GOP Doesn’t Need a Civil War
By: Craig Chamberlain
As a conservative I am somewhat dismayed to hear so many in the grassroots of the party dismiss, or outright slander, many within the GOP as RINO’s. Tools for the left who, while they speak the language of conservatism work from within the party to undermine it. This all seems a bit silly to me. Yes, there have been liberal Republicans in the past that have always had the worst timing, and always seem to be more interested in impressing the Washington press corps than they are in getting anything done. Arlen Specter, and Lincoln Chaffee come to mind. Neither one is in the party anymore, so we feel we can bad mouth them all they want. And much of that badmouthing is justified. They were both largely gutless creatures who reveled in skewering conservatives at critical moments, and when the going got tough they both threw hissy fits and quit the party. So I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time defending the likes of them.
But there is a danger to the Republican party, and to conservatism as a whole, with such cannibalistic actions. Just like the French revolution under Robespierre started to devour other revolutionaries for insufficient zeal, there are some within the party that seemingly want to exile anyone that they deem insufficiently conservative. There favorite target is Mitt Romney. To hear the “anyone but Mitt” crowd you would have thought that the former Massachusetts governor slithered his way out of the bowels of the 8th circle of hell and is now threatening to drag the republic into the pit of fire and brimstone. And to be honest many of them think that way. Much of the opposition to Romney is based on his membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. For many the anyone but Mitt group is really “anyone but the Mormon” group. The truth is that if Romney were say… Lutheran, he probably would have won the nomination in 2008. Such thinking is not only bigoted, it’s very ironic. The two favorite alternatives to Romney are Gingrich, who is about as establishment as a candidate can get and Ron Paul, the man who is actually to the left of President Obama on many issues.
There is a tendency in politics, especially with activists, to prefer ideological purity to victory. They want the perfect conservative(which usually exists only in their imaginations) more than they want victory. Better to go to glorious defeat with a purist than to win with someone who might not score a 100% on all the acid tests. That kind of thinking not only ensure President Obama getting reelected it guarantees the GOP will be waiting a long time to get back the White House. It’s my belief that any Republican is a better candidate than any Democrat. You’d have to go back to Alton Parker taking on Teddy Roosevelt before you would find a case where the Democrat was more conservative. Richard Nixon might not have been the dream date for conservatives, but he was certainly a better President than McGovern would have been.
Conservatives must keep in mind that in order to change anything, in order to limit spending, cut taxes, tame government, and put the economy back in order we must first win. Without victory our ideas are purely abstract with no real value in the real world. That’s something the Democrats have always understood better than the Republicans. They see elections as bare knuckle, no holds barred, bar brawls, where anything is justified if it gets them elected. Republicans have tended to view it more as a gentleman’s contest where, if you lose, you pride yourself on having tried your best, fought the good fight, and you get ready to come back in 4 years. While Republicans would be wrong to stoop to their level we must keep in mind that the first order of business is victory. We can’t get anything done if we don’t win, and we won’t win if we spend our time fighting amongst ourselves over who is, and who isn’t a RINO,
Conservatives should be rather happy with the current field. All have pledged to repeal Obamacare,all are pro life, none are supportive of gay marriage, all want to cut spending, and all are tough on Islamic terrorism, aside from Congressman Paul. As conservatives we have to ask ourselves what it is we really want. Do we want to defeat President Obama or do we want to split the party in two with a fratricidal civil war over differences that aren’t that great and are mostly imaginary anyway. The key thing is to defeat President Obama and overturn his agenda. If we fail to do that because we battled amongst ourselves in the primary, split our vote with a hypothetical third party candidacy, then we have no one to blame but ourselves for Americas fate after November 2012. And if there are people out there who would rather have a second Obama term, than a first Romney term simply because of Romney’s church then all I can say is you disgust me.
I thought that Rick Perry was the best conservative in this race, but unless there is a real miracle for the Texas Governor it looks like his candidacy is going nowhere. Newt Gingrich has too much baggage, and has shown that he isn’t the outsider he claims. Ron Paul is comfortable to ally himself with anti Semites, and white supremacists, and thinks that the Iranians are much less of a threat to America than Ben Bernanke is. Unless another candidate emerges after Iowa it looks like Governor Romney will be the nominee, and that’s not quite the apocalypse that many think it is. The anyone but Mitt crowd needs to changes its tune, and get on the anyone but Obama bandwagon.