No More George Allens, Yes More Herman Cains

Former Virginia Governor and Senator George Allen recently announced his bid for the Republican nomination to take on incumbent Senator Jim Webb in 2012. Allen is a fine man– a dedicated public servant, a family man, and has done much good for Virginia. His leadership brought the Commonwealth welfare reform, the abolition of parole, and educational accountability standards.

But his record as Senator, the office for which he again seeks, should automatically disqualify him from the Republican nomination. Notice the “should” here.

Among many hiccups, Senator Allen voted for $3.1 trillion in new debts, $90 billion in earmarks, Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind, and isn’t 100% pro-life. In a center-right state like Virginia where the last statewide election saw Governor McDonnell win 59-41%, we deserve a principled conservative Republican nominee. 

Allen’s record clearly demonstrates that he isn’t this man. However, without thinking twice, he claims daily that he is conservative, thereby cheapening this important word in the process.

This isn’t some George Allen vendetta I have. It is a problem that conservatives are consistently facing with a Republican Party we’d like to think is our home.

Almost all the potential 2012 GOP Presidential candidates have issues similar as Allen. Governor Tim Pawlenty is an ethanol guy and once supported cap-and-trade. Governor Mitch Daniels directed the Bush budgets and passed a significant tax increase in Indiana. Governor Mitt Romney has RomneyCare, which Obama is already claiming he used as a template for his plan. Senator Rick Santorum also voted for No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D. We could continue this exercise, but you get the point.

The problem with career politicians is that they have records and through time, have tended to stray from the conservative principles from which they started.  That’s why so many of us were excited about a potential Mike Pence run, a politician that hasn’t strayed, and literally voted against each and every big government overreach that came out of the Bush administration.

But we shouldn’t be afraid to look outside the box for candidates. In fact, to get our country back, it is imperative to look outside the box of Washington politicians like George Allen that got us into this mess. 

Virginian Republicans must find an alternative, someone that will fight for conservative policies in the way that Senators Jim DeMint, Rand Paul, Pat Toomey, and Mike Lee do. Jamie Radtke may be that alternative.

The no-nonsense mother of three has been the extraordinary leader of the Richmond Tea Party and Virginia Tea Party Federation. Questions do remain about Jamie’s candidacy: 1) Can she raise enough money, and 2) How much will her identification with the tea party hurt her.

Please note, as a tea partier myself, I believe it shouldn’t matter and would happily vote for Radtke, but one can easily imagine the liberal ads that are going to be run smearing her and her important tea party work.

Another option is Bert Mizusawa, who has expressed interest in running against Senator Jim Webb and would by far be the best man for the job. An across-the-board conservative, small business owner, the first member of his family ever to attend college, he graduated first in his West Point Class, served as a paratrooper during the Cold War in Europe, commanded an elite infantry unit in the Korean DMZ, his combat was mentioned by President Ronald Reagan in the Reagan Diaries and in the book Dangerous Games, he earned a law degree from Harvard and a Masters in Public Policy from their Kennedy School of Government, was a Professional Staff member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, authored the national security platform adopted at the Republican National Convention in 1996, appointed to oversee the Army’s interagency and international affairs, served as the senior commander of the Army Reserve’s cyber operations, was recalled to active duty in 2005 to lead special missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, and is presently a Brigadier General in the Army Reserve.

Quite a resume huh? These are the kind of folks we need in elected office.

Herman Cain is also one of these men. Cain, who is the only Republican to declare a Presidential exploratory committee to date, has lived the American Dream, rising from rags to become the Vice President of Pilsbury Corporation, then revitalized Godfather’s Pizza from the brink of bankruptcy as CEO, and finally, the President and CEO of the National Retail Association.

We Republicans must say no to the George Allens and Mitt Romneys of our party that have had their chance and messed up. Instead, we should say yes to the Jamie Radtke’s, Bert Mizusawa’s, and Herman Cain’s of the party that have the right kind of experience and are committed to fighting for conservative principles.

Not only is this course of action vital for our country’s prosperity, but we Republicans lose elections when we lose our conservative principles.

Alex Cortes is a conservative activist in Virginia, the former founder of BornAliveTruth.org, and present Chairman of DeFundIt.org