Beating around the Bush?

By Tony Perkins

It shouldn’t surprise anyone — including the media — that conservative leaders are talking to each other about the 2016 presidential cycle and what it’ll take to win (which history tells us is a conservative Republican). In the last two presidential elections, the GOP has nominated a moderate only to lose the general election. As my friend Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia’s former attorney general, has pointed out: Since Barry Goldwater, 100% of the Republican nominees for President who have run on a platform of true conservatism have won. And 100% of Republican nominees for President who have not run as a conservative have lost.

These ongoing conversations among conservatives were the subject of a front-page New York Times article today, which suggested that our movement is organizing against Governor Jeb Bush. While I can’t speak for everyone, I am not against Jeb. In fact, I’ve met with him, and there are several things I like about him. That said, what I’m looking for in a candidate is someone with the courage and the credentials who can and will pull the country back from the brink.

After two terms of what history will likely record as America’s worst President, we don’t need a Republican who will just babysit America’s demise. We need a conservative leader who has the courage to act and undo what this administration has done. We need a leader who will not apologize for America’s exceptionalism, but embrace the source of it. And we need a leader who will contend with those in far away places trying to kill people because of their religion — while also contending with those here at home who want to kill the freedom of religion. In this year’s field, there is reason for optimism in the number of strong conservative candidates. But history has shown that if a candidate doesn’t have a record of conservatism — and won’t campaign as a conservative — then they aren’t a conservative.

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In the meantime, I have made myself available to all of the presidential contenders in hopes of helping them better understand the problems and solutions facing our families and freedoms. Again, my intentions are to come to a point where I will support the right candidate at the right time. Will that be Jeb Bush? I don’t know. But I do know that we share a mutual respect, a love for our country, and a desire to unite America behind a courageous man or woman who can repair the damage done by this administration and restore our faith in government.

Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based FRC Action. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.

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