We Need to Fix the Republican Party Before It's Too Late

A few weeks ago, I promised you an adventure. For me, the adventure is bringing new ideas and new solutions to you, the American people — visiting your towns, your businesses and occasionally even your homes, and discussing how to win the future for our children and grandchildren.

This week took me from the streets of Newark to the Pittsburgh Convention Center, and from the Wrigley Mansion in Phoenix to the studio of "Meet the Press" in Washington. And the common theme I consistently heard from the people I spoke with, whether in the Pittsburgh airport or the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is that Americans want change.

Not just any change — conservative change.

When we hear from the former head of border enforcement that America‘s border is an invitation to illegal entry, we know something has to change.

When we hear that a single bill sent up from Congress to the President contained more than 6,000 earmarks for pork-barrel projects, we know something has to change.

And when we discover that our government is paying contractors $1.75 a square foot to lay blue tarp on storm damaged roofs in Louisiana but the people actually doing the work are being paid only 10 cents per square foot, we know something has to change.

Tough Love for the Republican Majority

Some think my message of change is too hard on my own party. But nothing could be further from the truth. My position is simple: I want to create a strong governing Republican majority. I want a Republican presidency. I think that means we have to recognize that things aren’t working, we need to fix them before the American people decide they have had enough and replace our majority.

It’s time for an intervention.

America is hungry for conservative leadership. I don’t believe Americans want to go back to a left-wing Democratic majority. We want a Contract with America, not a Contract with San Francisco and Vermont. The Republican leadership has an opportunity now — in May, June and July — to change the terms of the debate for the coming November elections.

In my first message to you, I warned you that our Republican majority is in danger. But I also believe that movement conservatives are ready to reassert themselves in order to return our party to its roots of smaller government, innovative ideas and common sense solutions.

As I mentioned last week, House Speaker Dennis Hastert’s (R-Ill.) declaration that the pork-laden "emergency" spending bill passed by the Senate was "dead on arrival" in the House was a good start.

That was a declaration of war on the big spending that has become business as usual in Washington. We need to continue this campaign for real conservative change.

Here’s an idea for real change: Instead of joining in the chorus of Democratic scapegoating of oil companies over high gas prices, we should be more aggressive about not relying on dictatorships in Venezuela, Nigeria, Iran and

Saudi Arabia for our energy needs. The President should call a renewable fuels summit in a place where they know a little something about producing clean, renewable sources of energy: Iowa State University. We should bring all the best minds and major players together. And then, within the next 30 days, conservatives should introduce a major renewable fuels bill that will reduce our reliance on unstable dictatorships overseas.

‘Speaking Honestly, Plainly and Sympathetically’

Yesterday, on NBC’s "Meet the Press" I discussed these ideas with Tim Russert (video), along with the lessons America has learned in Iraq and the emerging threat from the genocidal Iranian dictator.

I also detailed how we can control our borders and make America safer, beginning by sending the message to immigrants that breaking the law is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.

I believe we must put border security first. The President should reject the Senate’s immigration bill that sets up a nonsensical three-tiered amnesty program where those who broke the law the longest are most rewarded. Moreover, Robert Rector from the Heritage Foundation says the bill as proposed would allow more than 100 million new legal immigrants over the next 20 years. That plan, as I told Human Events last week, is unworkable. As I’ve said before, this is a great opportunity for the President to re-bond with the overwhelming majority of Americans, and I hope he will take that opportunity tonight in his address to the nation.

In response to my "Meet the Press" appearance, I heard from many of you, but I would like to share one very thoughtful and encouraging email:

"You are in a rare position for a public servant: you have found a way to make telling the truth a convincing political strategy. I think it really works on foreign and domestic policy, and I think it works when you talk about your own personal history in the face of hostile questions. When you do America the simple courtesy of speaking honestly, plainly and sympathetically, you tap huge reserves of goodwill and in the process make Americans feel better about themselves."

I wish I could say all the email I receive is this complimentary. But I’ll take these kind words less as a commentary on past performance and more as wise guidance for the future. I will endeavor to continue to give you the simple courtesy of speaking honestly, plainly and sympathetically — not for my political future but to win the future for America.