This one is going to be a bit complicated, as I am having trouble explaining it to myself. So, I have two requests of you. One is to bear with my while I make this journey, and the other is that you help me refine my message through comment. My point is this, beware of the purity tests. They don’t help, and more often than not lead to disastrous results.
We need well rounded leaders who are intelligent and articulate on a wide range of issues, and who mostly represent what we stand for. Unfortunately and fortunately, we are not an homogeneous group. Conservatism has many forms, and many different schools of thought. We have among our numbers, social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, libertarians, neoconservatives, hawks, free marketeers, and sorry to any of the other constituent groups that I may have missed. Each of us has our very own and personal reasons for supporting candidates who reside on the right side of the aisle. Each of us feels his or her very own sense of passion as to why we support what we do. Through our own prisms, we tend to see the world, and have precious little tolerance for the others in our coalition. This, lack of tolerance for others on our own side played as much of a role in our electoral shellackings recently as any other cause.
I am not advocating for capitulation on our principles, just some common sense when applying those principles. At some point in time, getting more right than wrong will have to become ample reason to support a candidate who is running against someone who is more wrong than right. Every time a purity test is applied on a particular candidate, we run the risk of shooting ourselves in the foot, and I say this being just as angry as the rest of you with watching the likes of Olympia Snow, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins stab us in the back politically every chance that pops up. (Let’s not forget that Olympia Snowe’s lone vote made it possible for the Obamacare abomination to be passed. Her stated reason for stabbing us all in the back was that the time was right for her to be a part of history.) But, for every Olympia Snowe, I can also point to a Todd Aiken, a politician who is conservative on one issue only, and has no clue on any ground away from that one issue.
Purity tests to determine support on one issue, or to eliminate a candidate on the basis of one issue have never produced positive results. No one of us will see the perfect candidate who matches everything we believe individually come along. The odds are even worse that a magic candidate will come along who will satisfy the requirements of all of us collectively. Such a person does not exist, and what’s more, if they did exist, we probably should not trust them anyhow. That would mean that there’d be a whole lot of pandering going on. Staying home because a particular candidate did not have the exact position on one particular issue that you may use as your litmus test will insure that we never rid ourselves of the ever expanding federal behemoth inflicted upon us by the Leftists, who are more than willing to prostitute their values in order to form their coalition.
Elections have consequences. Even during the years in which we have seen the most successful third party candidates, our President has been from one of the two prevailing major parties of the time. The same can be said of control of the Senate and the House. With all of our talk about being angry with the Republican Party, the plain and simple fact is that if the GOP does not take back the Senate, Keep the House, and win the Presidency over the next four years, the Democrats will have control of those various organs of government. If your goal is to lodge a protest and allow the disaster to happen, because America needs to continue learning this lesson, I can not get on that bandwagon. I refuse to root for continued damage to our national fabric and more hardship for my fellow citizen in order to prove a point, or even in order to help win future elections.
The primaries are designed for infighting, afterwards is better served with unity. Let’s be respectful of the other voices we hear though, we are going to need them all later on down the road. What the Democrats have become really adept at is to create small issues that would help them secure 3% to 5% of the voters, delivered in blocks of people who are really passionate about those things. With 5 to 6 of those added to their base, they can reach their coalition of 51% and claim that they have a mandate to push their entire agenda forward. The danger of course is the backlash of what happens when they do misread their mandate, as happened in 2010. What the Republicans are really good at is to take the center right coalition that they have naturally, and to anger groups of 3% to 5% of their coalition with these incredibly arbitrary litmus tests. All it takes is a subtraction of 6% of voters from the 55% of people who self identify as conservative, and you have reduced yourself to the losing end of a 51% to 49%, “landslide.”
Pulling defeat from the jaws of victory is the ever enduring hall mark of the Republican Party.
Special Note: I am not considering the Paulbats to be victims of any litmus testing that went on. The shenanigans that they pulled at various caucuses during the primaries and what they attempted to pull off during the convention was plainly wrong. While many claim that by not listening to them, we caused them to not feel welcome in our coalition, this misses the mark of reality completely. The fact is, these people were never part of our coalition to begin with. They were never voters from the right, and are never going to be. They were there to vote for Ron Paul, or no one. This has always been the case, and further, it always will be the case. What they attempted to do at the convention was to hold up Romney’s nomination, and instill their own man instead, even though he was clearly not the choice of well over 90% of the people who bothered to vote in the primaries. When their attempts to subvert the will of the voters failed, they stomped their feet and declared that they would never support anyone but Ron Paul. The dirty little secret is that they would have done this, no matter who the nominee turned out to be. What’s worse, is that they were bragging about their attempts to subvert the will of the Republican voters in on line forums before the convention took place. They were very vocal about how they were going to take over the convention no matter who won the majority of delegates and secure the nomination for their man. This essay was about the dangers of telling the Right to Life crowd to settle down and be silent, telling the Second Amendment crowd to just accept the infringements upon their right to carry guns, or telling the free marketeers to be silent when a Presidential candidate supposedly on our side proposes an indexed minimum wage scale. It is also about people from the aforementioned groups using their singular issues as a litmus test before pulling the lever or not pulling the lever without considering the alternative, for example a second Barack Obama term in office. After all, how do you believe Barack Obama will affect right to life, our Second Amendment Rights, or how will he impact our free market system?