Guest Submission by Ernest L. Kapphahn
As you know this is a critical election for the preservation of the values we conservatives hold dear. Many of you have asked me why, since the election is so important, that I decided in October not to become a candidate for the Republican nomination. In order to explain, I must go back to 2008 to recount the reasons.
When John McCain asked me to join him on the Republican ticket in August 2008, I had been a loyal Republican for over 20 years and was serving as governor of the state ofAlaska. Sen. McCain told me that the reason he chose me was that I was a reformer and had done great things for the residents ofAlaska. I was ready for the challenge of campaigning on the national ticket and gratefully accepted his nomination. I did not understand that members of Sen. McCain’s team, mostly from the Romney camp, would consider me a usurper and a threat rather than an asset. Those experiences that I brought with me that would be valuable in the campaign were ignored and minutia was the focus rather than substance. I was placed into media situations where supporters of our opponent could edit at will and Republicans said nothing about it. Some Republicans, mostly supporters of Gov. Romney, even suggested that I be replaced on the ticket, even after my famous speech at the convention .
I jumped into the campaign with great vigor and soon developed a large following. More people came to my events than Sen. McCain’s. I began drawing large crowds similar to those that Barack Obama was getting. When I joined the ticket, Sen. McCain was trailing Obama by 7 points and soon we were leading by 3 at the time when Sen. McCain suspended his campaign as the economic crisis hit without warning. I will always wonder if I brought on this crisis as there was no previous hint of it until the McCain-Palin ticket was leading.
After the election, I returned to Alaska to find a much altered political climate. I was now a national figure and a threat not only to the Democrats but also to other Republican politicians. I found that I no longer had the cooperation of Democrats and that the Republicans wouldn’t cooperate either. The politically motivated lawsuits stopped all governing from happening in Alaska and as you know I resigned. Immediately I went to work to pay off my legal defense bills by writing “Going Rogue”. It became a #1 bestseller even before it was released. My publisher sponsored a book tour and it was apparent from the number of people that came, that I had become rather popular during and after the campaign. People waited outside in lines overnight in the cold winter to meet me and get my signature. This happened in city after city. Other Republicans had written books and they didn’t get a response anywhere close to similar.
Organizations known as the TEA Party formed that year and the basic ideas were similar to what I talked about in the campaign, smaller government, limited taxation, and a return to the principles set forth in the Constitution. I became involved with these groups and they grew rapidly. TEA Party rallies at which I spoke drew thousands. Not only did I have a following, I had an organized following.
It was from this position that I got involved endorsing candidates for the 2010 election. The VP candidate on a losing ticket seldom has much influence in the next election, but I was not the usual losing VP candidate. I chose 20 congressional districts where McCain-Palin had beaten Obama but that had elected Democrat congressmen and I endorsed Republicans in those districts. We won 18 out of 20. I endorsed in other local and Senate races and almost 70% of my candidates won. Often I was endorsing in primaries a candidate that the Republican establishment did not support. The purpose of my endorsements was not to gain political favor or obligation; it was to elect solid conservatives to office. After the election, rather than being praised by the Republican establishment for helping them take the House, I was criticized by them because we did not win the Senate. The matriarch of the most prominent Republican family said that I should go back toAlaskaand stay there, in other words, “Sit down and shut up.” Meanwhile the Republican establishment reveled in the 2010 victories, the largest in almost a century. The moderate Republicans thought that the vote was a vote of confidence for their moderate ideas, never mind that the new people elected were mainly conservatives. The moderate Republicans controlling the House passed spending cuts that, while touted as historic, wound up amounting to less than one million dollars.
In January of 2011, a horrific shooting occurred inTucson,AZthat killed six people and seriously wounded Gabrielle Giffords, a congresswoman whom I had endorsed against in 2010. The media and Democrat operatives began speculating that I was somehow responsible for this shooting. Out of the entire Republican party only two people said anything to defend me. The entire 2012 Republican presidential field was silent. The party was silent. Conservative talk radio and the TEA Party were also blamed. To defend them, I made an eight minute video. The media picked one phrase from the video and accused me of being anti-Semitic. Who came to my defense? It was Alan Dershowitz, a liberal democrat.
In April of 2011, Judge David Prosser was reelected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in an election that affirmed the agenda of newly elected Gov. Scott Walker. Every possible effort was made by labor unions and democrats to defeat Judge Prosser. I had endorsed him. After he was reelected I went to Madison and spoke in the snow to 5000 people many of whom could not hear me because of the organized heckling behind them. Where were the Republicans who want the mantle of leadership in the party? Did they do anything to support Gov. Walker and Judge Prosser? Did they stand behind the newly “RED” state of Wisconsin in their effort to escape from leftist control?
As we approached the 2012 primary season, again we toured the country and we had great public reaction drawing big crowds. Republican elected officials avoided me like the plague. The media kept repeating how polarizing I was and divisive. Voters like polarizing because there is no doubt I am at the opposite end of the political spectrum from Obama, but establishment Republicans can not tolerate polarizing. Besides being scared to death of the media, most of these Republicans want nuancing and compromise rather than opposition and confrontation.
When it came time to decide if I would be a candidate for the Republican nomination for President I looked around and saw who was on my team and who wasn’t. I had TEA Party organizations that had been demeaned by the democrats and the media. I had millions of voters, who would buy tickets to the game, but I did not have any support from the Party that I had helped put back into power. I had no way to compete with the Democrat power structure and their billion dollar campaign without total and complete backing of the Republican Party. They detested my conservative views almost as much as they did the Democrats.
So the problem we as conservatives are forced to face is hatred. Hatred directed at us by our own party. We have some conservatives in elected office, more after the 2010 election. We can wait and hope that 2012 and 2014 bring us more conservatives that allow us to control the party apparatus. We know that three conservative trending elections in a row would be unprecedented.
We could fight now for the control of the Party, much as occurred in 1976. If I had the assurance of united conservative support we could begin that fight today. Without the fight, conservatives will never have a Presidential nominee in the Republican Party.
Our other choice is to give up and form a new party based on conservative principles and centered on returning to our Constitution. This is a difficult choice for one who has always been a loyal Republican. I am not ready to give up. Ronald Reagan made such a choice when he discovered that his Democrat Party had left him. He made that choice again when he was opposed within the Republican Party. He was not afraid to stand up for what he believed.
Our question is, “Are we willing to stand up for what we believe?” Will you stand up with me now and fight to have our Constitution adhered to? Will you fight to retain your personal freedom, your ability to profit from your own efforts? Will you stand up for your second amendment rights? Will you rise to defend our security as a nation and to protect our borders? Will you stand to defend your family from interference by the government in how you raise your children, how you educate them, even how you feed them? Will you stand to protect your property from being seized and then sold to someone else? Will you stand up for our right to compete fairly, to prosper, or to fail without government intervention?
If we stand together now, we can defeat them, both the Democrats and those who despise us within our own party. You can stand up and join with me as I carry your values forward as I seek the nomination of the Republican Party for President of the United States.