As more and more Americans begin to wake up with each passing day from their politically-imposed fog, seemingly the past century of our history–much of which has been carefully shielded from the general populace and re-shaped with a precision that would make a master craftsman beam with pride–has come rushing back all at once.
In all honesty, it’s quite a bit to sort out, process and make sense of. There are suddenly many Americans looking around, wondering how and why they’ve been robbed of their birthright of freedom to make of their own lives whatever they wish.
To that end, many Americans have begun reading about this lost century and the actual reasons that the greatest republic in the history of man was allowed to jump the rails. One of the books that seems to have become nearly “required” reading is The 5,000-Year Leap: A Miracle that Changed the World by W. Cleon Skousen, the thrust of which explains the manner in which a collection of British colonies and their citizens evolved from a people whose lifestyle wasn’t all that markedly dissimilar in its everyday realities from 13th or 14th century Europe to a civilization that put a man on the moon.
In short, as a direct result of the comet-like brilliance of a small group of men, one country was able to be the vanguard in ushering humanity across what would have otherwise been thousands of years of progress in fewer than 250 years. One of the principles that this book discusses? The power of individual freedom and the free market. Unfortunately, this progress is now threatened by those who would merely stop at power as an end in and of itself.
As part of the ongoing series of interviews here at AR, we present Liz Carter, a common-sense, business-minded conservative who understands full well the power of the free market and the economic growth that naturally comes from it. She is currently running for the Republican nomination in Georgia’s 4th District against Cory Ruth and Larry Gause. Mrs. Carter recently took some time out for America’s Right.
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America’s Right: Before we get into any specific issues, I’d be willing to bet that the people at America’s Right would love to hear some of your background and how it impacted your decision to run for Congress.
Liz Carter: Absolutely. I have been working in corporate America for the past 18 years, and during the last four-and-a-half or five of those, I have also run and operated my own business, a consulting firm that works with companies after they’ve received funding to help build their board of directors, to work with them on IPO plans and acquisitions, or simply if they just want to grow. It’s become evident over the course of the past four years that this Congress is pretty much determined to put the emergency brake on our economy. The current business model seems to be to punish personal success, which obviously is a major problem, as over 70 percent of our employment opportunities come from small businesses. These small businesses are the backbone of America. This administration, however, seems to have a complete disregard for what needs to take place in the market for our economy to turn around.
As a result, I became very frustrated that we began to borrow and spend and to think that we could regulate ourselves out of a recession, instead of looking at the most important economic factors that were actually the source of the problem. The most glaring problem right now is that today’s business leaders have no way of knowing whether they’re going to be taxed in six, 12, or 18 months because of all the garbage that’s coming out of this Congress. Look at the current state of the health care deliberations and all the ancillary back-room deals. I’ve actually read the House and Senate bills, in addition to President Obama’s proposal, and it is completely unclear as to who, exactly, will be taxed and when. We know that our taxes are going to increase, but it is completely unclear as to when and what the exact nature of the benefits will be. I personally believe that the reason for this craziness is that less than 10 percent of the current congressional leadership have ever owned or operated their own company.
AR: The most ironic part of what you say may be this — those on the political left will constantly complain about big businesses, monopolies, and profits, but what they can’t see right in front of their face is that the federal government has become the biggest business and monopoly in the country.
LC: That’s correct. Couple that with the fact the government has never produced anything positive in the marketplace, and you have a major problem. Even stranger in this scenario is that when the government puts jobs out to bid, the job is supposed to go to the lowest bidder, which is the essence of competition to begin with. So put this entire picture together — the lowest bidder in a government-run health care scenario? Is that what we want? Do people truly expect quality medical care to emerge from that?
There’s just a plain-and-simple gap in common sense in this Congress. Not every person in the Congress lacks common sense; that’s obvious. There are some very good leaders in there as well. There simply are not enough of them. There are several of them who truly understand and believe in conservative values and who are fiscally responsible, but there are too many who don’t get it. I became very frustrated last year when I realized that my congressman represented none of my values. He does not possess a clear understanding of economics, business, or conservatism, and being fiscally responsible. The only thing that he has clearly demonstrated is that he’s a Pelosi-Reid puppet. He’s also given some fairly racially-motivated speeches, but it’s just so clear that the people of this country have had enough of this nonsense.
