-By Warner Todd Huston
In a recent op ed at the Illinois Review Terri Koyne, the Republican Chairman for Macoupin County, tried to explain the difference between a conservative and a “platform Republican.” I sort of understood her point but found the piece to be a bit muddled not to mention historically limited.
Like many of the center right side of the political aisle, Koyne is struggling with reconciling a vote for today’s Republican Party and sticking with true conservative principles. The problem is, voting Republican is not always voting for conservative ideas.
“When someone used to say they were a conservative,” Koyne said “it meant the whole package–socially and fiscally.”
I understand what she is trying to get at, but this isn’t exactly true. After all in the 30s, 40s, and 50s a “conservative” had precisely nothing at all to do with “social issues.”
This is because social issues as we know them did not exist as a political issue until more recently. So, being “conservative” had nothing at all to do with social issues back then.
Conservative did start wondering if social issues should be part of the GOP platform but not until the 50s and 60s–the latter as a response to LBJ’s so-called Great Society–and then in the 70s they became a sure addition when Roe v Wade became a political fact. Ultimately, Reagan solidified the social conservatives as part of the party for sure.
But, the fact is, before that era, religious conservatives did not exist as part of the political discussion in America. They were either a foregone conclusion as part of the American fabric (after all, Democrats were once religious, too) or they kept out of politics because they didn’t want to mix God’s sphere with man’s.
The problem that Mrs. Koyne–and by extension the rest of us–is having is that “Republicans” don’t really have many principles past “winning.” Conservatives on the other hand are nothing if not principled.
Of course, the biggest problem for Republicans is that they aren’t much good at winning, the only thing they care about, and in the mean time they alienate conservatives, the only other faction that might support them.
Democrats made a similar journey but their “winning” side lost their battle decades ago. Democrats are 100% left-wing oriented, infused with pure left-wing principles.
And, yes, I AM saying that Democrats are a more principled party than the GOP. The problem is, their principles are derived from post enlightenment, communist/socialist ideals that are thoroughly un-American. In fact, anti-American.
Conservatives’ problem is that “Republicans” are still alive and relatively strong. Conservatives have gone a long way toward taking over the GOP, but they have not yet won the battle like liberals have on the other side.
So, a conservative has a dilemma. Vote his principle or vote the Party.
The solution is vote principle in a primary and, if that principled candidate doesn’t win, vote the Party. Because in the scheme of things even a bad Republican is better than a normal, left-wing Democrat.
One thing I agree with Koyne on 100% and that is to excise “pettiness” from your vote.
Hating candidate “A” because he looked at you funny at last year’s fundraiser or local GOP event is no reason not to vote for him in a general if your candidate “B” loses to him in the primary. Remember, the Democrats are the enemy and we have to hope that if candidate “A” is Democrat-ish, he’ll at least have enough party pressure on him to temper that tendency.
But if a full-on Democrat wins in the general, there will be no holds barred on that leftism.
So, the idea is to fight as hard as possible during the primary. Do your best to beat the “winning” Republicans and install conservatives in their place. But don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
Democrats are always, always the enemy, the side that is destroying this country.
Lastly, I agree 100% that many Republicans are so close to being Democrats that they are only ruining the country more slowly. But that is why we have to fight harder and smarter in the primaries.
But there is one last thing to point out. You still have to vote your conscience, regardless. If you just can’t stand the guy your party is putting up in the general–and on legitimate, ideological reasons, not just pettiness–then don’t vote for him.But understand a non-vote is also a vote. It is a move that gives the Democrat a hand up. Certainly a non-vote is not a vote in favor of a Democrat. But a non-vote does give power to them. That is something to weigh in your decision.
It isn’t neat and clean. In fact, it is a pain in the ass, really. But reality is reality. And, yes, I hate it, too. I hate it that Republicans aren’t principled.