Friday, October 1, 2010

John Ashbrook: Lycurgus of the Tea Party?



by: Jay Hartz

With the final round of major primaries now complete, candidates have been selected for this November’s general election. The impact Tea Party candidates will have on the general election and on policy following that election is a question worthy of thought and debate by conservatives. While the nuts-and-bolts questions of which party will control Congress and the possibility of implementing a "refudiate socialism" agenda are important, there is also an interesting discussion to be had concerning "what does this all mean?"

It is worth noting that today’s Tea Party movement has a historical if not a philosophical connection to John M. Ashbrook’s primary challenge to Richard Nixon in 1972. While it will be for someone else to argue Ashbrook was the proto-Tea Party candidate, the extent to which Ashbrook was vilified by the party apparatus for challenging the "establishment" candidate has seen several parallels during this year’s election cycle.

Which brings us to an interesting question: What thoughts and suggestions might Ashbrook offer to conservatives during an election in which the major issues track so closely those he championed during his political career. Luckily, we have a source to consult.

In 1986, just a few years after the untimely death of Ashbrook, Randy McNutt published a slim volume entitled No Left Turns: A Handbook for Conservatives Based on the Writings of John M. Ashbrook. McNutt, then a reporter for the Cincinnati Enquirer, was able to secure a heartfelt foreword from Congressman Jack Kemp and assembled several of Ashbrook’s speeches, newsletters, newspaper editorials and letters to constituents. From these pages leaps the mind of Ashbrook. Not only his firm grasp of domestic issues, but a foreign policy based on his opposition to totalitarianism in the form of communism and an understanding that a strong America is freedom’s last best chance for success.

Read the rest here.

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