Sep 252006
Authors: Nick Hemenway

As we get closer and closer to the November elections, political ads begin to fill the airwaves. Perhaps the most infamous type is the dreaded attack ad.

I always take attack ads with a grain of salt because I know how easily information can be manipulated into something quite deceptive. Let me be the first to admit, both parties do this religiously.

What I hate about the whole situation is that at the end of the day, I don’t think voters are any more knowledgeable than before they saw all the ads. So that begs the question: What should I look for in a candidate? This is, after all, an opinion article, so allow me to tell you what I personally look for in the people I vote for.

If you don’t already know, I consider myself a strong conservative. Each issue I stand behind, I have deep-founded values that compel me to take such a stance. So for me, the first thing that I look for in a candidate is conviction.

Therefore, in addition to the basic conservative stances that I like in a candidate, they have to have the intestinal fortitude to actually do what they say they believe in.

To be completely honest, I’m disappointed in our current congress. Back in 2002 when the Republicans finally took control over the entire congress I was so excited. I envisioned a glorious turnaround in which we would cut spending, lower taxes, decrease the size of the government, privatize social security, etc.

Now here we are nearly four years later, and I can’t believe how little we have done in those areas, among others. So why is that? Conviction. Although there are a majority of Republicans in congress, we don’t have enough Republicans who will stand up for what they say they believe in, whether it’s popular or not.

So who is an example of what this looks like? Ronald Reagan. In sticking to what he believes during his eight years in congress, he not only had a huge effect on our own country, he also affected the world. Reagan knew that penalizing success with taxes was wrong on a moral and financial level. What was the result? Government revenue nearly doubled during his two terms.

Reagan knew that the Cold War must end, along with Communism. He stood his ground. What happened then? Gorbachev listened to him and tore down the Berlin Wall. When I was at a leadership conference in Washington, D.C., a couple of years ago, then Attorney General John Ashcroft told us that true leaders boldly lead the masses with conviction. They don’t idly sit by and see where the masses go, then jump in the picture to take credit.

It is this kind of conviction that I crave in politicians. I believe there are still people out there that embody this. In fact, two of them are right here in Colorado. I’m talking about Tom Tancredo and Marilyn Musgrave. Not only do their views align with mine, they aren’t afraid to act on what they believe.

Tancredo has been an outspoken proponent of dramatic immigration reform and border security. Musgrave has led the cause to protect the institution of marriage. Their opponents attack them with endless virulence, but they didn’t back down. That’s how I wish every Republican in congress reacted to political pressure, because if they did I think much more progress would have been made in the past four years. So let’s hope that the next Ronald Reagan is on the ballot this November.

Nick Hemenway is a senior mechanical engineering major. His column appears occasionally in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to

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