Tags: ralph | reed | faith | youth

Ralph Reed: Bring Youth Back Into GOP

By Jim Meyers   |   Monday, 20 Jul 2009 09:58 PM

Conservative political strategist Ralph Reed, the first executive director of the Christian Coalition, tells Newsmax that Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings can actually help Republicans in upcoming elections.

Reed also predicted that the race for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 will be the most competitive in more than three decades.

Reed, also a former chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, has recently formed the Faith and Freedom Coalition. Newsmax.TV's Kathleen Walter asked him about the organization.

See Video: Ralph Reed discusses his new organization and the youth movement that the GOP must harness to defeat Obama - Click Here Now

"It is a coalition of grassroots citizens, conservatives — both fiscal and social conservatives — people of faith, and others who are concerned about the direction of our country," Reed said.

"Look at what's happening in Washington today, with the overreach on healthcare, rationing healthcare, dramatically raising taxes, crushing small business, the cap-and-tax energy plan, the failed stimulus package, liberal judicial nominees, a weakening of our defense, sending signals in my view of timidity in prosecuting the war on terrorism.

"The Faith and Freedom Coalition is designed not only to oppose the Obama agenda in Washington, but to offer conservative constructive alternatives.

"We need to get this economy moving again. We need to create jobs. We believe the way to do that is lower taxes, limited government, fiscal discipline, stronger families, and the growth of small business."

Reed said one priority of the Faith and Freedom Coalition is to bring younger people into the conservative ranks. The organization intends to have a strong presence on college campuses, and to employ Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites that young people use to communicate.

"We need to be hipper, more technology savvy," he said. "This is where the culture is going and we need to be there if we're going to compete."

He also said the coalition plans to have chapters in every key county in the country, in all 50 states, and virtual chapters on line.

As a conservative organization, the organization will hold both parties accountable, Reed added.

"We believe the Republicans lost their way when they were in power, particularly on spending and earmarks. We plan to lift up a banner of faith, of freedom and conservative values" for people in both parties.

Asked about his previous statement that Sotomayor's confirmation hearings can help Republicans, Reed responded:

"Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings made it abundantly clear that she is out of the mainstream on a number of issues.

"She declined to affirm that the Second Amendment includes a basic constitutional right to self defense. She is on record as saying foreign law and United Nations jurisprudence should be on the same level as the U.S. Constitution. She's advocated taxpayer funding of abortion. She's somebody who embraces judicial activism. And she is somebody who in the past has ruled in favor of quotas.

"And so I think that any red state Democrat who votes for her, any Democrat who's representing a state where [George W.] Bush did well or conservative values predominate, is going to have a difficult time explaining that vote."

Reed declined to say that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is the favorite to win the GOP presidential nomination in 2012. But he did say that Romney "was a very strong first time candidate last time and my sense is, just as he was a major factor in 2008, if he chooses to run again he will be again.

"I think that is true for a lot of people . . . There will be a very competitive and muscular primary. If Sarah Palin chooses to run, no matter what the dominant media tries to do or say, she'll be a factor and she'll have strong support.

"The same with Mike Huckabee, same with Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour if he chooses to run, Governor Tim Pawlenty in Minnesota. There are a lot of compelling people out there and in my view it will be the most wide open and the most competitive Republican presidential primary probably since 1980."

See Video: Ralph Reed discusses his new organization and the youth movement that the GOP must harness to defeat Obama - Click Here Now

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