At Iowa’s Freedom Summit on Saturday, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) urged Iowans to find a “proven,” “principled,” and “positive” conservative nominee for president so Republicans do not lose another national election in the post-Ronald Reagan era.
Lee, who has been one of the most stalwart conservatives in the Senate, joked that he was probably the only one at the Summit who could definitively say he is “not running for president.”
In an interview with hosts Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow and Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon before his speech that aired on Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot channel 125, Lee said Republicans need to nominate an “unapologetically conservative” candidate who understands why he is a conservative and sticks up for those beliefs even when the going gets tough.
Lee said that the rule of law and the limited power of the president will be key issues in the 2016 campaign after Obama’s unprecedented acts of executive overreach
Addressing the Freedom Summit, Lee said a principled conservative is one who is “conservative every day and not just during the campaign.” That candidate, according to Lee, does not give qualifications and caveats when asked if he is pro-life or wants to repeal Obamacare with answers such as, “I’m personally pro-life, but…”
Lee also said one learns a lot more about a candidate “when he disagrees with you.” He said someone who is “truly conservative in his head and heart” and not just on the stump is one who can authentically explain his “legitimate conservative reason for disagreeing with you on the issue.” He told Iowans to be wary of candidates who want to repeal Obamacare of abolish the IRS without offering solutions or call for cuts to welfare for the poor while protecting corporate welfare.
Like a true soldier who fights not because he hates what is in front of him but because he loves what’s behind him, the Republican nominee, according to Lee, must be a positive candidate whose vision can inspire Americans of all backgrounds.
Lee also said the nominee must be proven by having won “big, difficult fights on election day” and “after election day while in office” by standing “tough on principle when the going got tough… and has the battle scars to prove it.”
“We shouldn’t be looking for just one or the other and rolling the dice on the rest,” Lee said, adding the nominee must be able to gain “broad mandates and build diverse coalitions to overcome entrenched interests.” He said the nominee must be someone who “can attract both moderates and conservatives without alienating either.”
He said that because the country has endured “unprecedented executive overreach” and “Americans are less safe, less secure, and less prosperous than we were a few short years ago” while being asked to settle for budget, security and leadership deficits, the next president will have to clean up a lot of messes.
Chief among Lee’s concerns is the “opportunity deficit” that is “trapping poor families in poverty while rigging the system to benefit political and economic elites” while “squeezing America’s middle class.”
He blasted the federal government and the bipartisan political status quo for working for “insiders on Wall Street, K Street, and Pennsylvania Avenue” while “working families on Main Street are ignored, forgotten, and far too often simply left behind.”
Lee said the 2016 field “could be the best and the biggest that conservatives have ever seen before,” but ” we can’t let ourselves get caught up in the hype.”
He called for “a messenger for the ages” who has a “message for the moment” and asked Iowans to help him find that”thoughtful” conservative who is that principled, positive and proven candidate whom Lee said conservatives can produce “if we stay true to our highest ideals and most stringent standards.”
Lee noted that since Ronald Reagan left the White House in 1989, Republicans have lost the popular vote in five of six elections.
“If we don’t choose a positive, principled, and proven conservative to run in 2016, that number is going to be a disappointing six out of seven,” Lee warned. “We can’t let that happen.”