Is Adam Kinzinger’s Country First PAC the road back to conservatism?

Adam Kinzinger Country First PAC

Conservatives have been wrestling with the sad reality that our values ceased being represented in Washington ever since Ronald Reagan rode off into the California sunset in 1989 after serving eight years as president. But is the recent news about Rep. Adam Kinzinger’s new Country First Political Action Committee (PAC) an indicator that we could soon be on the road back to conservatism?

History makes it a 50/50 proposition at best.

After “Thousand points of light” Bush, “New economy” Clinton, and “Compassionate conservative” Bush had pretty much destroyed the gains realized by “The Gipper,” Barack Obama arrived on the scene with a promise to “fundamentally transform the United States of America” — a reminder to conservatives of how far we had drifted from our ideals.

This gave rise to the Tea Party and other groups dedicated to stopping the slow and gradual destruction of the values that guided our great nation for hundreds of years, and initially, they had some success, beginning with the 2010 midterms when Tea Party-backed Republicans seized control of the House after winning over 60 seats.

At the time, it looked like the Republican Party had returned to conservatism, but it wasn’t long before Mitch McConnell and John Boehner showed the party’s true colors during the next midterm election under Obama in 2014.

“I think we are going to crush them everywhere,” McConnell said. “I don’t think they are going to have a single nominee anywhere in the country.”

With these words, Mitch McConnell declared war against conservatives and Tea Party members in a 2015 interview with the New York Times, and he wasn’t alone. Others who openly distained the conservative base of the Republican Party at the time included: John McCainLindsey GrahamJohn BoehnerPeter King (R-NY), the Main Street Partnership, and pretty much everyone else in GOP leadership.

This GOP’s war against conservatives was so popular at the time, even Democrats pledged their support for Boehner as Speaker of Tea Party groups attempted to retaliate.

Over the past four years, McConnell’s work was completed by Donald Trump. Conservatism has been destroyed within the Republican Party and replaced by Trumpism and Nationalism, giving us a mixed bag of socialism-friendly policies diametrically opposed to our values.

I wrote in my 2020 year-end post about how the survival of conservatism ultimately depends on allies banding together against Trumpism and Nationalism, along with every other form of faux conservative lie peddled by Republicans. Of course, this prompted the inevitable question, how do we do it?

The possible answer to that question comes to us courtesy of Rep. Adam Kinzinger’s new Country First PAC.

Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) is one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection and has since become an outspoken critic of the former president. He has said that since his impeachment vote, he’s been isolated among Republicans and that his decision may be “terminal” to his political career.

In the video featured on the website, Kinzinger presents his case for creating a new conservative movement:

“This is no time for silence, not after the last month, not after the past few years. Someone needs to tell the truth. Someone needs to say what history needs to hear. So here I am. The Republican Party has lost its way.

“Today’s Republican Party, it’s not the one I joined. The GOP I signed up for was built on a foundation of principle, and it was filled with hope. We believed a brighter future was just around the bend, and we fought tirelessly to get there.

“Our duty now is to preserve and expand the promise of America for future generations. We must shore up the principals that are the source of our national strength. We must strengthen the land we love for the trials that lie ahead. The Republican party was made for this challenge.

“Once again, we have been called by history. We can rise to meet our moment, or we can let it pass us by. It’s now or never. The choice is ours. I’ve made mine, and I hope every Republican, and every American who shares our values, will choose to join me.

“Let’s take back our party. And let’s build up our country which God has blessed beyond every other. It will mean we will have to do some difficult things, but after all, history is highlighted by times like these. And we have yet to fail. We won’t fail now. Let’s do this together.”

In an interview with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press this past weekend, Kinzinger specified how the past four years (aka Trumpism) took conservatism to a dark place, and why Country First PAC is the way to fix the GOP.

“My goal in launching with the number one is just to say, look, let’s take a look at the last four years, how far we have come in a bad way, how backwards looking we are, how much we peddle darkness and division. And that’s not the party I ever signed up for. And I think most Republicans didn’t sign up for that.”

Kinzinger went on to say that the Country First website would serve as a “landing place” for fellow conservatives who feel as he does concerning the Republican betrayal of conservatism, characterizing his PAC as a place where we can return to “conservative principles” after the GOP “lost its moral authority in a lot of areas.”

I’m finding it hard to get too excited about Kinzinger’s Country First PAC because the “we need to return to conservatism” mantra has become a crutch used by the lame Republican Party every election season; this is the primary reason I became Never Trump and Never GOP and remain so to this day. I’m a Constitutional conservative and a Christian, and that’s never going to change.

Still, I’m intrigued by Kinzinger, just as I was when Justin Amash took his stand against the Republican Party before he officially left it.

Will Adam Kinzinger’s Country First PAC be the difference-maker we need to break Trumpist Republicans? And if so, will it be permanent, or will it end up being another Tea Party moment where conservatives get the shaft?

Personally, I’m a little gun-shy, but I’ll be keeping an eye on Kinzinger’s Country First PAC to see how things shake out.


David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.

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