It’s impossible to listen to Pat Shortridge, executive director of the New Majority Campaign (NMP) for FreedomWorks, without getting fired up. His enthusiasm for conservative politics is contagious, and I was glad to catch a dose.
“We’ve got to get our side energized in the fight for good ideas,” said the 16-year Capitol Hill veteran. “We’ve got to start turning ideas into legislation to work in the lives of people who want to see government work for them. We’ve got to get back to persuading people.”
And that is the gist of the NMP — grassroots activism through motivated citizen participation aimed at shaping policy agenda in Washington. They intend to motivate conservatives to see that real change occurs when the American people persuade politicians with ideas.
Shortridge, who served FreedomWorks Chairman Dick Armey in Congress for over a decade and most recently worked as Chief of Staff and Campaign Manager for Rep. Mark Kennedy of Minnesota, wants to see conservatives working locally toward a re-birth of the Reagan limited government and free markets practices.
Shortridge emphasized the importance of educating the younger political generation on the foundational Reagan era they missed. “You can’t just invoke the name Reagan without explaining who he was and what he believed,” he said. “We‘ve got to be reminding them of that legacy, how freedom works in the lives of the American people.”
Republicans enjoyed such a lengthy reign of Congressional control that it took the tidal wave of Democratic takeover in the November elections to wake them up. But, as Shortridge put it, even many Democrats already have “buyer’s remorse,” because the Reid-Pelosi crowd isn’t what people want.
Now that conservatives are ready to evaluate their strategy and reclaim control, the NMP will provide guidance. Shortridge maintains that the strength of conservative traditions has never failed but, “the problem isn’t with our ideas — those are stronger than ever and people around the globe are embracing markets and traditional government — we just need to re-commit ourselves to the things that we’ve been for all along.”
Coming from someone with whose government experience extends back to adolescence this is sound advice. Shortridge’s years of campaign and activism strategy helped create a playbook for the future of the movement, now embodied in the NMP. “Ours side wins when we are pushing good ideas, lower taxes, lower spending, healthcare reform based on patients not government, social security that is fair to all generations and provides an honest rate of return…” he said, gushing a proud list of conservative ideals. “We have to get back to work.”
NMP capitalizes on the Freedomworks mission of “policy change by training and mobilizing grassroots Americans” by holding political representatives accountable to their voting records, promises made and money spent because “scrutiny is a good thing,” said Shortridge.
The NMP web site advocates fighting “the proliferation of liberal interest groups — and their well-funded media campaigns.”
Liberal organizations dish out significant funds and energy for the sabotage of conservative causes and NMP believes it is past time for a conservative counteraction effort. That’s one of the main reasons Shortridge believes this movement so vital to the current political landscape.
“Over time, I noticed a real imbalance between the number of liberal groups and conservative groups — and how well funded, organized and active [liberals] were relative to the conservative movement,” he explained. “I thought — that is not a recipe for conservative government…or a way for us to be able to pass good legislation.”
Great leaders of the past instigate the enthusiasm of wave makers today, including Shortridge. For him, Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill and Dick Armey provide the character-driven leadership he mimics in his mission to preserve conservatism today. These inspiring men continue to drive forth new generations dedicated to principled liberty.
“They all believed in something larger than themselves, they were all passionate about ideas, understood the challenges of their times, had terrific senses of humor,” he spoke gravely. “Their respective countries in the world made remarkable strides forward in freedom.”
The NMP, FreedomWorks, and Pat Shortridge are a part of keeping the reality of a freedom-based, constitutionally-rooted America alive.