Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders,
by Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, and Kevin McCarthy
(Click for Amazon book review)
BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:
The three "Young Guns" of the House of Representatives are Rep. Paul Ryan (R, WI-1), Rep. Eric Cantor (R, VA-7), and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R, CA-22). They represent the "new generation of conservative leaders" because of their leadership positions and their ages: Ryan, aged 41, is the Budget Committee Chair; Cantor, aged 47, is the House Majority Leader, and McCarthy, aged 46, is House Majority Whip. The term "Young Guns" was invented in October 2007 in an article in The Weekly Standard (p. 155), and the threesome adopted the name and extended it to a group of other House members which they selected (p. 195-196). The criteria for status as a Young Gun is that the Representative is "willing to be proactive and go on the offense to change this House" (p. 156) That translates to being an activist conservative Republican who prefers tax and spending cuts to Obama's stimulus bill and ObamaCare.
The threesome also established, in 2009, a House organization called the "House Republican Economic Recovery Working Group" (p. 193). The organization opposes the Democrats' stimulus bill, and most importantly, offers an alternative:
While that sounds like a one-issue organization, the stimulus bill is so large that it will affect policy decisions for years to come (including how to repay the $787 billion cost).
- Reducing the lowest individual tax rates from 15% to 10% and from 10% to 5%
- Allowing small business to reduce its tax liability by 20%
- Ensuring no tax increases to pay for spending
- Assistance for the unemployed
- A home-buyers credit of $7,500 for those buyers who can make a minimum down payment of 5% (p. 48-49).
Most importantly, this book, and this threesome of Representatives, offer alternatives to the Democratic plans. The book hence outlines the GOP platform for the House races of 2010 and 2012. The results of 2010 made the authors Majority leadership instead of Minority leadership; the 2012 plan is to nationalize the House election, like Newt Gingrich did in 1994, and to extend that nationalization to the presidential race. Rep. Ryan, as Budget Committee chair, offered a formal alternative to Pres. Obama's budget in 2011. The book also offers an alternative to ObamaCare (p. 76, and p. 91-108) and general ideas on alternatives for other issues (outlined in the rest of the excerpts below).
This group, however, is most assuredly partisan. They do not share Pres. Obama's goal of non-partisan interaction with the opposition, and they share most of the standard party-bashing that has become the distasteful daily repertoire on the House floor and in election campaigns. They believe that the Democrats are always wrong, and more importantly they believe that the Democrats are poorly motivated. While that is typical political rhetoric, it would be great to see SOME leaders understand that the opposition is well-intended even when they disagree. They discuss the "party of No" issue (p. 52), and justify that attitude as "principled opposition." That's fine, but what's missing in this book is any recognition that both parties want what's best for America and for Americans.
The book's most extreme partisanship applies to the term "Progressivist." That is not actually a political term, but seems intended as nothing more than a political insult. Republicans in recent years have taken to saying "the Democrat Party," as an insulting term for "the Democratic Party" (there is no "Democrat Party," and no one uses that term except in a derogatory manner). The authors, evidently, attempt here to invent a new derogatory term, "Progressivist," (p. 98, p. 112, p. 129-132) to describe the progressive faction of the Democratic Party. Most unfortunately, the authors misunderstand the term "progressive," which they pretend is just a synonym for "liberal" (p. 130). Rep. Ryan, in particular, outlines the history of "progressivism" -- describing it accurately as seeing the Constitution as a "living document" (p. 131) -- but ignores that the progressives are now an important and distinct faction (Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden represented the liberal faction in 2008; Barack Obama represented the progressive faction). The "Young Guns" distinguish themselves from the mainstream Republican Party in much the same way that the progressives distinguish themselves from the mainstream Democratic Party -- focusing on political activism and policy alternatives . Dismissing the progressive faction as "Progressivists" is like dismissing the libertarian faction of the Republican Party as "libertarianists" and pretending that Ron Paul is just a conservative who doesn't like the term "conservative."
This is an important book because the three authors are important leaders of the Republican party. They will likely go on to Senate races, Gubernatorial races, and perhaps a presidential race circa 2024. Understanding their views, and their differences with the rest of the Republican Party, helps the reader understand the future of American politics.
-- Jesse Gordon, editor-in-chief, OnTheIssues.org, October 2010
| OnTheIssues.org excerpts: (click on issues for details)
Budget & Economy|
Barack Obama: OpEd: Stimulus vote turned GOP into "party of No".
Eric Cantor: Alternative stimulus: reduce taxes; $7500 homebuyer credit.
Eric Cantor: Not "party of No", but party of principled opposition.
John Boehner: Alternative stimulus: reduce taxes; $7500 homebuyer credit.
Kevin McCarthy: 2010 election unwinds vast government spending & mandates.
Paul Ryan: America is on an unsustainable fiscal path.
Eric Cantor: False myth that GOP is bigoted & intolerant.
