by David Bottomley

I grew up in a conservative family in Indiana. I have been a strong Republican growing up and I consider myself to be a champion of freedom and liberty. I became interested in politics in the 80s. My grandmother was always a strong supporter of the Grand Ole Party and I followed suit. Today I still consider myself to be a Rebpublican but I feel the GOP has gone astray slightly from it's bedrock principles of freedom. I am definitely a part of the movement in the party to return to Constitutional and Libertarian principles that the United States was based on and made the country what it has become today, as championed by Rand Paul, et. al.

I believe that Ronald Reagan is one of the greatest presidents this country has seen. His strong diplomatic stance coupled with his common sense approach to lean government made him a superb leader. He brought patriotism and the pride associated with being an American back into the forefront. He saw America as a shining city on a hill and he was not afraid to speak his mind. He helped to polarize what he saw in the world as wrong, and fought tooth and nail against it. He dubbed the USSR the "Evil Empire" and pitted the United States as their foe, in the good vs. evil battle for the world. Thanks to his superb leadership and a heartfelt belief in "peace through strength" via a strong military, he perservered. Today, in large part thanks to the strong-handed diplomacy of Ronald Reagan, we no longer face the threat of the Soviet Union, which I recall quite vividly as a child as an ever-looming threat.

The photo at left is of two of the most powerful people in the world in the 1980s- Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of Great Britain, both of whom I greatly admire. Through their united spirit and determination, they brought the Russian Bear to it's knees- militarily, economically, agriculturally, and industrially. It was only through concerted effort of powerful leaders such as Reagan and Thatcher that the greatest threat to the security of the free world since Adolph Hitler and the Third Reich was halted and systematically defeated without a single shot being fired. This is a truly incredible accomplishment, and one that many do not fully appreciate. I truly believe that Ronald Reagan came along at the right time in history to handle this threat in his unique way. If it were not handled correctly, it could have easily broken down into World War III and quite possibly the unleashing of nuclear weapons and the end of civilization as we know it.

He also did not tolerate terrorism or threats against the United States. When Quadaffi of Libya was commiting copious acts of violence against the US, Reagan responded by bombing Quadaffi's house. Needless to say, that silenced him, and in fact in 2001, he expressed great support for the United States' efforts in the War on Terrorism following the World Trade Center bombing.

Perhaps one of the most dramatic examples of Reagan's successes is the result of the 1979 terrorist action in Iran where 66 American Diplomats were taken hostage after Iranian Radicals seized the US embassy in Tehran, Iran after President Carter agreed to admit the Shah of Iran (former leader) into the US. Thirteen hostages were soon released, but the remaining 53 were held until their release on January 20, 1981. Amazingly enough, the same date, and in fact the same hour as Ronald Reagan's Presidential Innauguration. The terrorists did not want to unleash the wrath of President Reagan.

He also brought the country back from a terrible depression in the late 1970s when inflation was through the roof, and joblessness was rampant. Gas prices were also ridiculously high. He did this through a brilliant economic philosophy ultimately dubbed "Reaganonmics." Instead of raising taxes to increase government revenues, he believed that by reducing taxes and allowing American citizens to control more of their own money, that not only would the economy be stimulated through increased spending and investment, but also governement revenues would be increased in the long run by economic growth resulting in higher tax revenues with lower tax rates. It takes time, but it worked. Reagan believed wholehearedly that a small lean government best serves the people. Before Reagan, people lost hope in the American economic and political system. He restored that hope and pride in America, and at the same time defeated America's greatest enemy. Something no other President has done in the history of the nation.

George HW Bush did a good job of continuing the Reagan legacy of peace through strength, and he did not hinder the military in Desert Storm with political objectives as Johnson did in Vietnam. When Saddam Hussein decided to invade Iraq's helpless neighbor, Kuwait, in 1991 Bush did not hesitate to throw the complete backing of the United States behind the people and country of Kuwait, then organized an unprecedented coalition of nations to liberate Kuwait in the operation known as Desert Storm. I will never understand how Bush was defeated in 1992 by Bill Clinton, a chronic liar. I won't even begin to list the topics that I disagree with Clinton over. If I did this page would turn into volumes.

