The Pulse Exclusive — Carly Fiorina: We Need “a Leader With a Track Record”

In addition to Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum, I also had the opportunity to speak to Carly Fiorina at last weekend’s Practical Federalism Forum in New Hampshire, where I asked her to make her 30-second pitch to the average American voter:

The Pulse 2016: Why should Americans vote for you?

Carly Fiorina: Because I have a track record of challenging the status quo, of solving problems, of actually producing results.  And what we need now is a leader with a track record of doing all those three things.  I understand the economy, I understand the world, I understand bureaucracies, I understand technology; all of which are pretty important now.  Mostly, I understand what leadership is.

Shane Vander Hart is the online communications manager for American Principles in Action, a frequent contributor to, and the editor of Iowa-based Continue Reading

The Pulse Exclusive — Rick Santorum: “Commander-in-Chief Is Not an Entry-Level Position”

While at APP’s Practical Federalism Forum in Hooksett, N.H., last weekend, I had the chance to catch up with Rick Santorum and ask him why he thinks he should be the GOP nominee in 2016:

The Pulse 2016: In 30 seconds or less, explain why Americans should vote for you.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum: Because commander-in-chief is not an entry-level position.  We need someone with experience who understands the nature of our enemy and has the experience to get the job done.  Someone who understands Washington and has been a fighter and a winner in Washington.  Who understands the cesspool, can clean it up, and can get the job done to move this country in the right direction.  And someone who’s been vetted, who you’re not going to have to worry about, who you can trust.

I’ve been there, and I’m going to stay exactly who I am, which is exactly what this country is looking for: an outsider who can get things done inside.

Shane Vander Hart is the online communications manager for American Principles in Action, a frequent contributor to, and the editor of Iowa-based Continue Reading

Fiorina: Get the Feds Out of Your Child’s Education

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (photo credit: John Pemble via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)

Most of the Republican presidential candidates at least pay lip service to the idea of local control over education. Some even call for abolishing the U.S. Department of Education (USED). But what do these positions really mean? Does “local control” extend to standards and testing (the federal government’s big stick), or should the federal government ride herd over those aspects of education? Would abolishing USED accomplish anything other than rolling its responsibilities over to a different agency (such as the Department of Labor, given the workforce-development mania in the national education establishment)?

At last weekend’s Practical Federalism forum in New Hampshire, Carly Fiorina responded to a question with refreshing specificity. Here was the question: “Right now the federal government mandates in what subjects and in what grades children should be subjected to standardized tests. Do you oppose the federal government having this power?” This was Fiorina’s answer: “Yes.” So for the first time, a candidate has come out against a specific power that USED has exercised under No Child Left Behind — a power that Congress is seeking to reauthorize through the two bills that are now in conference after having passed the Senate and the House. And Fiorina went on to connect the exorbitant growth of USED over the years with the overall decline in the quality of public education.

The federal testing mandate that Fiorina has now specifically condemned is one of the worst features of No Child Left Behind, because the testing tail wags the education dog. Continue Reading

How to Unite the Party: Fight the Fed!

The following is adapted from APP Chairman Sean Fieler’s remarks at the American Principles Project’s Practical Federalism Forum in Hooksett, N.H., on Oct. 3.

Photo credit: Kurtis Garbutt via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

We Americans are in an anti-establishment mood.  We’ve been lied to. We know it and we are determined to put an end to it.  We want elected officials who will tell us the truth.

Now, Democrats interested in the truth.  And there are some, God bless their souls, that have a solution to the lie.

That solution is Bernie Sanders and his message of hope. The socialist dream is just 18 trillion dollars of spending, and we can tax the rich to pay for it.  Well, you’ve got to give them credit for honesty, but that’s not the solution I’m looking for.

We Republicans also want someone who will tell us the truth, but not to tell us about the state of big government and their plan to pay for it.  We want a candidate that is going to be honest about their plan to shrink the size and scope of government and revive the American experiment in limited government and the America dream of prosperity and liberty.

Our Republican primary process, reflects exactly that: a search for a new kind leader that is going to actually change things.

This makes a world of sense.  Just think, for a minute, about the journey that we Republicans have been for over three decades.  We’ve won elections.  We had Reagan, we had Newt, we had the Presidency and the Congress under George W. Continue Reading

The Pulse Exclusive — Ted Cruz: “Americans Are Tired of Campaign Conservatives”

I had the opportunity to catch up with Sen. Ted Cruz Saturday at the Practical Federalism Forum in New Hampshire:

ThePulse2016: In 30 seconds or less, explain why Americans should vote for you.

Sen. Ted Cruz: I think Americans are tired of campaign conservatives, people who talk a good game on the trail, but they haven’t walked the walk. I think we’re looking for a consistent conservative. Someone who’s been the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And in the Republican primary, everyone’s talking about how they’re going to fight Washington. Well, the natural next question is: ‘well, when have you actually stood up and done that? When have you taken on the Washington cartel?’ What I’ve tried to do in my time in the Senate is very simple. Two things: Tell the truth, and do what I said I would do. On fight after fight after fight whether it’s stopping Obamacare, stopping amnesty, stopping Planned Parenthood, or stopping the Iran deal, I’ve honored the commitments I’ve made to the men and women who elected me. And that’s exactly what I’ll do as President.

Shane Vander Hart is the online communications manager for American Principles in Action, a frequent contributor to, and the editor of Iowa-based Continue Reading

Watch: Fiorina, Cruz, Santorum on How to Take Back Power From the Feds

I had the opportunity to attend American Principles Project’s “Practical Federalism Forum” in Hooksett, N.H., this weekend. More than 250 people attended to hear speeches from Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, and several other speakers.

I sat down with Cruz, Fiorina, and Santorum and asked each of them, “How would you define practical federalism?” Here’s what they said:

Ted Cruz: “It is the genius of the Constitution, it is the genius of the Tenth Amendment, that the states serve — as Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis put it — as laboratories of democracy, that the Constitution defines the powers of Congress in Article I, Section 8 that they are few and enumerated and everything that is not in there is left to the States to decide. I’ve spent a lifetime fighting and defending the Constitution, we need to get back to the Constitution, and as President that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”

Carly Fiorina: “I think Practical Federalism is the recognition that our nation was founded on a set of incredibly profound, but incredibly practical, principles. We need to remember who we are now. We need to remember who we are. And who we are is laid out for us. It curtails the abuse of power by government, and it lifts up the rights of individuals to pursue their God given gifts.”

Rick Santorum: “Practical Federalism is locating the solution to the problems at the area most appropriate for those solutions to maximize the benefit for individuals in society. Continue Reading