Eric Cantor: I'm first and foremost a small businessperson.
Eric Cantor: Threat of taxes & regulation deters business & jobs.
Kevin McCarthy: Invested lottery winnings to start deli business at age 19.
Sean Duffy: As County DA, prosecuted crimes with 90% trial success rate.
Eric Cantor: Dollars to classrooms, not dollars to unions & bureaucracy.
Eric Cantor: Dollars shouldn't go through bureaucrats to get to classroom.
Joseph Pitts: Dollars to the Classroom bill: send 95 cents of every dollar.
Kevin McCarthy: Average salary at Department of Education is $103,000.
Energy & Oil|
Eric Cantor: Cap-and-trade is a national energy tax.
Eric Cantor: FactCheck: Jihadists resent US occupation, not our beliefs.
Eric Cantor: American exceptionalism: we're not an ordinary nation.
Eric Cantor: Our enemies resent our beliefs; we are not imperialists.
Paul Ryan: America is the most pro-human idea ever conceived.
Eric Cantor: Entrepreneurship, free markets, & level playing field.
Charles Djou: Increase penalties & crack down on corrupt agencies.
Cory Gardner: Limited government, accountability, and transparency.
Eric Cantor: Moratorium on earmarks now; change culture for future.
Eric Cantor: Government is so big it deprives Americans of their rights.
Paul Ryan: 1990s Republican majority succumbed to the earmark culture.
Ronald Reagan: Not intention to do away with government; but make it work.
Paul Ryan: FactCheck: No, Medicare cost doesn't exceed national defense.
Eric Cantor: Trillion-dollar price tags when decision by bureaucrats.
Eric Cantor: Options without mandates: cross-state insurance & pooling.
Nancy Pelosi: OpEd: "Deem & pass" forced Obamacare past democratic process.
Paul Ryan: Washington Way: closed-door deals & one-party votes.
Paul Ryan: ObamaCare passed with no GOP support & split Democrats.
Paul Ryan: For tax credits; high-risk pools; & regulatory reform.
Scott Brown: MA voters took up Brown's offer as 41st vote against Obama.
Eric Cantor: Gitmo deals with terrorists as a different kind of danger.
Barack Obama: OpEd:Believes Keynesian theory that government spurs economy.
Eric Cantor: Government doesn't create jobs; private business does.
Principles & Values|
Paul Ryan: FactCheck: "Progressivists" is intentionally insulting term.
Aaron Schock: 2008: Youngest member of US House of Representatives.
Adam Kinzinger: 2003: Hero of the Year Award from local Red Cross.
Eric Cantor: Leader of the "Young Guns" conservative movement.
Erik Paulsen: 2008: Succeeded Rep. Jim Ramstad after serving as his aide.
Kevin McCarthy: Strategist of the "Young Guns" conservative movement.
Kevin McCarthy: Led 2010 effort for electable reformist Republicans.
Kevin McCarthy: Christened "Young Guns" in 2007 in "Weekly Standard" article.
Kevin McCarthy: 2009: Tea Party roadtrip to recruit candidates.
Lynn Jenkins: 20 years as State Treasurer; background as CPA.
Lynn Westmoreland: 2009: Tea Party roadtrip to recruit candidates.
Milton Friedman: There is no such thing as a free lunch.
Paul Ryan: Thinker of the "Young Guns" conservative movement.
Paul Ryan: Liberals started calling themselves Progressivists.
Stephen Fincher: A farmer who's concerned about where this country's going.
Paul Ryan: Invest 1/3 of payroll tax in personal savings account.
Martha Roby: Fought against five job-killing tax increases.
Eric Cantor: Why should other states care about bridges in Alaska?
Kevin McCarthy: Legislative transparency: post bills on Internet for a week.
War & Peace|
Eric Cantor: Demand that Palestinians stamp out homegrown terrorism.
The above quotations are from Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders,
by Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, and Kevin McCarthy.
2010 Election Analysis:
- Against All Odds, by Scott Brown
- The Obamians, by James Mann
- Power to the People, by Gov. Tommy Thompson
- 2010: Take Back America, by Dick Morris
- 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future, by Marco Rubio
- Courage and Consequence, by Karl Rove
- American Conspiracies, by Gov. Jesse Ventura
- Game Change, by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin
- The FairTax Book, by Neal Boortz and Rep. John Linder
- The Test of our Times, by Gov. Tom Ridge
- Saving Freedom, by Sen. Jim DeMint
- Giving, by Pres. Bill Clinton
- Going Rogue, by Gov. Sarah Palin
- Slouching Towards Gomorrah, by Robert Bork
- Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation, by Pres. Ronald Reagan
- Third World America, by Arianna Huffington
- Hopes and Prospects, by Noam Chomsky
- Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush's War Cabinet, by James Mann (March 2004)
- Earlier election analyses