FLASHBACK: An Ohio Conservative’s Wishlist for 2014

This post was originally published on January 10, 2014.

Following up on OCR’s “13 Events that Shaped Ohio Politics in 2013,” let’s make a wish list of, say, 14 events that might make us conservatives proud in 2014.

Mind you this is a wish list, not a dream list.  These are all events that are within the realm of reason – that somehow we conservatives could play a role in or perhaps influence yet this year. Let’s wish for things we can actually work to obtain – and then get to work – making this coming year a year of success that we can build on:

1. That the sentiment of liberty would grow

Regardless of present condition of the liberty movement’s official leadership – one thing is true: this movement has energized the American people’s rightful discontent with government and its solutions.  In 2014, I wish for even lower approval ratings for the current Congress and President.  I wish that we as conservatives will capitalize on what was started in 2009 and continue to give a louder voice to the fact that government shouldn’t and in fact can’t solve all of our problems.

2. That Governor Kasich would do an about face

Governor Kasich exploded back on the political scene in 2010 with such promise.  Now, after 4 years, he faces a threat from the right. Like Romney and McCain, he may find that conservatives prefer to vote for no one over someone who shares nothing more than a label with them.  Kasich should stop trying to redefine conservatism and instead start giving voice to it.  We should encourage him to do such – and if he doesn’t reverse his course – may we remember that now and later when he positions himself as a national candidate.

3. That the United States would get a new Speaker of the House

Speaking of high hopes – how exciting it was when Ohio’s own John Boehner became the most powerful Congressman in America?  He was known as a defense hawk and as someone who consistently stood against pork barrel spending.  Now, we know better.  While Boehner has one of the most difficult jobs in America, it’s his job to do it, and if he can’t, for the sake of America, he should step aside.

In 2014, America will elect a new Congress. May conservatives in the U.S. House get real about finding a new Speaker – and do it fast – for America literally can’t afford one more blown poker game between Obama and Boehner.

4. For a conservative Ohio Speaker

Speaking of Speakers, this is the final term for Speaker of the Ohio House Bill Batchelder.  Once again, conservatives have an opportunity here, one they’ve done little with so far. None of the leading candidates for Speaker of the Ohio House should be acceptable to us, so instead of joining with these unacceptable candidates, the conservatives should learn to leverage their numbers and be true to their principles.  It’s a long time between now and the time the Speaker vote will take place. May a conservative with courage and vision emerge.

For we all know, unless Kasich does do an about face, a principled, conservative Speaker of the Ohio House will be necessary to combat Kasich’s populist policies.

5. “History not learned from…” Can we please quit repeating it?

Conservatism has been alive and well for decades – and recently it has been revitalized by the efforts of the liberty movement, commencing in 2009.  Yes, there are many exciting things that have happened since then, and many things we have learned together.  There have even been some victories we can take comfort in.

But as my former business partner would say, “hope is not a strategy.” Let me amend that a little: hope shouldn’t be our only strategy; we must learn from our experiences and amend our tactics and strategies to reflect that learning.  Let’s not stop acting and doing.  But let’s do stop acting and doing the same thing over again, even if we know it doesn’t work.

6. That Ohio’s conservative leaders would take the lead

There are many countless hours that have been spent by people in Ohio to lead and guide our efforts, and we should be grateful to them. But it is important that we collectively establish organization(s) that can build credibility, make measurable impacts, and help set the agenda for the movement.  If we allow Ohio’s movement to continue to be fragmented, and if the only disciplined organizations with operations in Ohio are national ones, we do our movement a disservice.

7. Identification of a “Farm” team

As an outgrowth of this effort to work “on” the Ohio conservative movement and not just “in” it, we must start growing our own farm team of leaders and individuals who can run for office.  People who are smart, winsome, disciplined and of character must be identified, supported, groomed, and prepared to engage in the fierce battles that remain before us.

8. Obamacare overturned

At a national level, let’s hope 2014 is the year that Obamacare meets its own death panel.  We as conservatives have watched with unsurprised amusement as its launch has been less than stellar.  Still it seems that Republicans lack the fortitude to call the question on repealing the whole law.  So whether it implodes of its own weight or Congress finally finds the courage to defund it completely, let’s hope that 2014 results in the death of this disastrous policy.

9. Congress figures out its power

We often concern ourselves with government using its power too much, but for once, I wish Congress would figure out how much power it actually has – or maybe I should wish for it to actually use it. For instance, Congress has the power to choose when it spends money and when it doesn’t.  Why then, since Republicans hold the House of Representatives, would our debt continue to grow, spending continue at an alarming rate, and Obamacare still be law?  Why would its most effective tool remain locked in the toolbox?  In 2014 this can change. With elections upon us, maybe it’s a good time to remind your Congressperson what you expect.

10. Real solutions would be advanced

Whether it’s Washington DC or Columbus, let’s wish for real solutions to be advanced.  Instead of half-baked “reforms” being advanced in the areas of life, worker freedom, school choice, safety net reform, and healthcare, let’s advance solutions that give Americans something to buy into, dream about, and that unleashes the power of the American worker, liberty, and the free market.  Policies such as the Heartbeat Bill, right to work, wholesale education freedom with student centered funding, market-based social security changes, and market healthcare should be front and center.

We do America a disservice when we paint conservatism with pale pastels. As Reagan said, let’s get the bold colors of conservatism on the canvas, and let’s do it for all of America to see.

11. Take the U.S. Senate from the destructive policies of Democratic control

The balance of the US Senate is in play in 2014. While Speaker Boehner and the Republicans in the House have proven that control of a chamber of Congress is not a guarantee of true reform, certainly removing Harry Reid from power and the rubber stamp of the President would be a step in the right direction.  Let’s wish and work to help those who are challenging the Democratic legacy of Obamacare and remove Democratic control from the U.S. Senate.

12. We would refocus on liberty

In all of our debates in 2014, let’s focus on the power of liberty in individual lives.  Like Reagan giving hope to the people of Poland, let’s remind America of what liberty looks like: its power, its solution, its hope, and yes, its need for protection, and our understanding of how it works.  Americans of all stripes believe in liberty. Let’s remind them, through the policies of conservatism, how liberty is preserved.

13. Best wishes to OCR

Okay, maybe a little self-serving to readers of OCR – but may it prosper this 2014.  OCR hit the scene with a passion and has quickly established itself as a “go-to” source for conservatives in Ohio.  It is relevant, professional, principled, and worthy to continue.  May its influence and credibility grow, and may others take a lesson from its disciplined and professional approach to its craft.

14. I wish I didn’t have to wish for so much

Finally, I wish this list wasn’t so long!  Could it be that this time next year, when we take stock of all that has been done, we find ourselves in an improved position?  I certainly am working to that end, and I trust you are too.  Let’s not wish quite as much next year.

To all of you – a very prosperous 2014!  Let’s focus, engage, and measure our successes.  Let’s concentrate on what matters, and skip those things that don’t.  Let’s major in the majors and learn to win at them.  Let’s love liberty and defend it with a passion unknown until now.

[RELATED ON OCR: Read all articles by Seth Morgan]


Seth Morgan is a former Ohio State Representative, a regular speaker, and author of the recently published It’s About Liberty, Stupid! Morgan is the Chair of the Conservative Republican Leadership Committee and a board member of Citizens for Community Values.  

All opinions expressed belong solely to their authors and may not be construed as the opinions of other writers or of OCR staff.