Although I do not agree with Cedra Crenshaw's positions on some issues, I think she is the real deal for one simple reason: when I hear her speak, I believe her. When I hear her speak, I believe she is speaking from a real, genuine place.
For example, this video posted on YouTube of Crenshaw's speech at the Joliet Tax Day Tea Part shows why she is a real deal conservative:
"You see, just like you, my husband and I live within our means. We don't have everything we want, but we have everything we need and we're thankful for it. When we bought our home ten years ago, we put money down, a lot of money. We got a conventional, fixed-rate mortgage that we could understand, but more importantly, that we could afford. And because we don't like owing money, we made extra payments and paid it off in eight years. We own a truck and a car, a car that's 14 years old, my husband has had the car longer than he's known me. We use credit cards wisely, paying them off every month. We've never paid a dime in interest, and over the years, we've made thousands of dollars in cash back bonuses because we pay our bills on time and in full, what a concept! The last thing we'd ever do is mismanage our finances and expect you to pay the bills. But this is exactly what happens in Springfield. This is why I need your help. I am one mom taking on the machine."
I think Crenshaw will hit a nerve with people who played by the rules and planned for the unexpected: people who paid their mortgages, paid their bills, paid their health insurance premiums, but then observed a relative or coworker benefit from a government program for which they do not qualify. And, human nature being what it is, the path of least resistance is to get angry that the friend or relative qualified for the program while those who "took care of their own responsibilities" get no help. There will always be corruption with government programs, and there will be people who suffered a job loss or medical problem and truly need help, and there will be some people who just do not understand fiances and will end up needing government help. It's a complicated issue, but I think Crenshaw will hit a nerve when she demonstrates that she is the type of person who, as she says, would never mismanage her fiances and then expect the taxpayers to pay her bills.
I think she will hit a nerve with small business owners and farmers who are now waiting to find out what will happen with the estate tax after 2010. I know not many people are going to cry for millionaires, but when that millionaire is a 90 year old New Lenox farmer whose 150 acres are valued at 20,000, that farmer's heirs will have to come up with 1,100,000 in estate tax money--assuming a 1,000,000 exemption and a 55% rate--or sell the family farm, unless they have that cash lying around and want to spend it to keep the farm. Is that fair? There may be special government programs or estate-planning mechanisms to avoid the tax, but not every elderly man or woman will have the resources to access those government services or financial services.
I think the fiscally conservative voter will listen to Crenshaw's personal story, her narrative of personal responsibility, and feel connected.
Bottom line: I think she connects. Again, I'm not saying I agree with all of her positions, but I think she does a good job speaking her mind in a clear, honest manner.
What do you think? Post your thoughts in the comments section.