“You didn’t get Ronald Reagan without Jimmy Carter. Barack Obama is our Jimmy Carter.”
So said Wisconsin Republican U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy to a room packed with College Republicans and Young America’s Foundation members at The George Washington University on Tuesday night.
Duffy gave hope that 2016 will yield a conservative president, just as 1980 did when the country was disappointed with the Carter presidency.
The former MTV reality television star brought these and other words of wisdom to young conservatives and libertarians.
Duffy touted the notion of Republican unity, especially heading into the 2014 midterm elections, in which Republicans are projected to win big.
“I think our party is big enough for Ted Cruz and Scott Brown to work together,” he said.
He chastised members of Congress who take an “all-or-nothing” approach to governing – saying it is harmful for some Republicans to always vote “no” on bills that may not be “perfectly conservative” because it “keeps the boat headed towards the cliff, and prevents a right turn.”
No matter how small or minuscule that “right turn” may be, he said, every little bit counts, and in a divided government where the other party controls the Senate and the White House, getting everything is almost impossible and unrealistic.
He said these harmful tactics have resulted in Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid often getting their way without any negotiating terms with Republicans.
“We need to be realists in the way in which we govern,” Duffy said.
Duffy also remarked on President Obama, acknowledging his “likability.” Many people like President Obama, he said; they think he’s cool.
“President Obama may be a cool guy, but his policies aren’t,” Duffy said.
Duffy cited controversies such as NSA’s intrusive tactics, Obamacare, the IRS targeting of conservative groups, and the failed economic stimulus package as some of the ways the president has disappointed Americans.
Asked about who he’s backing for 2016, Duffy said he likes Rand Paul, but added he’s not a fan of the Kentucky senator’s isolationist foreign policy stance.
In the end, Duffy also gave some surprising advice to Millennials and young conservatives.
“Do reality television!”
“If you don’t take conservatism to culture,” Duffy said, “the liberals will take to the culture.” He emphasized the importance of conservatism becoming an influencing factor in the liberal-leaning Hollywood, entertainment and media culture.
Duffy starred in the sixth season of MTV’s reality show The Real World, in which he served as the token conservative on the popular program. During his season, which aired in 1997, he was known to debate his liberal castmates.
Duffy was first elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2012. He met his wife, Rachel Campos-Duffy, through The Real World. They have six children. Congressman Duffy is also a nationally recognized professional lumberjack athlete.
College Fix contributor Andrew Desiderio is a student at The George Washington University.