It’s actually quite rude and disrespectful. It’s time for this country to really, truly change. So, I sat down with my husband and other business leaders in the community and said, “You know what? I’m going to run. It’s time for Congressman (Hank) Johnston to go.” He’s the gentleman who stood up and spoke out in a rather disrespectful manner after Joe Wilson had his outburst during President Obama’s speech.
AR: Alright, let’s move on to the next question. As an administrator in an all-boys’ Catholic high school and having been an educator for roughly the past two decades, I’ve obviously interacted with our young people and their families many, many times. I mention this because it seems to me that roughly during that period of time, the term “conservative” has been demonized. Those on the political left will claim that no one should “stereotype or pre-judge” people , yet they’ll be the first ones to stereotype and pre-judge those who claim to be a conservative–fiscal or social–as being resistant to change, a war-monger, selfish and simply mean-spirited. My question for you, therefore, is how do you define what it means to be a core conservative?
LC: That’s a very good question, because you are so correct. A core conservative is a person who is not only fiscally responsible but also continues to reflect upon that for which our forefathers fought — our natural rights, representation for all people, and a Constitution of limited government and all of its amendments. To me, a conservative is a person who does not seek to create entitlement programs that actually suppress people but is one who works for creative opportunity and prosperity for all people.
AR: If I remember correctly, it was Benjamin Franklin who said that if you want to solve the problem of poverty, make people uncomfortable in their poverty and motivate them to work for themselves, rather than enabling them.
LC: Right. If you look at these entitlement programs, it’s really so sad to see the frightening truth behind them — the only people that they help are the people who create and serve up the programs and have their pockets lined. The people enrolled in these programs do not see the truth to the programs, however, and are actually being suppressed, having their opportunities taken away from them, and find it more and more difficult to break free from that cycle. All these Democrats are doing is creating a legacy of dependency. It’s so sad to see congressional leaders who are so consumed with power that they would rather have their constituents dependent on them, rather than the way it’s supposed to be.
AR: Those, of course, are the Democrats. You’re running as a Republican. Please characterize or explain what seems to be the divide that currently exists between the mainstream Republican Party and the resurgent conservatism that we’re beginning to see throughout the country.
LC: The sad thing in this case is that if we look back over the years, it would seem to be the case that the Republicans were in control for quite some time but managed to mess things up. They’ve continued to spend and as a result, what we now see is that people are beginning to understand that it’s not so much about party as it is about values and real representation. So, we’ve got bad apples on both sides of the aisle that should no longer be serving in Congress. These leaders now seem to believe that they’re entitled to do as they wish and have lost sight that they represent the people. That’s where I feel the divide truly exists. It’s greed and power on one hand, and a true servant’s attitude of respect on the other. I mean, look at the sheer difference between what our Congress is supposed to be and what it currently is. Our Congress has less than a 20 percent approval rating.
Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, or Independent, you have the right to be represented at all levels of government. There are too many who have gone to the highest level of our government, placed themselves in ivory towers and assumed the “I know better than you” outlook, and have failed to listen to and address the concerns of the people who put them there in the first place. The Republican party is shaken; they’re being told in no uncertain terms that they must get back to the basics and return to their core values.
AR: Sometimes I think that in order to truly turn this thing around, congressional leaders who truly care about the future direction of this country need to take all the legislation that has been passed over the course of the past century, spread it all out on a table, and ask, “How did this get across the desk? Who did this?”
LC: Absolutely. When I’m out campaigning and speaking with the people, the simplest question that is sometimes asked of me is, “How are you going to do it?” When I was in corporate America running a multi-million dollar business, one of the first things I did was to freeze spending. Except for mission-critical things like electricity and such, we’d freeze all spending in difficult times. That’s what the government now has to do — freeze congressional spending, do a complete audit in which the redundancies are identified, and begin to cut drastically across departments because I can assure you, there isn’t anyone in DC who has 100% certainty where every penny goes. This must be done.
AR: Have you heard anything that might substantiate the rumor that Bill Clinton and James Carville are working to undermine the Tea Party movement?
LC: There are a lot of rumors out there, and what I’m about to say might not be popular, but while the Tea Party is organized to an extent I don’t think that it’s organized enough. For people to be able to target and launch an attack of sorts on such-and-such a leader, they need to be able to know for sure that they have the right person. Who is the leader of the Tea Party? There are so many different organizations within the Tea Party that I don’t think the movement as a whole can be adversely affected.
