After the 2012 election, conservatives in Congress will likely again be on the ascendency. And if Mitt Romney wins the presidency, conservatives will not have a veto threat hanging over their heads. But as a new generation of conservatives and Republicans ascend on Capitol Hill, The Heritage Foundation President Ed Feulner, who has written a new book, The American Spirit: Celebrating the Virtues and Values that Make Us Great, has advice for Republicans so they do not repeat the mistakes from the last decade when many came to change Washington and were instead changed by Washington.
First, Feulner said Republicans should remember that “people are policy” and exhaustively search to find the best and most talented people that will help advance conservatism.
Feulner told Breitbart News that Republicans must ‘make sure the people who are grounded in best principles” play key roles in expressing and implementing ideas and policies.
Second, Feulner said Republicans should not “make perfect the enemy of the good” and realize they can advance the ball down the field by proverbially taking 80 percent of the loaf and then coming back later for the other 20 percent instead of walking away from negotiations because they could not get 100 percent of the loaf at once.
Third, Feulner said Republicans should be reminded that “there are no permanent victories in Washington” and “no permanent defeats.”
“You always have to keep fighting,” Feulner said.
Feulner cited the Law of the Seas treaty that Donald Rumseld and Ronald Reagan’s former Attorney General Ed Meese opposed 30 years ago.
“The darn thing is coming back again and it makes no more sense now than it did then,” Feulner said. “You know things like that down, you have to be ready to knock them down time and time again.”
Most importantly, though, Feulner said that too many Republicans came to drain the Washington swamp and saw the swamp as a hot tub instead.
“This place is not a hot tub, it’s a set of problems being imposed on the rest of country,” Feulner said, citing all the instances of crony capitalism and government subsidies being doled out as evidence of a government that has forgotten that its “primary responsibility is to ensure the rule of law is there for every Ameican internally and the country is protected [from external threats].”
Feulner said when government “decides what kind of milk kids are served in lunch programs” or allows people to misuse food stamps, it is a sign of a government straying from its limited role in society.
“The whole system is twisted and out of control,” Feulner said.
For the new generation of conservatives, Feulner said conservatives need to help “add some more spine to our own troops down here” to make sure they are willing to cut spending and “go back to basic principles of the constitution” even if it means they will only be in Washington for one term.
Feulner said, though, that “most of the time,” the American people will reward conservative politicians who stick to their principles and live up to their promises in Washington.