New ACU Head Schneider: 'Very Idea of America' Is in Jeopardy

Tuesday, 17 Dec 2013 11:44 AM

By Lisa Barron

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Daniel Schneider, the new executive director of the American Conservative Union, says he hopes to help conservatives steer the country away from big government, growing debt, and increasing poverty, which undermine basic American freedoms.

This is the country's last chance, he told The Washington Times. "The very idea of America has not been in greater jeopardy since Woodrow Wilson was president. With the failure of Obamacare, people are scratching their heads. Right now, the American public is again starting to remember what freedom is."

Schneider, 47, took over at the ACU this month after serving as an adviser to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Before that, he was the chief of staff for former Rep. Jim Ryun of Kansas, worked as the White House liaison for the Labor Department in President George W. Bush's first term, and was an assistant secretary in the Department of Health and Human Services in Bush's second term.

A lifetime National Rifle Association member and an Eagle Scout, Schneider has also served on the board of Americans United for Life.

He said he believes the ACU, which hosts the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington each spring, has the opportunity to apply conservative values to solving America's problems.

"The reason I'm conservative is because I care about the poor. And our ideas are better at helping people who are impoverished and people in need to find ways to become self-sufficient," Schneider explained to the Times.

"Our ideas of freedom and liberty, independence, self-sufficiency, those are the best antidotes to poverty. A free market helps people climb out of dependency and makes them more responsible individuals and makes them happier people," he said.

Referring to his work advising McConnell on nominations and talent search, Schneider said, "By law, there are over 100 bipartisan boards and commissions with positions that the Senate minority leader gets to fill. I looked for the most aggressive, effective conservatives who will fight against the Obama agenda within the belly of Obama's federal beast."

Indeed, Ralph Hallow, the Time's chief political correspondent, said after their interview that he believed Schneider was the right person for the ACU job.

Story continues below video.

"He has done more perhaps than any one person I am aware of to put conservatives into key positions in this sprawling central government of the United States. He has done more in that sense for the federal government than anyone I know. He's held so many positions in government, all positions that take talent, ability and integrity," Hallow said.

Schneider said that while ACU chairman Al Cardenas and his board of directors will continue to make policy, "I will contribute to policy."

"The executive director has to be both a manager and somebody passionate about freedom. You can't simply be the guy who signs the check stubs and make sure people are taking vacation time appropriately. You have got to be able to motivate the staff."

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