SCHAUMBURG - Colonel Allen West and Colonel Larry Kaifesh spoke with Illinois Review about elections, Rep. Tammy Duckworth, the War on Terror, Ron Paul's isolationism, and social conservatism. Part I in HERE, Part 2 is HERE and Part 3 concludes the interview.
IR to KAIFESH: So if you go to Congress, what will you do differently than what’s being done now?
KAIFESH: I’m running on three things – I said this from the very beginning, and I’ll say it again. It’s very simple: Honest leadership. We’ve got to be honest with the American people. The American people have told the truth and made the right decisions.
We have an Administration and officials that are openly lying, deliberately lying. And you wonder why people are choosing such bad decisions when they haven’t been told the truth – like in the Affordable Care Act, for example. But that is absolutely essential. When you have folks that no longer believe in their government, bad things will happen.
Victor Davis Hansen talks about that’s what ends civilizations. The Roman Empire, the Soviet Union. When people no longer have trust in Congress. That’s where we are today. So that’s paramount. I don’t care what you do after that, if you don’t do that, it doesn’t matter.
Second thing is a selfless service. It truly is about the constituents for me and the country. Allen and I were in the military and most of this is Leadership 101. It’s just not being executed here. So those two things are paramount before you do anything else.
IR: Honest leadership …
KAIFESH: … and selfless service. Put constituents ahead of self, party and special interests. That’s a crazy concept, but that’s what’s required. Then I look at which alligator is closest to the boat. We do have some problems overseas, and they’re significant and growing. But right now, it’s our economy. If we don’t turn that around, we won’t have to worry about the enemies from afar. They’re coming from within.
So we’ve got to focus on the economy and that’s got to be tax reform. We should be doing tax reform and not running businesses out of the state, and some out of the country. We all know this – everybody knows this. The states that are doing well, they’ve done that. Instead, this Administration has raised taxes 422 times in the last six years.
Regulations. Regulation reform is absolutely essential. They’re strangling our economy. The founders of Home Depot and Starbucks have said our business environment is killing them. And we’re adding more regulations with this Administration.
Thirdly, the Affordable Care Act. We’ve got to deal with that. It’s the biggest job killer in our land and there’s nothing affordable about it.
And then the last thing we can do to get this economy thriving is an energy policy with an all-of-the-above approach. Liquid and natural gas, petroleum, coal, hydrogen, solar, wind. We have abundant resources, and if we tapped into them, we could lower our energy costs and even export, creating millions of new jobs.
Those things we could do today, affects tomorrow, but it takes leadership and commitment. And you wonder why anyone would not support these things. The Keystone Pipeline is a perfect example. A shovel ready job that could put thousands of people to work, improve the economy and have a cascading effect. But it’s being denied.
But there’s a party out there, and you want the party to have more control of the population, do you want to thrive the economy? What happens when the economy is thriving? Everybody’s got a good job, making good money, buying cars, putting payments on homes, living the American dream – assuming their own happiness. And someone comes along and tells them what to do, what do they say? I don’t need you.
But if the opposite is true, then there would be a difference. The new normal being pushed right now is a massive government, massive taxes, many people struggling just to get by, half working for the government just to make ends meet.
This is what they want. A thriving economy doesn’t benefit this party right now. That’s why you haven’t seen the legislation we should.
IR to KAIFESH: Today there was a poll that Republicans are using to say they can never gain the majority back in the Congress unless they abandon social conservatives. How do you describe yourself?
KAIFESH: I’m a conservative, but I’m focusing on the priorities right now. This weekend, I go to get my fourth degree knight as a Knight of Columbus. I’m a Catholic – was born and raised. So I’m a conservative, I love guns.
On the marriage issue, I don’t have a problem with domestic partnerships. I think everyone should have the right. But I don’t want to redefine marriage.
IR to WEST: Do you take into consideration social issue views when you’re endorsing candidates?
WEST: Well, to a point. I’m not going to sit here and say that I’m going to stand by someone that is fine with killing babies. That’s not going to happen. And I do believe that social issues are still important. As a matter of fact, before I came up here, I spoke in Atlanta about defending religious freedoms. When you understand what is happening, there is a war on Christianity. We have a group in Wisconsin, Freedom from Religion Foundation, that is going after pastors and has a suit with the IRS to cease sermons. That’s not the free exercise of religion and the free practice thereof.
When I look at what is happening in my community – in the black community – where families are the foundation or the bedrock, then you have a 72% illegitimate birth rate. When I look at marriage, I want to promote marriage between one man and one woman. I’m from south Florida – I know what I speak about. And you know I don’t want to see us destroy the institution of marriage just to placate someone for a political agenda – that’s what I’m concerned about.
And go back and look at what Ronald Reagan said, “Conservatism is based upon three points: fiscal conservatism, national security and social conservatism. And if continue to have the breakdown of the family, pushing more people to be dependent upon government, then government is going to have to grow for this new dependent welfare state society.
If you don’t believe me, look at the Great Society problems of Lyndon Johnson when he said we would promise a check to women who have children out of wedlock – and as long as they keep a man out of the home they’ll continue to get a check – look at the second, third and fourth generations. Now that’s a social conservative issue.
But we don’t do a good job of explaining how social conservatism is related to fiscal conservatism. And that’s why we don’t get people.
IR: In other words, the more it costs to replace the family, the less fiscally conservative America can be?
WEST: And we’re not saying single moms and single dads can’t be successful, but case upon case shows that two parents in a home does affect the job they do.
IR to KAIFESH: What are your expectations for tonight’s fundraiser? Do you hope to catch up with your opponent?
KAIFESH: On funding? I don’t think that’s going to happen today. [Laughter] Maybe tomorrow.
WEST: Let me say this – the young man Mr. Pratt in Virginia defeated the Majority Leader. The sitting Majority Leader. Never happened before in history. And I think he was outspent something like 6 to 1. But you know what he did? He took his message to the people. He made an emotional connection.
That’s what Larry is going to do. Because you can spend all the money you want on message, but it’s still a bad message. The most important thing is for you to get out there and look at people eye-to-eye, and as he said, honest leadership. That’s what you want.
He has to have money, there’s no doubt about it, but he doesn’t have to be eye-for-an-eye with Rep. Duckworth.
KAIFESH: I’ll just say, yes, we don’t need as much money as she does. We just need enough to get our message out, and if we get our message out, we win all day long. If you look at her and I and where we stand on the issues, we’re pretty much polar opposites.
People say, well, how do you differentiate yourself between you and Tammy? On almost every single issue we would take a different approach. The approach she’s been taking - you see it here in Illinois and at the federal level – has been failing miserably.
Illinois, as you know, has the worst credit rating, highest unemployment, worst state in job creation, most home underwater, number one state people want to leave. This is the quintessential Democratic blue state. These are the Democrat policies alive and well. These are the results.
If you want more of the same, then stick with Tammy. If you want to reverse the direction of the state, the districts and the country, then you have to do the opposite of what you’ve been doing. And that’s me.
People that are able to look at it in a rational fashion, it’s an easy decision.
Part 1 of this interview HERE. Part 2 HERE.