AR: So you believe that whatever fragmentation that exists in the Tea Party is actually a strength rather than a weakness?
AR: That’s interesting, because when I interviewed Les Phillip, a congressional candidate currently running in Alabama’s fifth congressional district, he said that he wouldn’t be surprised if Clinton and Carville tried something like that, and further, he said that if he were on the other side–the Progressive left–that’s what he’d try to do. He seems to think that the fractures would be more of a weakness. Les thinks that the Progressives probably don’t see the Republicans as a threat anymore, because the mainstream Republicans more or less try to appease the moderates. He thinks that they probably see the conservative movement as more of a threat, and because it’s not as organized, it would probably be easier to infiltrate.
LC: I have to respectfully disagree. It’s easier to attack the RNC because it’s very organized. Attacking an organization with multiple leaders within different factions that share basically the same values, but not necessarily all, would be more difficult to crack, I would think. There are groups like Freedom Works and the Patriot Movement, groups with slight differences but in the end all come together. I would think that it would be more difficult to tear down something that you don’t completely understand as well as something with multiple targets. From my way of thinking, the Tea Party is fairly strategic warfare, because there’s no way of knowing where they’re going to come from, what issue is going to raise its head, and where they’re going to rally. To me, that’s pretty hard to attack, rather than something that is founded on a traditional platform such as the Republican and Democratic parties. The funny part about this is that for years we’ve had to deal with far-left political groups that seemingly pop up from nowhere and force us to deal with them, organizations that then disappear and re-emerge under a different name. The Tea Party seems to be the conservative answer to the political left’s tactics.
Let me say this, though: I truly love the Tea Party movement. It’s such a fantastic thing that the American people are releasing their energy and telling the government that they’ve had enough. They’re not necessarily Republicans, or Democrats, or Independents; they’re just people who love their country and who are tired of being overtaxed.
AR: Let me ask you this, and admittedly, this may be a question with too broad a stroke. What do you think the ultimate goals are of the political left and the Obama White House?
LC: Power. In my heart, I really think it’s power, in that they’d like to create a citizenry that is dependent upon the government and would be basically enslaved to the Democratic Party.
AR: When you say “power” in that context, do you mean communism?
LC: That’s a very hard question to answer. Do I think that this administration is promoting communism? I pray that it is not. I can’t even fathom that we would have a President of this great country that would want to trend that way. Are some of his ideas and the legislation that’s being carried out – socialist in nature? You know, if you read the definitions and so forth, it is what it is. More importantly, I feel that they’re ideas that have been tried and have failed many times in the past, and that these people do not have a true understanding of business.
AR: The thing that amazes me, as well as many common-sense people, is that this all comes back to basic math. For whatever reason, they can’t seem to figure this out.
LC: I don’t think they want to figure it out. You know, he did talk about a fundamental change of this country; the people were swept up in that message of change and hope. I don’t think what he’s pushing is actually change of any sort. I think that the people were looking for a smaller, less-intrusive government. The people want to be able to govern themselves, and that is not what’s being pushed. We’ve got to have leaders who stand up and say, “enough is enough; stop spending our children’s future, it’s morally wrong. Secure our borders, make our nation safe, respect our troops. Don’t give rights to those who want to leave our blood on our own soil.”
AR: We’ve been talking about the nature of the policies coming out of this White House, and you feel that they’re ideas that simply don’t work. If we were going to narrow their core program down to four things — health care, cap and trade, amnesty, and the stimulus packages, do you feel as though the elections in New Jersey, Virginia, and Massachusetts were a referendum on these policies?
LC: Absolutely. I lived in Massachusetts for some time, and it was shocking to see what happened up there, to see Senator Scott Brown win “The People’s Seat.” This isn’t about popularity; a couple of bad decisions and ratings drop. The message that came from these three elections was clear: Stop doing what you’re doing. Stop spending. Stop meddling and getting involved in every aspect of the public sector. For example, it’s wrong when we have our government choosing CEO’s of major companies. It’s wrong when we own close to 60% of the automobile manufacturers and then pull in Toyota and put them through the wringer on a defect. Was Toyota wrong? Yes. But was part of the motivation for grilling them because we now own GM? We’re no longer operating fairly. The government can’t be involved in the private sector. That’s cheating.
AR: How do you feel about all of these mass defections and retirements that we’re seeing in the Democratic party? What does it say about the party as a whole?
