Boehner and Obama talk retirement in comedy sketch
WASHINGTON – First, conservatives revolted against former House Speaker John Boehner and forced him out of Congress.
Now, conservatives in Boehner’s home district are poised to replace him with one of their own.
Voters in Ohio’s eighth district, bordering both Cincinnati and Dayton, had their pick of 15 Republicans in a special election primary, including a pair of state senators.
Voters were represented for 25 years by the ultimate insider in Boehner, a professional politician who clawed his way to the top and wielded tremendous influence, so why would they choose to replace him with a complete unknown?
Meet Warren Davidson.
The native Ohioan is a self-made man with a distinguished and diverse background. He served as an enlisted soldier with such distinction he earned admission to West Point, where he majored in American history and minored in mechanical engineering. He went on to become a captain in the elite U.S. Army Rangers, then earned an MBA degree from the University of Notre Dame, graduating with honors.
After Davidson came back home to Troy, Ohio, he transformed his father’s manufacturing business from one company with 20 employees into multiple companies with 200 employees.
He is now considered a sure bet to win the June 7 special election in the heavily Republican district, and to serve in the House for the remainder of the year. Davidson is also the heavy favorite to win the regular congressional election in November, and serve a regular two-year term. Ohio’s eighth district has been unrepresented in Congress since Boehner stepped down on Oct. 31, 2015.
Davidson’s sudden ascent all began as a practically accidental candidacy.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, can take credit for “discovering” Davidson, although it wasn’t on purpose.
The lawmaker is the chair of the conservative group of members in the House Freedom Caucus, which was instrumental in pressuring Boehner to resign. Jordan represents Ohio’s fourth district, adjacent to the eighth, and had no intention of seeking a replacement for Boehner.
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Jordan had never met Davidson, but a staff member thought the successful businessman might be inclined to contribute to the House Freedom Fund, the political action committee for the Freedom Caucus.
“We went to visit him back in the late fall as a successful business guy just outside our district,” Jordan told WND. “We hit it off and got to talking about how Boehner announced that he was leaving, and I just kind of said, ‘Well, maybe you should think about running.”
“It started out as kind of a joke. But we talked about it a little bit. And about a week later, he called us up. And I said, ‘Man, you better really think about this. I don’t know if you really want to do this.'”
The seasoned politician warned the rookie there would be stiff competition, including from veteran state lawmakers.
“I wanted to make sure, if he was going to do it, he understood it would not be easy,” Jordan emphasized. “And of course, with his background, he understood that. But as someone who’s been in a few campaigns, I just wanted to say, ‘Look, running for Congress is going to be intense. There’s going to be all kinds of money up against you, and you have to raise a serious amount, and so on.'”
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Despite the warning, a candidate was born.
“Next thing you know, he’s told us, ‘I’m doing it.’ And I said, ‘OK! We’re in.’ So we endorsed him in January. And then he was endorsed by conservative groups. I mean he’s just an impressive individual.”
Jordan reeled off Davidson’s military, education and business credentials, adding that as a husband and father with a Christian perspective, he is “just the right kind of guy with the right kind of values. With that kind of background, you figure he’s got the work ethic needed to win a campaign. And he sure did.”
Jordan said Davidson proved to be a quick learner on the campaign trail.
“He’s done a good job on the stump, very good. I was impressed with how he handled himself.”
The lawmaker added, “I think he’s going to win big on the seventh and is going to come here and be a part of our group and fight the good fight. And that’s exactly what we need at what I think is this critical point in history. We need guys who are willing to come here who are willing to fight.”
Jordan chuckled, saying it was the God’s honest truth that he went to meet Davidson hoping to raise funds for the Freedom Fund, only to have him become the first candidate endorsed and supported by the fund.
From there, the snowball just kept rolling.
A list of other groups supporting Davidson reads like a who’s who of conservative organizations, including:
- The Club For Growth
- Senate Conservatives Fund
- Family Research Council
- Citizens for Community Values
- Tea Party Express
- We the People Convention
- Conservative Republican Leadership Committee
WND asked Davidson what made him want to run for office.
“When Speaker Boehner resigned, our district was going to get a new congressman one way or the other,” he reflected. “I started looking at the field, and the more I asked about it, the more people encouraged me to consider doing it.”
Still, he wasn’t sold, acknowledging, “At first I said that’s kind of crazy. And then I heard from a few other people and started thinking maybe it could work.”
Davidson said people seemed to be disenchanted with government and were looking for someone with traditional values.
What is his political philosophy?
“When I first got in, I borrowed Ronald Reagan’s phrase, ‘I’m in the Republican wing of the Republican Party.’ That was a time when the party was in a similar sort of identity crisis, and there was a question about what it stood for.”
