Thank you very much. It’s wonderful to be back at the Heritage Foundation. It has been quite a month in Washington.
It began with our effort to stop Obamacare — a goal that all Republicans share even if we have not always agreed about just how to pursue it. And it is ending with powerful practical proof of just why stopping Obamacare is so essential.
This law is unaffordable and unfair; it’s getting worse all the time. As of today, President Obama’s policy is to fine any American who does not buy a product that his bungled website will not sell them.
And they call us unreasonable.
Every week, thousands of Americans get letters from their insurance companies, announcing their suspension of coverage, or shocking price increases. Because of Obamacare, Americans are losing their jobs, wages, and hours. And when in July the president exempted big businesses from the hardships of this law, but not ordinary Americans, I felt I had to take a stand.
I am proud of my friend Ted Cruz and the dozens of others – including Speaker John Boehner and the House Republicans – who fought Obamacare, continue to fight it, and will not stop fighting it.
But a month like the one we have been through should lead us not only to re-commit to this essential, ongoing struggle, but also to step back and ask ourselves where we should be headed more generally.
What do we do next, not only to stop Obamacare but also to advance a larger, positive vision of America, and craft a practical plan to get us there? What’s next for conservatives? That is the question I would like to try to answer today.
One of conservatives’ defining virtues is our insistence on learning from history. And to help answer the question, “what’s next?,” I think the most instructive history that conservatives can learn from today is our own.
In particular, I refer to the history of the conservative movement and the Republican Party in the late 1970s. There are many things conservatives today should take from that era, including hope and encouragement but also an urgent challenge.