(February 21, 2024)  Credit former Vice President Mike Pence for continuing to carry the Madisonian, Reaganite, conservative banner even as the Trumpist semi-Right runs into sewer holes where autocrats are embraced, basic decency is considered weakness, conspiracy theories are welcomed, big government is OK if it is used for the aims of one’s own side, and freedom takes a back seat to retributive order.

To that end, the organization Pence founded three years ago, Advancing American Freedom, is launching an aggressive, $20 million “American Solutions Project,” with some major conservative leaders, to push Reaganite ideals while fighting against “unprincipled populism.” Ed Feulner, the founder and longtime president of the Heritage Foundation in its heyday, will join the board. So will Art Pope, a political legend in North Carolina responsible for decades of conservative successes there.

Will this presidential election be the most important in American history?

The additions of Feulner and Pope, along with a $20 million budget to support candidates and legislative efforts, means that Pence is far from a spent force in American politics. More importantly, the areas in which the American Solutions Project will focus show a keen sense of timeless principles. The parent organization, AAF, already has been one of the most admirably specific and philosophically sound groups on a tremendously broad range of topics, but now the $20 million ASP project is particularly concentrating on five key “policy priorities.” It is right to choose those five, including two on which the Trump-besotted pseudo-populists go the other direction.

Those two are an embrace of “free trade with free nations” and a call to “restore U.S. global leadership,” including unabashed, but “fiscally responsible,” support for Ukraine. Despite Trump’s trade-war mentality, which actually led to the trade deficit getting larger when Trump wanted the opposite, a vast 74% supermajority of the public rightly believes that international trade is “good for the U.S. economy.” And despite the morally bankrupt hostility to Ukraine among Trump’s wing of the congressional GOP, the respected, apolitical Pew Research Center reported on Feb. 16 that 74% of the public says Ukraine’s battle for existence is important to U.S. national interests…. [The full column is at this link.]


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