Davidson believes the party could move forward by looking back.
“Reagan was president when I was in my teens, and he went through my home town on a train tour in the 1984 campaign,” the candidate reminisced. “He was a solid conservative, obviously, but he was also very positive.”
“We won the Cold War not by keeping our cards close to our chest and waiting for the perfect time to tell the world what we were all about, which seems to be what the Republican Party was doing for a while under the Obama administration.
“We won the Cold War by doing the exact opposite. We made it clear what we stand for. We believed our ideas were better. And in the long run, the right ideas and truths prevailed. I really feel like it is time for that sort of thing to take place within our party.”
What would be the key differences between him and Boehner?
Davidson said there were some commonalities, such as their mutual background in manufacturing, but also some “clear differences.”
“I don’t plan to stay in Congress for 25 years. I believe in term limits,” was first on his list.
“I think for my entire lifetime people have talked about balancing the budget, and I probably take that more seriously than he did. I just don’t see how someone can be truly compassionate and bankrupt our country. I mean, that’s not compassion.”
Davidson said he has “perhaps a stronger emphasis” than Boehner on Article One of the Constitution, which defines the powers of Congress as the legislative branch of the federal government.
“I have a lot of interest in pursuing the IRS scandal, for example. That’s still kind of lingering out there. And, I think that’s pretty serious. I think Congress does have a duty to protect our Constitution and to hold agencies like the IRS accountable for clear breaches of the public trust.”
He noted the reluctance of Obama’s Justice Department to pursue a real investigation: “Of course they haven’t done anything. And I think our founders foresaw that problem, and they were counting on Congress to step up from time to time.”
Another difference with Boehner: Davidson identifies more with the conservative wing in the House than the establishment wing.
“I’m definitely going to be more conservative than the average member,” he reflected, but also saw a diversity within conservatism. “We are supported in the campaign by virtually every form of conservative. Constitutional conservative groups like Freedom Works, social conservative groups like the Family Research Council, economic conservative groups like Club for Growth. So, you look at the spectrum of support, and it is solidly conservative.”
Would he have supported a government shutdown over defunding Obama’s amnesty for illegal immigrants or Planned Parenthood?
Davidson suggested he would not, because of what he saw as unexplored alternatives, telling WND, “It seems to me we lack an incredible amount of creativity to find ourselves consistently snookered by the administration.”
He believed it was a mistake to get trapped into a strategy of shutting down the government.
“I felt like that was the wrong approach. I think I’d take a different approach. You create these false dilemmas that are self-imposed. In my mind, strong leadership would have averted the crisis in the first place.”
What are his stances on legal and illegal immigration?
“Illegal immigration is a national security issue. So, definitely first and foremost, we should take care of our national security. We should look at immigrants from state sponsors of terror. It’s hard to find a rational reason to take the risks.”
Davidson said he recognizes there are people who are really victims of ISIS who are probably legitimate refugees. But that doesn’t mean they have to come here.
“I think we should look for resettlement close to their current home, in a way that is easier for them to assimilate into the culture.”
“And, frankly, we already give billions every year to countries like Jordan and Kuwait, and for that matter, Pakistan,” he observed. “These countries should really reciprocate, somewhat, for generations of aid and help their neighbors. And we should help them do that. Help them engage in the right ways to solve the problems there.”
As for as a more frequent path for illegal immigration, Davidson said, “I think we need to end birthright citizenship, which is to say, if neither of your parents are Americans, you are not entitled to be an American at birth. You are entitled to a process where you may become a citizen.”
He said he thinks Congress needs to use the power of the purse to leverage change: “We should seriously defund sanctuary cities if they’re not going to enforce our laws.”
Or states, for that matter. He said the way California now issues driver’s licenses means those documents “can no longer be trusted.”
Davidson also observed that “about 40 percent of those who are in the United States illegally right originally came here legally and are now on visa overstays. So, Congress needs to seriously look at the funding and structure of that situation.”
Davidson also deplored Obama’s executive amnesty but was hopeful “the court will do the right thing there, ultimately, and find there was overreach of executive authority in not enforcing our laws.”
Does he support building a wall on the southern border?
“I am not opposed to building a wall; I just think it’s a false sense of security,” he said. “The French had the Maginot Line, and it didn’t protect France. The kind of vigilance it takes to fix our national security is found in more policies than just building a wall. But I am not morally opposed to a wall.”
Would he support putting a hold on Muslim immigration, or would he prefer some kind of real vetting of refugees from countries with high populations of terrorists?
“I don’t favor bringing that many Muslims here,” Davidson said. “I just really don’t understand why we can’t find a way to solve the problem closer to home for these folks.”