LC: They’re in trouble, even financially. President Obama has now called back his campaign manager and team and has announced that he is going to oversee all the elections and watch to make sure that they don’t lose control. The American people, however, have said, “Forget it. We screwed up.” We need balance. There has to be balance, and I think that some of the Democrats are now stepping forward and retiring, because this is getting really ugly. They know that they’re going to face incredibly heated elections. Even in just my district, Georgia-4, we’ve never had a Republican invested with the ability to win for the past twenty years. It has been a very Democratically-dominated district. We now have Hank Johnston, but now even the Democrats are saying enough is enough. It’s not going to be a good election year for incumbents generally, and it’s especially not going to be a good year for incumbents with a “D” attached to their name.
AR: Do you feel as though health care will pass? [NOTE: John Feeny sent this interview to me before the Sunday vote. It's my own darned fault for not getting it published beforehand, but rather than pull the question, I thought I'd keep it, as Ms. Carter's answer and the ensuing line of questions were both very nicely done. My apologies all around. -- Jeff]
LC: My gut tells me that it won’t, and I pray every night that I’m right. They’re going to push for reconciliation to try to get it done. There’s even a freshman congressman from New York that’s now coming out and claiming that he’s being bullied by this administration. He apparently wants to vote “no” on health care, but they’re pressuring him to vote “yes.” We’re going to see some crazy stuff. It’s going to become incredibly heated. It obviously would be a lot more wise to take smaller steps rather than this giant bill. It’s really stupid to think that a bill of this magnitude can be implemented by the government.
For them not to step back, to take their #1 priority off the table, and to rather work on #2, #3, and #4 — from the perspective of someone who has come from the business world, it’s beyond comprehension.
AR: Yes, I remember Obama saying that he was going to go line-by-line with a “scalpel” rather than a “sledgehammer,” but that’s exactly what he’s been wielding over the heads of the American people since the day he stepped into office.
LC: That’s absolutely correct.
AR: Do you think that the United States can still be repaired?
LC: I do, I really do. A lot of people ask me that very question, simply because they’ve kind of given up. In fact, I just recently talked to a friend of mine that is very well off, and he told me that he feels like moving to Costa Rica. That really took me by surprise. The point is, however, that this is an example that shows us that this is the time to get involved. It’s not too late. If we take one dollar from every one hundred that we spend in every department, we can balance the budget and get back to where we need to be in less than ten years.
It is going to take an incredible amount of will power and strength from the people that we elect this year and next, because we are going to have to not only take on the spending issue but we’re going to have to eliminate a lot of these policies that should not exist. That includes health care, cap and trade, amnesty, and all these things currently being considered. We’re going to have to look at all of them – social security, medicaid, medicare, – look at when they were created, and whether they can be made effective and efficient. Some of them haven’t been changed in decades.
AR: Admittedly, I’m not altogether familiar with Georgia’s fourth congressional district. What types of region-specific issues are you facing down there, and how do you plan to help?
LC: I think that one of the biggest issues in District 4–there are two which should be addressed immediately–is education. We’ve been in decline for years, and it’s time for the federal government to get out of education. We’ve got to push this down to the state and local levels so that we can actually educate and motivate our kids.
The second one is illegal immigration. We have more lost jobs and declining wages in District 4 because there are so many illegal immigrants taking jobs. Congressman Johnston is voting for and pushing for amnesty for over 30 million illegal aliens who have not gone through the process, who do not pay any taxes, and who are taking jobs away from his constituents.
AR: As education is concerned, there’s no doubt that the unions have outlived their usefulness.
AR: Here’s something I don’t understand — why do we need unions, when we already have labor laws in place?
LC: Well, even more to the point — look at what unions have done to Detroit. The union leaders have lined their pockets and head out to country clubs, but not the union members. Then there’s “Card Check” and the “Employee Free Choice Act,” or rather what should be called the “Employee No Choice Act.” This is bad legislation. It’s all meant to serve the interests of the union aristocracy. Unless we begin to move back toward the basic principles of basic competition, we won’t be able to motivate our future generations of workers and to turn this economy around.
AR: Well, that pretty much wraps up our time. Mrs. Carter, thank you for taking time for America’s Right, good luck in your campaign, and we hope to hear from you in the future.
LC: Thank you very much.
For more information on Liz Carter and her campaign, visit lizcarterforcongress.com