St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Impressions From the Interview with Kenny Hulshof
I sat in on the P-D editorial board's endorsement interview today with gubernatorial candidate Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R-MO, 9th), who is running against Missouri state treasurer Sarah Steelman in the Republican primary.
I liked a lot of what Hulshof had to say. He was articulate, clearly very knowledgeable about the issues important to Missouri, and gave off an authentic down-to-earth charm.
Perhaps the most interesting portion of his comments came when he addressed ethics an issue he is very passionate about and the work he has done on ethics reform in Congress. His criticism of the DeLay-Abramoff "hold-on-to-power-at-any-cost" mentality among many Republicans in Congress, who he said had gotten away from the original conservative principles embodied in the 1994 "Contract With America," struck a very positive chord.
He even went so far as to say that he thought it was a "good thing for the American people that Tom DeLay is no longer in Congress."
Hulshof hits on the main reason for the Republican decline over the past few years. The Republican party of today is a far cry from the Republican party that swept into the majority in Congress in 1994. After years of minority status, Republicans in 1994 were energized, driven, and dedicated to their conservative principles. By 2006, far too many had abandoned those principles, becoming the party of the status quo of simply maintaining power for the sake of maintaining power or, as Hulshof put it, "to get re-elected to hold on to power to get re-elected."
And it is that perception among other things that contributed to the massive Democratic victories in the midterm elections in 2006. Congressional Republicans hadn't proven that they deserved to keep their majority, so they lost it. That same negative perception of Republicans is no doubt playing a part in the expected expansion of Democratic majorities in the 2008 election cycle as well.
Kenny Hulshof's example is an exception to that trend. And in my opinion, the only hope for the GOP is for more Republicans to follow suit.