Dear Iowa

Dear Iowa,

As I write this letter, I’m sitting in the Nashville, Tennessee airport preparing to come visit you. I just kissed my beautiful wife of 7 years and 2 small children goodbye. I won’t get to spend the next few days or celebrate the New Year with them this year.  I’m OK with that, because I have some things I need to tell you and get off my chest. I intend to say these things not only through this letter but in person.

The upcoming Presidential election has very much been on my mind. For the last few years, I’ve witnessed the rapid decline of our country. It’s been intensely painful and deeply unsettling to watch and experience. Our elected representatives in Washington, DC continue to spend money like drunken sailors and add trillions to our deficit. Our President provides no leadership and demands no fiscal discipline of Congress. He’s showed tremendous naivete, incompetence and weakness when it comes to our enemies, particularly Iran. President Obama has undercut our greatest ally and friend of liberty in the Middle East. Instead of promoting real economic reforms that could jump start our economy, lower unemployment and reduce our nation’s debt, our President is off on a $4M, 17 day vacation in Hawaii. Could he be more disconnected from reality and the crisis our people face each day?

America needs dramatically different leadership in our President. We need a new President with a vision to reverse the disastrous course we are on. May I digress and elaborate on a moment that had a big impact on me ten years ago?

I remember watching the attacks on 9/11 as a high school senior. I was dumbfounded and then angry at the horrific evil I witnessed. I was speechless and shocked watching some of my fellow countrymen jump out of burning buildings to their deaths that day. I remember telling my high school girlfriend (now my wife) that my life would take a different course due to the events of that day. I resolved to do something for my country, defend her and be an instrument of her justice. So I did. A few years later, I became a Tennessee Volunteer, and eventually, I deployed to Iraq as an Army officer. My most important tasks were to place the mission first and do everything in my power to ensure as many of my fellow soldiers returned home. God answered our prayers and every single soldier in my unit made it home. I now work as a businessman and continue to be a citizen soldier. I’m also a husband and father of two wonderful kids.

Since September 11th, I have not been as unsettled about our nation’s future as I am now. I am still resolved to fight for my country. Because of my continued resolve, I wholeheartedly believe the first significant battlefront to reverse our country’s decline will occur all across your state on January 3 when you hold your Caucus. Your people will choose between several different accomplished individuals for President, but before they do I would appreciate the opportunity to offer them some thoughts on the top contenders in no particular order. There are some decent and good Americans running for President, but only one of them should be President.

Rep. Ron Paul is a poster child of the problems in Washington, D.C. He sharply criticizes pork barrel spending by DC insiders, then he loads congressional bills with pork for his home district. He provides a clear example of unprincipled leadership. Unable to convince enough of his colleagues to abolish wasteful spending, he joins the earmark club. Paul has proved almost entirely incapable of convincing his colleagues to go along with just about any of his ideas. Congress passed just one bill Paul sponsored over his 30 year tenure. He’s been exceptionally ineffective in Washington. So I find it astonishing why anyone believes he deserves a promotion. The other disqualifying factor for Paul is his views on foreign policy, particularly the threat of a nuclear Iran. When I served in Iraq, my greatest concern was the threat of Iranian made IEDs. Iran has waged a proxy war with the US for decades. Their radical government has American blood on his hands through its attacks on US personnel in Iraq and its bombings of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania among other terrorist ventures. Yet Paul, inexplicably wants to extend the hand of friendship to a vicious government that enslaves its own people and is soaked and dripping with American blood. In summary, Paul’s foreign policy views mirror those of Neville Chamberlain at best and a lunatic at worst.

Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has risen in the polls lately. Similar to Santorum, I am an evangelical Christian. I am passionate about my faith and seek to be more like Christ each day I’m given. I share Santorum’s strong stance on social issues and want our nation to protect the lives of the unborn. Santorum (like Paul) lacks executive experience. When choosing a chief executive, wouldn’t it make sense to choose someone with requisite experience? Santorum’s organization woes are increasingly apparent. For example, Santorum failed to qualify a single delegate in my home state of Tennessee. Organizationally, he cannot go the distance. Further, Mr. Santorum had a spending problem when he was in Washington. He inexplicably supported outrageous earmarks, including “the Bridge to Nowhere” and the “Teapot Museum” among other egregious wasteful projects. During his 16 years as a Washington insider, he sought over 1 BILLION dollars in earmarks. Yes, you did read that correctly–Santorum wanted $1 BILLION dollars for earmarks. Santorum possesses no moral high ground when it comes to fiscal restraint and failed miserably to be a good steward of the people’s money. The people of Pennsylvania grew so disgusted with Santorum’s spending spree in Washington that they kicked him to the curb, firing the pork-loving Senator with an 18% loss (or butt-kicking to be more precise) at the polls.

