Letter From Joe Gruters

Joe Gruters wrote this letter in response to the State Of The Union on Tuesday night.

Republicans and Conservatives,

President Obama’s State of the Union address was as predictably empty and vacuous of new ideas as the Party he leads. It’s also probably forgotten already. It was just that memorable.

But Republicans should remember a few critical points. The president focused on jobs and the need for middle class jobs — apparently assuming that poor people will always be poor and reliant on him and government. Why help poor people get jobs? But somebody has to pay for all the new government spending he wants, and there are not enough rich people. So it falls to the middle class to get jobs so they can fund the ever-expanding black hole that is the federal government.

Unfortunately, Obama has already proved himself a complete and historic failure on the economy.

In Obama’s first term — four years worth of evidence — the annual growth in GDP was an incredibly paltry and embarrassing 0.8%, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Democrats can blame the first 6-12 months of the economy on the previous president (if he’s a Republican.) But four years? No, this economy is the result of liberal, borrow-and-spend-and-tax-and-borrow-some-more policies.

Just how bad were the president’s four years economically? They tallied one-quarter of Jimmy Carter’s four years in office — which many will recall were not exactly boom years. In fact, we may be sliding backwards again as the fourth quarter of last year had negative GDP. It’s mind-boggling just how bad the economy is, but it also is completely the result of the Obama-Reid-Pelosi-Krugman policies.

In his first State of the Union address four years ago, the president said: “We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before.” The GDP numbers make clear that he failed in that promise. His policies failed. And they will continue to fail.

Let’s look specifically at jobs. More, let’s look at jobs among core Democrat constituencies that helped re-elect him.

When Obama was sworn in to office in January 2009, the unemployment rate among African-Americans was 12.7 percent. Right now, after four years of Democrat policies and the “recovery” supposedly well under way, it has risen to 13.8 percent. And that is after 1.2 million African-Americans left the workforce entirely. They gave up job-hunting during Obama’s first term.

For Hispanics, the unemployment rate in 2009 was 9.7 percent. Four years of Democrat policies and their economic “recovery” has left it stagnant at 9.7 percent. For women, the unemployment rate was 6.9 percent in January 2009. The rate has also risen, now at 7.8 percent.

Total employment dropped 2.4 percentage points, from 61% when Obama took office to 58.6% now. Fewer people employed, fewer people working, unemployment higher and the GDP at a fraction of the Carter years.

Bad ideas have consequences and the Democrats’ ideas for the economy are bad, very bad. The proof is in the facts. It’s just reality.

Let’s face it, if not for states such as Florida, the U.S. economy would be a train wreck. Personal income in the 23 states that were leaning red before the election, after adjusting for inflation, rose 4.6% since the start of the recession in 2007. In the 15 blue states, income has increased only 0.5%.

Florida created 68,000 jobs in Gov. Rick Scott’s first year in office and 200,000 jobs last year, people are moving to the state again and eliminating regulations is making it better for businesses to grow and hire people. Scott and Republicans in the Legislature have even closed budget deficits and paid down the state debt Scott inherited from Charlie Crist.

Obama has proved again that liberal policies do not work for creating jobs and bettering futures. Scott has proved that conservative policies do.

Thanks for being informed and engaged.

Joe Gruters


Selling the American Dream by Rachel Campos-Duffy

Rachel Campos-Duffy has written a great piece for American Spectator. She makes the case for how and why the Republican party should approach the way we try to attract Hispanics differently. Campos-Duffy is one of those acorns that fell from the Jack Kemp tree. The former star of MTV’s The Real World is and has been a star within the party for some time now. Her advice, and her story in general, are worth knowing and worth sharing.

I hate to minimize the column to three excerpts, but I think these are well worth focusing on:

Jack Kemp, it turned out, shared some of my roommates’ concerns. Long before the Hispanic vote became a favorite topic for pundits and talking heads, he profoundly understood that changing demographics created consequences for the GOP if it failed to aggressively and continually engage minorities in ideological debate.

Today, Harry Reid says he doesn’t understand how anyone Hispanic could be a Republican. Actor John Leguizamo claims that Hispanics voting for Republicans are like roaches voting for Raid.

But when Kemp was alive, he specifically and exuberantly made the case that Hispanics belonged in the GOP. He passionately argued that the work ethic and entrepreneurialism of Mexican Americans is quintessentially American—and very Republican. He understood that our parents and grandparents came north for economic freedom, not more government. He recognized that Hispanics are inherently pro-life and very traditional in their principles and values.

Jack Kemp is the reason I became interested in Empower America, and the reason I brought my roommates and the MTV cameras with me on that beautiful afternoon. Later, I received a handwritten note from “Old #15” that I still have framed in my home office. It reads: “Rachel—I’m sure glad you made it to M.T.V. They need a young (beautiful), sharp, conservative ‘bleeding heart’ Hispanic woman from Arizona.”

What Jack didn’t say in that note, but knew to be true, was that the GOP needed me too.

Which brings us to another problem: The Republican Party has a shockingly shallow pool of Hispanic surrogates. The left successfully grooms Hispanic talent at the local level, with the understanding that the fruits of the effort may not be visible in the next election. Julian Castro, the young mayor of San Antonio who gave the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention, is an example of this.

Republicans have an extraordinary representative in Marco Rubio, who can sell American exceptionalism with the clarity of Reagan and the enthusiasm of Kemp. In New Mexico’s Susana Martinez, they have a relatable Mexican American governor who grew up around a family business.

But Martinez is being under-utilized, and Rubio cannot do it alone. The Republican Party needs to work harder to find, train, fund, and empower Hispanic conservatives who can go out, particularly during the off years, to present our principles and our values.

Engaging Hispanics in issue-by-issue conversation is the way to win over those who are already inclined to agree with so much of our party platform. A natural gateway is school choice, the civil rights issue of our day, which clearly demonstrates the stark differences between what the two parties offer minorities and those seeking upward mobility. A conservative community organization, modeled after La Raza, that helps families fight for access to good schools would earn the trust and political allegiance of parents by showing them, firsthand, who is really on the side of the poor.

We can win Hispanics over—at least enough to remain electorally competitive. But doing so is a generational task. Reagan did it with my dad. Kemp reinforced it with me. And now every one of my siblings is a proud Republican, raising more Republicans (14 grandkids in all!).

It’s high time the GOP gets its act together, stands up, and boldly reaches out to its most promising and natural constituency. We came to America for the American Dream. Convince us that you are the party preserving that dream for our children and grandchildren, and you will win our hearts and our votes. I stand ready to help.

You can find the entirety of the Campos-Duffy column here.