When Ronald Reagan spoke to the British House of Commons, his speech showed a marked contrast with his predecessors. It was no longer enough to declare onself anti-communist, as such a hollow strategy allowed authoritarianism to reign so long as the leader declared himself an American ally. We had to be for something, for democracy.
In the same vein, Reagan acolyte Karen Handel, a Senate candidate from Georgia seeking to make history (no woman has been elected to the Senate or Governor Mansion from the Peach State) announced what she was in favor of, not just what she was against, in her talk to the students and community of LaGrange College.
“In 1994, Republicans defeated ‘Hillarycare,'” she told the mixed audience of Republicans, Democrats and Independents. “Then we delayed…we did nothing afterwards.”
Handel, the former Secretary of State, one of the few women ever elected to statewide office in Georgia, went on to call for removing the mandate from the Affordable Care Act, supporting Health Savings Accounts, and calling for tax free savings for health care.
She supported younger people being allowed to stay on their parents’ policy until they were 26, allowing people to purchase insurance across state lines, and being able to join high risk pools. She also sought to find ways to end pressure to practice “defensive medicine.”
“You’ll have an estimated 12 to 15 employers in your lifetime,” Handel told the college students. “Your health care should be tied to you, not your employer.”
When it came to the Federal Budget, she supported a one percent cut for six years in a row. “In dollar terms, it would be a big number, but in six years, it would balance the budget.”
She also recognized that cutting spending alone would not be enough. “We can’t cut our way out of this crisis,” she admitted. She went on to point out that America had not had real tax reform since 1986.
“We have the highest corporate tax rate in the world,” Handel claimed. “Our regulations are costing us almost the equivalent of the Canadian economy. How can we become competitive with this? There’s a lot of cash sitting on the sidelines that needs to be put into the economy.”
Handel was channeling Ronald Reagan, the first person she ever claimed she voted for. “He told us that our best days were ahead of us, not behind us,” she concluded. And those words may be prophetic. After the talk, a campaign staffer told her that she had moved into second place in the primary polls, merely a percentage point behind the front-runner David Perdue, a Georgia businessman, staying ahead of three Congressmen: Jack Kingston, Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun.
In 2010, Handel finished first in the primary for Georgia Governor, and lost the runoff by an eyelash to Nathan Deal.
Of course, there’s still at least two weeks left before Georgia’s primary, but early voting has already begun. Moreover, if no candidate gets 50 percent (Perdue has 21 percent) then a runoff between the top two will decide who faces another woman seeking to make Georgia history: Michelle Nunn, daughter of legendary Georgia Senator Sam Nunn.