Opinion and Forefront

SWAYZE: Conservative resolutions for the New Year

December 24, 2011

Sue SwayzeTwenty-twelve isn’t just any new year. It will be a historic election year. Will we unseat a president or a Congress with the lowest poll ratings in generations? Will the Occupy, Tea Party and other movements make an impact in their replacements?

In Indiana, will voters hold true to their 2010 conservative push and keep Indiana with Republican leadership all-around, or will Hoosiers react to the cries of crumbling institutions as they fall prey to innovation and accountability and give the reins over to Democrats to lead?

We’re truly at a crossroads, not just with sticky economic policy considerations and social issues that overwhelm our senses, but with our own keen interests and understanding of how we’ve let things slide. How we need significant “hope and change” and we need it now. It appears to me that we are pining—maybe even angry—for the need to return to discipline, efficiency, accountability and, yes, even a return to morality as a rationale for decisions in the public square.

The last few years have been a Hoosier conservative’s dream … and nightmare. At the national level, the president and then-Democratically controlled House and Senate took the country in a direction that made conservatives crazy in the head: more debt, more government intrusion in our lives, and certainly less moral considerations on social issues and the like. We lost considerable ground.

The 2010 interim election brought a strongly conservative U.S. House and an insanely close Senate but, alas, Democrats still hold the cards and, ultimately, the veto.

In Indiana, however, I’ve had to pinch myself during the Daniels years, as well as the first year of the current House and Senate terms. Conservatives are back and making up for lost time. We’re bringing back fiscal restraint (uhm, maybe a bit more attention to bookkeeping?), moral bright lines, and customer service through a return to quality education in the schools.

I’m ever reminded of Gov. Daniels’ early decision to close some license branches after a thorough assessment of customer base and usage patterns. Not popular among the politicians! But oh, so informed and decisive.

I’ve told Speaker Brian Bosma that I’m impressed with both his and Senate President Long’s decisive leadership on the right-to-work issue. Regardless of what side you are on, you can’t argue that they are clear about their intentions and in charge.

So what else are we, as conservatives, clear about?

In honor of the new year and of my desire for continued conservative leadership on behalf of my beloved state, here are six New Year’s resolutions that would make the new year bright:

1. Lose wait. Insist on quick turnaround for poor school performance. Following procedure is important, but our kids can’t wait.

2. Stop smoking-ban bills and let the marketplace dictate.

3. Get (un)organized. No one should have to join a union if they don’t wish to and unions should respect that.

4. Encourage marriage. Help moms and dads stay together—it really does affect the kids on many levels.

5. Zero tolerance for special interests seeking political gain through truly sad cases of children treating other children badly. “Bullying” is not a new phenomenon. Redefining “bullying” to silence opposition to sexual immorality is.

6. Save lives. Women go into abortion clinics because they don’t want to have babies. One life is taken, one life is changed forever.

Of course, this is just a short list. No need to start my own website in order to outline all the ways conservative principles can save the country and our state. Mike Pence will cover these and more with his upcoming exciting campaign to lead our state on conservative principles and value. But I digress.

Lots of things are out of whack, and conservatives and liberals are (finally) coming to terms with the need to pull back on spending and tighten personal responsibility in social policies. In the new year, with strong leadership, we can do just that.•

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Swayze leads the Indiana Family Institute’s Hoosier Congressional Policy Leadership Series and has held numerous lobbying positions with not-for-profit organizations. Send comments on this column to ibjedit@ibj.com.

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