Plummeting in the polls is Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. While I deeply admire her conservative credentials, tenacity and fight, Bachmann, like Santorum, suffers from a fatal organizational problem and would never be able to make it to the finish line in the primary contest. Bachmann also failed to field a single delegate in my home state and lacks executive political experience. America needs her principled voice to remain in Congress. She is just not ready to be President.

Also fading fast is former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Newt did some great things when he was in power. He helped bring about welfare reform and balanced the budget. However, Newt has a 200 lb ruck sack of personal baggage he carries. No wonder he’s always sitting down. He will have a hard time making it to the finish line. Newt has never proven himself particularly trustworthy. If Newt won the nomination, he’d be the first GOP nominee with two ex-wives, who don’t particularly have nice things to say about him. If two spouses couldn’t trust Newt, why should the American people be expected to? Newt will have a hard sell convincing American women he deserves their trust. Personal life effects public life. Don’t believe me? Where are all the GOP congressmen from the class of 94? Well, they’re not lining up to endorse Newt. One distinguished member of that class, Senator Tom Coburn, a champion of fiscal conservatism made it clear he would not support Newt’s candidacy, citing his poor leadership. Critics love to lampoon Gov. Rick Perry’s memory lapse during a debate performance, but Newt has on numerous occasions forgotten what it means to be a conservative. As House Speaker, he drastically increased the size of government. He praised Romneycare as recently as 2006 and continues to back the unconstitutional individual mandate. Newt excoriated politicians who benefited improperly from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Yet Newt received $1.6 million from the corrupt entities. Newt is a great debater, but his rhetoric too often fails to line up w/ his record.

Governor Mitt Romney is shaping up to be the potential Bob Dole of this election season. Romney’s crowning achievement as governor in Massachusetts was Romneycare, a forerunner for Obamacare. The single worst legislation of Obama’s first 3 years in office is Obamacare. It is a huge expansion of the federal government, and it will destroy America’s healthcare system by handing all the control over to government bureaucrats. America’s standing in the world as #1 in healthcare will be no more. Romneycare killed 18,000 jobs, increased healthcare costs by billions of dollars and mandated its citizens to purchase healthcare. Think about that for a moment. A government that forces its citizens to purchase something sets a dangerous precedent. What will it force us to buy next? There was nothing conservative about Romneycare. Not to mention it’s simply unconstitutional. Unsurprisingly, Obama loved it. So he requested help from Romney advisors when crafting Obamacare. And Romney’s record in job creation? Miserable. Romney-led Massachusetts placed 47th in job creation. Someone please remind me why conservatives ought to elect Romney? Can someone name a reason he deserves our votes? Romney’s unceasing campaign for the Presidency over the last 6 years doesn’t count.

Governor Rick Perry’s record as governor of Texas, particularly his jobs record, is outstanding. Since June 2009, Texas has created 37% of the nation’s jobs. Some Perry critics argue Texas’ job growth is exclusively tied to its energy sector. If that’s the case, one could argue California, with Silicon Valley, and New York, with Wall Street, should be experiencing tremendous growth and prosperity. Yet New York lags far behind Texas in job growth and California continues to bleed jobs and opportunity at a fast clip. Right out of the gate, Perry sent a powerful message when he vetoed 79 bills after his first legislative session alone, breaking a Texas record for vetoes. With Perry at the helm, Texas has always balanced its budgets. While Romney balanced his state’s budget by punishing job creators with a 20% tax hike, Perry balanced budgets as an authentic conservative would, reducing state spending for the first time since World War II. Perry’s leadership in implementing tort reform, instilling fair regulatory policies and attracting investment is truly exceptional. Executive experience (namely executive political experience) and executive records matter a great deal. Character and integrity also should rank highly when choosing leaders. Perry lacks nothing in these areas, while several of his Republican colleagues leave much to be desired. Solid on social issues, Perry is a strong pro-life advocate, signing into law a parental notification requirement and defunding Planned Parenthood. Further, every one of his judicial appointments adheres to a strict constructionist view of the Constitution. Perry’s outstanding leadership in Texas is why I am headed to Iowa. Did I mention Perry served honorably as an Air Force Pilot, achieving the rank of Captain, during the Cold War? It would be nice to have a Commander-in-Chief with military experience.

One final thought. What I love most about Iowa is that so many of you are God-fearing people, just like so many of us in Tennessee. Like many of you, I’m an evangelical Christian. I know you spend time on your knees praying and asking for guidance. I pray God gives you peace on Tuesday.

Will you support the consistent conservative on January 3rd, who will provide a stark contrast to our failed President? Or will we continue full speed toward the precipice of national ruin. Iowa, you have a duty to weigh in on the electoral process and get it right. I, along with hundreds of volunteers from 30 states across the country, urge you to support Governor Rick Perry.

Happy New Year and see you soon!

Justin Wax

Tennessee Volunteer for Gov. Rick Perry

Twitter: @JustinWax