My Time in Swampland

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As I settle in as a guest blogger here at Swampland, I’d like to thank Time and its readers for inviting me to share my views. I hope I can raise the debate about the direction in which the conservative movement and the nation are heading. I welcome questions and comments.

For those who read this column, you probably most know me as a an architect of the Contract with America, House Majority Leader from 1994-2003, and more recently as Chairman grassroots powerhouse FreedomWorks.

In all of these endeavors I have been guided by my highest political value: freedom. This is a good place for me to start. While tyrannies work only for those at the top, the American tradition demonstrates that all people are better off when their political and economic freedoms are protected. Government can only expand its scope of power and authority at the expense of the citizen. Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan knew this.

And so did the founding fathers. Thomas Jefferson observed, “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” This is why I have been militant in my career in trying to restrain and stop the expansion of government into our lives.

So when we look at issues or examine the statements of a politician this week, lets get to the core of the issue of whether it expands and restricts an individuals’ freedom. The two primary debates this week should give us plenty to talk about.

On the Democratic side, we see an abundance demagoguery and proposals for the largest expansion of government since the 1930’s and 1970’s, with socialized health care and severe regulation of the economy, especially the energy sector. Great for sound bites, but a complete disregard for fundamental economic principles.

As for the Republicans, we see fractures. Some can’t decide if they are, in fact, conservatives. We have yet to see if any of the candidates can bring the conservative movement back to the guiding principles of limited government.