An exclusive interview with a conservative candidate for US Senate:
Who should Conservatives support for the Colorado seat for US Senate? There are a number of candidates, all of whom have received little attention outside of their supporters. And while the GOP promises to present a number of “conservative” candidates, their hallow promises of the past haunt their choice with skepticism and baggage. One candidate that may prove to be the true conservative in the race is Cleve Tidwell. His background in business (large and small, foreign and domestic), the Marine Corps, and his unusual political tactic of actually speaking to the people directly (gasp) has drawn a fair amount of attention in certain circles.
Cleve Tidwell is one of the Republican candidates seeking a US Senate seat from Colorado. He is not a politician, though he has devoted his time and energy to push such issues as transparency in the State Capital. For the first six months of his campaign he toured the state and listened to what people wanted from their elected officials. “I wanted to know that I was the right person. I wanted to confirm that conservative values are still very much a part of this state,” he remarked, as we settled down for the interview. In a recent speech that lasted much longer than he had originally anticipated, he never once referred to himself as a conservative. Rather, he told me, he felt he should let his values and his direction speak for itself. It was refreshing to see a candidate so confident in his beliefs that he allowed others to draw their own conclusions.
As a strong proponent of the tea party movement, Tidwell understands the resentment towards much of the Republican Party. “The truth is,” he explained, “The Republicans did not stand up enough for fiscal responsibility in the past.” He continued to explain that the Party, in the past, has failed to identify the crises that faced America. I asked him if he felt the GOP was now doing enough to resist the passage of healthcare reform. “They’ve simply been shutout too much,” he remarked. And he is right. The final deliberations on the House and Senate versions are happening behind closed doors. Many of the GOP proposals and arguments have been censored and restricted by the majority Party in both Houses. But Cleve Tidwell refused to give a pass on the actions that led the country to this moment in history. He explained that the Republican Party has too often strayed from the conservative principles upon which it was founded. “We will not have done enough until it is defeated,” he added.
However, he has hope as the 2010 elections near. He explained that both the people, and much of the Party, seem to be realizing what is at stake as the current administration pushes it’s liberal (if not at times outright socialist) agenda. “We have more than just an election to lose,” Cleve warned, “What we’ve got to lose, is our country.” And maybe this is the most marketable aspect of Cleve Tidwell. Unlike many of his opponents, Tidwell has toured the state, from an early stage, at breakneck speed. With over 665 events already under his belt, and no sign of slowing down, his passion for getting to know people is refreshing in the age of “invite-only” town hall meetings and closed door negotiations. He understands the people, and he understands the threats we face from Washington. He expanded by saying that, “When we keep putting the same type of people in office, we should expect to get the same results.”
When the GOP has nominated liberal Republicans, they tend to lose. When the country elects left-leaning entitlement-promising liberals, fiscal responsibility becomes a joke. Tidwell is a fresh face in a world of backroom deals and manipulative politics. He fought for transparency and accountability in Colorado, and promises to bring that same philosophy to Washington. “I am not going to Washington to make friends,” he laughed when I mentioned his honesty would surely make him enemies on the hill.
I asked how his fight for liberty might change if Obamacare does indeed pass. (It was an unpleasant thing to imagine.) He explained that the fight for traditional American values, the fight for liberty and transparency, are fights that are bigger than Healthcare alone. Washington has been pulling this nation left for some time, he explained. The passage of the Democrat’s healthcare reform would give birth to countless (somewhere in the ball park of 110) new bureaucracies. Each bureaucracy would have its own leverage and its own pull in Washington. The task of dismantling and reversing such a massive expansion of government would be daunting. “But it’s not about just stopping, or reversing healthcare reform,” he explained, “It is about returning conservative values to the system as a whole.” He explained the fight for liberty would not really change. It would instead, be broadened. Without saying as much, he echoed the sentiments of much of the conservative and libertarian voting bloc. Government has been over-reaching. They are over-reaching. And, now, they are trying to reach even further. It must be stopped, and repealed.
Cleve Tidwell is a value driven candidate. He believes in the power of freedom, the power of economic liberty, and the righteousness of the American dream. With his understanding of political science, and his staunch support of responsible limited governance, he is a truly attractive candidate for the Republican ticket.
Conservative and fiscally responsible traits are far more important this year than the R or D in front of a candidate’ name. I asked Cleve what the average concerned citizen can do in today’s world to help advance the great object of Liberty. His answer spoke to his character; for never once did he appeal for a vote, or a free advertisement:
“What you are doing now is great. Talk to the candidates. Visit think-tanks, and pro-liberty groups like the tea parties. But most importantly, get involved from an early stage. Take part in the caucus or the primaries. Learn about the candidates. Don’t just vote for who your neighbor tells you to, or who your spouse tells you to.” And he is right. If candidates are hesitant to talk to the public, nothing will change when they get in office. Think-tanks, like the Independent Institute or Americans for prosperity, are great forces for liberty in this state. Find them, and help them. And, don’t be afraid to help influence the direction of the Party. Party leadership is only as conservative as the people that are active within the party; so take part in the caucus or ask to be a delegate.
Ultimately, no candidate will have the ability to stop the tide of tyranny in this country, for they are not the final arbitrators of our freedom. We the people are the forces behind change. We the people are the ultimate custodians of our liberty. My talk with Cleve reminded me of a quote by Thomas Jefferson: “Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.”
Don’t be timid.
To receive Michael’s articles in your email as soon as they are published choose the “subscribe” option near the top of this article. For more information, or to contact Michael, please visit www.conservativeproject.com.