He also wants better vetting of those who do come here, saying, “I don’t know how it can be partisan to say we’re going to be certain we have a thorough process. We need to know why they’re coming here, and what they’re supposed to be doing when they do come. I don’t know that anyone from the administration has been able to offer those assurances, and they’re just kind of blowing past that.”
What’s the best way to revive the economy?
“Reduce and simplify regulations, and install a simpler, flatter tax code. A less complex tax code. One that pulls less capital out of the market and puts it in the hands of those that are likely to reinvest it. The government just spends it and circulates it in a way that is less productive.”
“Clearly,” he continued, “the regulatory environment in the past few years, especially with executive overreach, has had a stifling effect on the economy. I think the other thing is that health care has been a big hindrance to growth. Obamacare is hurting our health care sector but it’s hurting the rest of the economy too.”
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How would Davidson replace Obamacare?
“I think you need a free-market system, first of all. All other commercial transactions in the United States are subject to the commerce clause. Somehow, insurance products have protected themselves with these state markets. We should allow insurance products to be traded across state lines.”
He said the other big problem is that “everything about competitive marketplaces has been turned on its head, with respect to health care. You’ve got massive consolidation among the insurance industry; that’s one of the big byproducts of Obamacare. So, the very thing that would drive down costs has been going the opposite way.”
Another Obamacare problem Davidson sees is more complexity for patients and doctors.
“You’ve really got to do things to keep the patient-doctor relationship strong. And it’s not made strong by massive new taxes and regulations. If you walk into your normal doctors office now, the people who are there who are running the administrative side, dealing with insurance and compliance, outnumber the people there to care for patients. I think that’s a problem.”
Does he think global trade pacts help or hurt American workers?
“I think trade benefits American workers,” asserted the candidate. “Pacts kind of come down to the rules that you set in them. If you have no enforcement mechanism in them, it’s a bad deal. There are certainly opportunities to improve most of the existing agreements we have.”
“On balance, trade itself is good for America. We’ve dominated trade since before we were a country. America has the best markets in the world for goods, services, intellectual property, capital. So when we compete, normally, America wins. Really, the only reason we wouldn’t win is because we refuse to fix our tax code. And we negotiate bad deals. Otherwise, we’re the best in the world.”
What is the best way to preserve religious liberties?
“Just follow the Constitution. That’s the biggest thing. I mean, heck, we’ve got Supreme Court justices advising new countries, ‘Well you shouldn’t follow our Constitution; you should come up with something better.'”
Davidson was referring remarks made by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who said on Egyptian television, “I would not look to the U.S. Constitution, if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012.”
“That’s shameful,” continued the candidate. “Follow our Constitution. Quit writing new things into it that don’t exist. And honor the document. It says what it says.”
Davidson was fortunate to witness a great moment in history, firsthand. What did he remember, or learn, by watching the fall of the Berlin Wall?
“That was definitely the highlight of my time in the Army,” he fondly recollected. “Probably the most memorable night was over Thanksgiving, just a couple weeks after the official fall on November 9, 1989.”
“I was in the British sector of Berlin, at a pub, and this East German says to us, ‘Is it like this everywhere?’ ‘What do you mean?’ I asked. ‘Well, you can go to the store at night and they have fresh milk, is it like this everywhere?’
“I mean, he couldn’t believe stores were open at night and they had fresh goods, bread, milk. Things that we take for granted in small-town America, or any small town in pretty much any part of the West. They had always been told it was the same in the West as it was in the East.
“Having been over there, I saw they had a couple of blocks of nice, developed areas, shops and fine restaurants and things like that, stores where there were goods on the shelves. But if you went just two blocks over, there was just a lot of poverty. That is the fruit of the redistributive ideology. Marxism, that’s the fruit of it.”
Davidson reflected on what that experience taught him about issues of today.
“The East Germans were practicing a different version of Marxism than the one Bernie Sanders is spreading, but that’s what happens. Scarcity is the fruit of it. They were dealing with it. You look at the truth, and our ideas are better. That’s why we won. So we have to play our cards and count on the same sort of logic that helped us win the Cold War, and build our own country.”
Does he have a favorite president?
“I’d say George Washington. He’s a guy who could have had an essentially unlimited amount of power in America, and instead spent his administration trying to see the Constitution honored. And he established the idea that the president served briefly. He did not make it about him; he made it about the ideas. And I think it’s a good precedent to follow.”
Anything else he wanted to share with voters?
“Just to remind the people in the eighth district of Ohio there’s another election on June 7. That’s the big thing,” he said. “A lot of people think that it’s over, or there’s nothing else until November, which is the normal pattern for elections. But this seat will be filled by whoever wins on June 7. And, of course, there will be another election on November 8 to fill the two-year term. But the district will finally have a congressman in June.”