I’m not an enigma to unravel – at least not a difficult one politically. When it comes to securing my vote, my beliefs are not unique either. In fact, ExDeserto was birthed from the ashes of a particularly difficult political season. Democrats had made large political gains and Barack Obama rode into the White House on a donkey. In the months following a group of law students from the East and the West banded together to raise an alternative voice to the liberal agenda. While ExDeserto’s authors have come, and gone, and graduated, I still maintain the blog and the mission of ExDeserto remains the same: fostering political discussion, debating the status quo and promoting conservative ideals. Republicans stand poised to make significant gains in the mid-term elections, but they still haven’t managed to channel the conservative energy from the tea party movement.
The tea party movement, well-intentioned as it is, still faces significant obstacles – namely being able to formulate to coherent direction with a simple message. Democrats, to their credit have been quite effective at painting Republicans as the “Party of No.” Members of the tea party movement, while leaning Republican, do not necessarily agree with the Republican agenda – especially if that agenda consists of deficit spending or a keep-things-as-they-are attitude. The tea partiers have been seen almost as the unwanted step-child of the G.O.P: they are related, but they are also a bit extreme. They can almost be likened to the Minute Men along the Arizona border; both groups lack a definite direction and an outspoken leader. The difference though lies (among other things) in the size and support of the conservative movement. The tea party movement is much larger though and its current has rippled throughout the nation.
I haven’t been active enough to label myself as a tea-party goer, but I am conservative, and thoroughly so. The summer after my first year of law school, I interned at pro-life organization in Austin. I donate to organizations that advance particular conservative and religious causes – I’m not completely an arm-chair political pundit. Sure I can become more involved (as some have), but as I just graduated from law school, the past three years have sidelined any entertainment of these ambitions.
Still, like most individuals, I have opinions, and I fully intend to exercise those opinions at the voting booth. To win my vote, the ideal candidate has absolutely understand that spending must be kept under control. I’ve posted on this before, and I am increasingly concerned with the almost magical ability federal and state governments can spend non-existent money. We simply cannot control our spending. It is out of control. You want my vote? Get spending under control. Budget is not a four letter word. And it’s not particularly a hard concept to grasp. My brother actually puts money into envelopes: once the envelope is empty, he can’t spend any more.
Now, fiscal responsibility isn’t the only issue about which I am passionate. If I may be so bold, fiscal irresponsibility is merely a symptom of larger social issues. And yes, there are other issues that do trump my out-of-control spending concerns. But when both parties embark on a lemmings’ mission to bankrupt the government while bankrolling and bailing out vital sectors and businesses, I do become upset and I do look for a candidate whose conservative credentials do not change according to the economic winds. So if you want to win my vote, prove to me that at least the candidate is able to balance a budget. Encourage me to rally behind a candidate that at least understands the basics of accounting – and who maybe even uses the envelope system. Basic arithmetic isn’t that hard. If that basic principle is understood, you’re on the way to gaining my vote.