These terms get thrown around so much that sometimes they lose their meaning.
I’m anti-establishment — and by that I mean that Washington is a mess and we must change the way we do business. We have to have more urgency about fighting for the big things, and we should call nonsense on fake budgets and fake math.
But saying that by itself is not enough.
Being “anti” anything is not enough. It’s not enough to persuade anyone to join your cause or your project, whether we are talking about your non-profit, your business or your political party. This is bigger than winning an election. We face a constitutional crisis, and defending the American creed requires candidates who can explain what we are for.
That’s why I have decided to endorse Indiana State Sen. Jim Banks for Congress in the 3rd Congressional Dstrict.
I first got a chance to meet Jim in Afghanistan, where he was deployed with the U.S. Navy.
He has a record of service to our country and to others. I’m a rookie in politics, (I was just elected to the United States Senate in 2014), but so far, I’ve made protection of religious freedom and the promotion of American leadership in the world to defeat ISIS and turn back Iranian and Russian expansionism two of my focuses. Jim has a record of leadership on both of these issues.
There are lots of good people running in this congressional primary, and I’m sure that most of them would vote right. But “voting right” is not enough in and of itself. This year, the people of Indiana’s third congressional district have a chance to do something truly unique. Banks isn’t going to be just another back-bench congressman. He’s going to be an immediate leader.
Here’s why I think so: We need more people in the Republican party who, in addition to voting for constitutional values, will also be winsome, articulate explainers of conservatism. The fact is that the Republican Party has lost the last two elections. If we are ever going to be in power again, we are going to have to persuade a whole bunch of people who voted twice for Barack Obama to join our cause.
How do we do that? Not by compromising our core conservative principles, but by making the case for limited government — explaining to the American people why we are not just against bad policies, but why we are for working people. We aren’t against failed big government programs because we’re mean old Republicans. No, we’re against them because they hurt the poor and the middle class.
The fact is that America is the most exceptional national nation in the history of the world because the United States Constitution is the best political document that’s ever been written. It says something different than almost any other government or political document has ever said in human history.
Just about every other government says that might makes right, that government gets to decide what rights are and the people are just dependent subjects. Our Founders believed something very different. They said no, God gives us rights by nature, and government is just our shared project to secure those rights.
Government is not the author or source of our rights. Government simply exists to secure a framework for ordered liberty where people can voluntarily come together in community together out of a heart of gratitude and build something great for their children, friends and neighbors.
This is a special inheritance we have been given, and we are on the verge of losing it. Ronald Reagan said that we are always just one generation away from losing freedom. We don’t get it via the bloodstream or by osmosis. We have to constantly re-teach our kids and our neighbors the meaning of America.
Banks understands this, and more than that, he can actually explain it. That’s a pretty rare thing in our party today.
The era of Republicans functioning as the party of opposition must come to an end. We must show the American people that we can lead by explaining what we are for. This takes wisdom, experience, a commitment to conservative principle and an ability to persuade.
That’s Jim Banks. Hoosiers need him in Congress.
Ben Sasse is a Republican United States senator from Nebraska.