On Friday and Saturday, Insider Advantage covered the RedState Gathering in Atlanta. With the event immediately following the debate on Thursday, there was certainly a lot of interest from national media in seeing how the ten candidates scheduled to speak would respond to the debate and to one certain candidate’s increasingly outrageous statements. By Saturday, ten candidates had turned into nine but the questions for all the other candidates regarding the statements of one continued unabated.

Much of the time during the debate and during candidate’s stump speeches, it is hard to actually glean what they would actually do in office were they elected. Some of the time this is because the candidate doesn’t want to be too specific lest they be attacked on the feasibility of their plan and some of the time this is because many in the media would rather focus on issues that are sensational or controversial. In the interests of a little something different, how about we focus on what candidates said during RedState that would be actionable policies or things they have really done that may translate at the national level? As Rick Perry said during his speech, this should be a “show me, don’t tell me” speech.

On Day One, five candidates took the stage – Chris Christie, Perry, Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio. Two of them, Fiorina and Jindal, were relegated to the “Happy Hour Debate” on Thursday and are continuing to work on increasing their national profile and gave some additional time to the media following their talks.

First up, Chris Christie

Christie took time to remind attendees with exactly what he was facing as governor of New Jersey and how his tough stance has delivered results. As the largely Democrat-dominated legislature in New Jersey wanted to raise taxes to fill an $11 billion budget deficit, Christie refused. When they shut down the government, the outcry was for Christie to come to the table and negotiate the tax hikes with the legislature. Christie refused. “I said I’m going back to the Governor’s Mansion … I’m going to order a pizza, drink a beer and watch the Mets,” the RedState crowd approved with a laugh.

Following his speech, in the onstage Q&A Erickson would hold with each candidate, Erickson asked about how Christie would bring down the debt. Christie was clear. “The tax code is clearly written for the rich. Get rid of all deductions but charity and mortage. Lower the corporate rates,” Christie said. This is how the country can strengthen the middle class, according to him.

Several candidates were asked in the Q&A portion about reducing the power of the Chamber of Commerce. Christie talked about the Chamber’s influence on immigration policy. The Chamber doesn’t want to use e-verify, Christie said. “Immigrants aren’t coming here to vote. they want to work. If companies used e-verify immigration would be fixed quick,” said Christie. Between taxes and immigration, Christie thinks fixing these issues would take a lot of power away from Chamber-types.

Rick Perry

Perry told the audience that 1 out of every 3 jobs created in America during his time as governor were created in Texas.

Perry talked about how they had passed tort reform in Texas. That tort reform allowed Christus Spohm, a large Catholic hospital in Texas, to save $100 million a year they would’ve spent on “defense costs” and invest that money into new facilities and doctors and nurses. He also talked about how rural areas of the state had a shortage of pre-natal care facilities and the tort reform efforts resulted in 37,000 more doctors licensed to practice medicine in Texas.

Perry related how Texas deployed law enforcement during the border crisis last year. The Federal Border Patrol were 50 miles inland in an “apprehension position” and according to Perry, Obama wasn’t aware of this. The area where Texas “surged their law enforcement” saw a 74% decrease in illegal crossings.

Bobby Jindal

Jindal’s biggest point of the speech regarded energy production in Louisiana and the aftermath of the BP oil spill. After the oil spill, the administration instituted a moratorium on drilling. Jindal fought the moratorium and called it a mistake. He recounted a conversation with Valerie Jarrett in which Jarrett asked him why he was so opposed to the moratorium. She said “why are you worried? Where are those rigs going to go?” It occurred to Jindal that maybe the administration didn’t realize these rigs were mobile platforms that would be going to Brazil and Africa and other places. He asked “you know these are mobile platforms right?” He said there was silence. Louisiana has regained its drilling production but fought hard to get there and Jindal wants to break the overregulation of the EPA and make America energy independent.

Jindal talked a little about the ongoing religious liberty debate, noting, “The U.S. did not create religious liberty, religious liberty created the United States Of America.” He said he was appalled that some in the GOP seem to be glad that the Supreme Court ruled for gay marriage and that they saw it as a distraction. He said he signed the Religious Liberty Act in Louisiana and we can be for religious freedom and not discriminatory. Americans have a right to live according to their conscious.


Hillary Clinton has often cited the hundreds of thousands of miles of air travel as one of the things she did as Secretary of State. Fiorina’s frequent retort, repeated here at RedState, is that “flying is an activity, not an accomplishment.” Fiorina certainly doesn’t shrink back from answering any questions or going on any show and she recounted some of her trips to shows such as The View, where they were apparently astounded Fiorina was a conservative.

Fiorina talked about the two calls she would make on her first day as president. The first would be to the Prime Minister of Israel, Bibi Netanyahu, and assure him that the United States would once again have Israel’s back. The second would be to the leadership in Iran. They may not actually take her call but she would let them know that until they were totally transparent and stopped their nuclear program, she would make it as hard as possible for them to move money around the world.

Fiorina also talked about the problem of entrenched employment of the Federal workforce. Inspector general reports regularly show employees that spend hours watching pornography and get the same checks that those who are working hard. “As Donald Trump would say, you’re fired!” said Fiorina.


The final candidate to the stage on day one, Rubio focused on what his outlook for the U.S. would be by the year 2020. This election has to be about the future he said. Rubio said he was still positive about the future for America but that it could be so much better. He said the opportunity for the conservative movement lies with the outlook for the jobs of the 21st century. The tax code is a key piece of this. Rubio said he would work on repatriating the millions of dollars made overseas but that corporations are holding offshore and he would tell them bring that back to the U.S. and we won’t double tax you.

Rubio noted that EPA regulations may be easy to overcome if you are a billionaire, but if you are a single mom and your utility bill goes up by $50, it could be catastrophic. Rubio talked about the importance of repealing and replacing Obamacare. His plan for the replacement is, whether a voucher or credit that is tax free, that a person could take and buy insurance, across state lines, “of the kind you want, from any company that will sell it to you.”

Rubio called the national debt a job-killer and “the most predictable crisis in history.” What’s driving the problem Rubio said is social security and medicare that are structured unsustainably for people his age (44 “but after the debate he felt 45). He said he doesn’t want to touch the programs for people retired already. The changes Rubio is talked about are not huge. He says adding one year to the retirement age and his retirement benefits wouldn’t grow as fast as his parents did. “These are not draconian changes. I have 30 years to plan for this.” If we make changes now, these programs will still work for people in the future. If we do nothing, Rubio warned, they won’t exist.

Next up – RedState Wrap-up: Day Two


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