YOUNG GUNS: The Leader, the Thinker & the Strategist

By John R Parkinson

Sep 14, 2010 12:32pm

ABC News’ John R. Parkinson reports

The manifesto is called Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders,” and the authors are Reps. Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy and Paul Ryan. In it the Republican leaders set the path forward for the Republican agenda heading into this November’s midterm Congressional elections, pledging a return to the principles and values that convinced Americans to elect a Republican majority in 1994.

In the new 192-page paperback, released today, the trio admits that the Republican Party that was creamed in the 2006 and 2008 elections had turned its back on its bedrock principles like economic freedom and limited government. Once Republicans had won control of the House in the ’94 midterms, Cantor, the current Minority Whip, contends that the party’s entrenched became obsessed with solidifying the GOP machine, and it only resulted in a spending spree and a betrayal of the people's trust.

 “We’ve seen both parties ignore the needs of Americans while they concentrate on doing favors for the special interests that get them reelected,” Cantor writes. “We just believe that our party has at times lost sight of the things we believe in, ideas like economic freedom, limited government, the sanctity of life, and putting families first. America needs new leaders with new solutions for the challenges we face.”

Cantor, who was elected from Richmond, Va. in 2000, leads 98 members in the House Republicans Young Guns. Should Republicans regain the majority in the House, Cantor’s aides maintain he would not challenge Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, for Speaker, but would be perfectly content with the Majority Leader post.

Boehner has recently increased his own public persona, previewing for reporters what the House would look like under “Speaker Boehner” and delivering major speeches outlining his own vision of the GOP’s agenda, the economy and Iraq during the August recess.

Although Boehner is himself a member of the Young Guns, he is only mentioned in passing three times throughout the book. Cantor is tapped as “the leader” and future House Speaker, McCarthy as the “strategist” and a future majority leader, and Ryan as “the thinker."

With Boehner’s apparent gaffe Sunday suggesting he’d settle for a partial extension of the Bush tax cuts, which are set to expire January 1, Republicans are working against the grain to portray party unity in the face of any tax increases, including those for individuals making more than $200,000 and $250,000 for families.

In the book, Cantor takes dead aim at the House Democrat leadership, writing that as voters prepare to head to the polls this November, it’s the Democrats who have failed to deliver on the promises that brought them to power in 2008.

“Americans bet on hope and change in 2008, but it hasn’t worked out as promised. That doesn’t mean, however, that the voters will automatically turn around and put their money on the other party. The need for a change in direction is urgent, but Americans are tired of gambling on soaring rhetoric and unfulfilled promises. They’re feeling played by Washington,” Cantor writes. “The Democrats who control Congress, like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., are the most liberal of the liberal – way to the left of the American people and more liberal, even, than the Democratic rank and file.”

“We are a new generation of Republican leaders eager to put our past sins behind us,” Cantor added. “We pledge to stand on principle, to lead as adults and – most of all – to serve as responsible stewards of the public trust by listening to the American people.”

Ryan, a six-term congressman from Janesville, Wisconsin and the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, proposed earlier this year a $1.3 trillion dollar package of budget cuts over the next decade. In “Young Guns,” he calls for the privatization of parts of Social Security accounts into personal investment accounts and details his Roadmap for America’s Future, which proposes to shift “power to individuals at the expense of government control.”

“Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, three giant entitlements, are out of control,” Ryan writes. “[The Roadmap] rejects cradle-to-grave welfare state ideas because they drain individuals of their self-reliance. And it still honors our historic commitment to strengthening the social safety net for those who need it most.”

McCarthy, R-Calif., is painted as the strategic mind of the House Republicans Young Guns. The Chief Deputy Whip from San Joaquin Vally, California calls on the party to improve legislative transparency and embrace technology and social networking like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to improve direct communications between the people and the government.

“If our constituents are using these tools to communicate and to receive information, why shouldn’t Congress use them to stay in touch? Congress should be as open and transparent as possible, and adapt to changing times in order to engage with all Americans,” McCarthy said.

 “The world is changing and Republicans are changing with it,” he added. “Eric, Paul and I are determined that the GOP be the part of innovation and new ideas in both policy and technology.”

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