Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bring Back Jesse Helms

Lots of people are missing former US Senator Jesse Helms these days. In a letter to the editor of the American Spectator, former Republican White House aide Joseph P. Duggan says conservatives need to ask themselves, "What Would Jesse Do?" While the mainstream media are sure to criticize Republicans if they fail to jump on the Obama bandwagon, Duggan reminds us that the former Senator from North Carolina was politically rewarded for acting as a roadblock:

For his success using the "hold" to delay or kill legislation and objectionable nominations for ambassadorships and policy positions, Helms was known by both friend and foe as "Senator No." ... The Senate needs a new conservative champion of foreign policy realism who will, to paraphrase Bill Buckley, stand athwart extremist nominees and noxious legislation, yelling "Stop!"

Meanwhile, in the Civitas Review, Helms Center President John Dodd attempts to answer the question, "What Would Jesse Say?" Dodd makes the case that Republicans did not lose power because they failed to work with Democrats -- but rather because they were too willing to compromise conservative principles:

[Senator Helms] would point out that we have far too often strayed from our principles on key issues in order to seek more political power. This has allowed the opposition to coopt conservatives on important issues, like the need for fiscal restraint. Senator Helms would remind us that, although we should be willing to compromise our preferences, we should never be willing to compromise our principles.

Here's hoping the next generation Jesse Helms is out there right now, about to make a big splash in North Carolina politics.

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