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Opinion | Thoroughbred conservatives — a dying breed

John W. Giles

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100 percent pure bred economic, moral, social and constitutional conservatives are almost extinct in the public arena. If you have read some of my work in the past, you may recall, I first got involved in public policy going door to door for Ronald Reagan in 1980. All I knew, he was pro-life, the rest of his conservative views were a bonus. Back then, it would take me all day to name all of the pure bred conservatives serving in office at the local, state and national level. Retired State Senator Dick Brewbaker, who served the 25th District in the Alabama Senate, puts a face on the title, thoroughbred economic, moral, social and constitutional conservative, more about Senator Brewbaker in a minute.

All of my colleagues and friends who are economic, moral, social and constitutional conservatives have one common denominator, they are all issues driven. One thing I learned very quickly at the Christian Coalition dealing with multiple denominations and expressions of faith; once you get past God the father, Jesus the Son, Mary a virgin conceiving Jesus by the Holy Spirit and the Bible being the inspired Word of God, people of faith split up very quickly. As a side note, since the 16th century reformation, led by Martin Luther, there are varying estimates of 45,000 or so different expressions of Christianity worldwide. What we did find is conservatives will rally behind issues, so being issues driven is imperative in any successful grassroots effort.

What one finds in the Republican National Committee Platform; it embodies economic, moral, social and constitutional conservative issues. It has nothing to do with race, creed, color or sexual orientations, it is all about issues. There are several groups whose issues are conservative like, the American Conservative Union, Eagle Forum, Federalist Society, Heritage Foundation and The John Birch Society to name just a few. These organizations are truly 100 percent pure bred economic, moral, social and constitutional conservative groups.

I recently received a call from a colleague of mine who worked in the Hunt Administration with me. We were discussing the state of Republican politics in Alabama and the makeup of our elected officials. Remember, when I said back in the 80’s and 90’s it would take me all day to name all of the 100% thoroughbreds, in that conversation with my friend, we could not name one Alabama Senator that fit that description. In this 2019 legislative session alone, they voted for a Gas Tax increase (a handful voted against it), voted for one of the strongest pro-life bills in the country, turn around and voted for marijuana, taking Poach Creek Indian gambling money and then leading the way to pass the legislation. Friends, I need an airsickness bag to handle my nausea and a GPS to keep up with their ever changing values and positions on issues. In this environment, you have to double down on every issue important to you and walk through all of the procedural votes to know exactly where they stand. Now, let’s go back to retired Senator Dick Brewbaker.

I met Dick Brewbaker in 1994 when I was running for Lt. Governor in Alabama. I knew Dick’s family from the car business, but later met Dick in his capacity as Chairman of SCORE 100, a conservative education reform movement. Dick and I spent some time together professionally in the James administration. Dick later ran for the Alabama House and spent a total of 15 years in the House and Senate. I never had to call Dick on any vote; I knew where he was going to be on every single vote. He was a 100 percent pure bred economic, moral, social and constitutional conservative and would never be bought or persuaded off of his core values and deeply rooted position on issues. When I was at the Christian Coalition of Alabama, I NEVER had to chase Dick down for a vote; I knew where he was on every issue. There are No More 100 percent thoroughbred conservatives in the Alabama Senate; it has become not only an endangered species, but extinction.

Unfortunately we are all going to need to do a better job of interviewing and vetting candidates before we give them our vote. I am working on a detailed questionnaire on a wide ranging cadre of conservative issues, where the average citizen can intelligently interview a candidate for office. We can NO LONGER see a brochure, or hear a TV spot, we have got to get down deep in the weeds and shuck corn with these candidates.

I would also like to nudge the Republican Party, groups like the Alabama Policy Institute and others to develop an in-depth curriculum on pure bred economic, moral, social and constitutional conservatism. All Republican candidates need to be baptized in constitutional governing so they cannot be easily swayed or pulled off their horse.

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You give me an honest person who is there for right motives to serve, who has integrity, ethics and character and we can teach them from the Dick Brewbaker handbook. Let’s get Republicans who claim to be economic, moral, social and constitutional conservatives off the endangered species list, let’s groom Dick Brewbaker’s for our future.

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Senator Brewbaker, words are simply not adequate to express our warm and sincerest gratitude for your decades of love, service and distinguished service to our state. WE MISS YOU!!!

 

John W. Giles is former President of the Christian Coalition of Alabama. He served as Small Business Advocate for the State of Alabama during Governor Guy Hunt's Administration. He was also a member of Governor Fob James Cabinet.

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