After eight long years of control of the White House by President Clinton and his liberal chronies, we returned the government to the Bush family in 2000; specifically George W. Bush, son of George Herbert Walker Bush. This victory was only gained after a fierce election battle between Al Gore and George Bush, climaxing in endless vote recounts in Florida. Gore simply did not want to concede the election even though he had clearly lost. While the election was close, there was no need for the endless vote recounts the democrats were insisting on. Finally, the Supreme Court had to put an end to the shenanigan. As you can clealy see from the below election map, President Bush won the support of 2,436 counties vs. Al Gore's 676 counties. What was interesting, was that the actual popular vote favored Al Gore, but thanks to the forethought of our wise founding fathers, the United States is a Republic (ie. representative government) and not a Democracy (ie. popular government), therefore they designed a sophisticaled Electoral College based on representatives and districts. We are fortunate to have this system, as a true Democracy is unstable, weak, and based on the whims of the populace, which vary widely and erratically and are very often NOT in the best interests of the country as a whole. While reviewing the map below, it is important to note the very clear distinction between urban voters and rural voters. Rural voters clearly support Bush and the Republican Party while urban voters tend to support the Democrat Party. Personally, I believe this is due to the large amount of urban voters who are dependent on the government for their survival and refuse to take responsibility for their own lives and destiny. Those who live in rural areas are typically more independent and are influenced less by government. They are also more likely to share the Christian values of our founding fathers and a belief in self-reliance and responsibility.

It goes without saying that I supported the re-election of George W Bush in 2004. I believe the military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq were necessary and that, on the whole, President Bush did a good job. I do not agree with some of the President's policies including expansion of Medicare (Part D), the extent of federal spending, or the bail-outs but as a whole President Bush did a good job while in office.

I reluctantly supported John McCain for President in 2008, and I was escpecially excited by his choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate. Frankly, I would have preferred that the ticket had been reversed and was Palin/McCain. Sarah Palin is an intelligent leader with far more extensive government leadership experience than their opponent Barack Obama. Palin had been a Mayor and Governor of Alaska- making revolutionary and necessary changes in her state whereas Barak Obama's only government experience was as a US Senator. He never ran anything, managed a business, or even created a job. In my opinion, Barak Obama was simply not qualified to be President, but alas, he won the 2008 election, and I was particularly disappointed that my state, Indiana, threw it's support behind Obama.

In 2012 I ultimately supported Romney/Ryan, but as in 2008, I would have much preferred that the party chosen a more conservative candidate who truly embraces the Constitution and libertarian principles. I am hopeful that we can do that in the form of Rand Paul or a similar personality in 2016.

I'll leave you now with some quotes from our great leaders:

"No arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women." - Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address, January 20, 1981.

"I hope you're all Republicans." - Ronald Reagan, To surgeons as he entered the operating room, March 30, 1981

"It is the Soviet Union that runs against the tide of history.... [It is] the march of freedom and democracy which will leave Marxism- Leninism on the ash heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people." - Ronald Reagan, Speech to Britain's Parliament, 1982

"Government is the people's business and every man, woman and child becomes a shareholder with the first penny of tax paid." - Ronald Reagan, Address to the New York City Partnership Association, January 14, 1982

"Government growing beyond our consent had become a lumbering giant, slamming shut the gates of opportunity, threatening to crush the very roots of our freedom. What brought America back? The American people brought us back -- with quiet courage and common sense; with undying faith that in this nation under God the future will be ours, for the future belongs to the free." - Ronald Reagan, State of the Union Address, February 4, 1986

"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it." - Ronald Reagan, Remarks to the White House Conference on Small Business, August 15, 1986

"Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" - Ronald Reagan, Speech near the Berlin Wall, 1987. Two years later, the wall came down.

"The years ahead will be great ones for our country, for the cause of freedom and the spread of civilization. The West will not contain Communism, it will transcend Communism. We will not bother to denounce it, we'll dismiss it as a sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages are even now being written." - Ronald Reagan, Notre Dame Univ., May 17, 1981

"Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward, and freedom itself will be defended" - George W. Bush, September 11, 2001 regarding the Terrorist Attack in NYC

"We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them." - George W. Bush, State of the Union Address regarding the War on Terror

"A world without nuclear weapons would be less stable and more dangerous for all of us ." - Margaret Thatcher

"I owe nothing to Women's Lib. ." - Margaret Thatcher

"I seem to smell the stench of appeasement in the air. " - Margaret Thatcher

"Unless we change our ways and our direction, our greatness as a nation will soon be a footnote in the history books, a distant memory of an offshore island, lost in the mists of time like Camelot, remembered kindly for its noble past. " - Margaret Thatcher, warning of the evils of socialism and what it would do to Great Britain

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