limited government

I think you ask an excellent question.  What I think progressives should do is take up traditionally conservative points that sound good (limited government, strong defense, fiscal responsibility) and just sort of adopt them.  
If we do it right, we can hit berate conservatism at the same time we adopt their feel-good talking points.  Don't think it's possible?  Then how about the following speech?

"I believe in fiscal responsibility.  While conservatives used to believe in it, they no longer seem too.  That's why I'm a progressive and reject modern conservatism that gives our money to the richest few."

by maddogg 2006-08-29 11:58AM | 0 recs


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