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One thing I preach is to “be careful how you criticize, especially when it’s one of your own”. It’s not that I think Republicans are above being criticized, they should be. Anybody elected to office should be criticized. That’s what freedom of speech is all about, that even the crazed wacko has a right to criticize the direction of this country. We might not always agree in this country, we aren’t always going to be right, and certainly no individual has all the answers. Despite that, we have the right to speak for or against our government without fear of government taking legal action against us.
That being said, I like to be mindful of who I’m criticizing and how I do it. Everybody does it, it’s just in what regard. I can hear the left crying foul “He admits it, he’s a far right wing nut”, while Libertarians, Tea Party Patriots, and the Paulistinians are fuming with rage that I’m “an agent of the Republican Party”, “a Neo-Con”, or a “big government Republican”. I am who I am, take me or leave me.
But while they’ll criticize me for being hesitant when it comes to criticizing members of my own party, I can hear crickets chirping when it is time for them to criticize one of their own. All of them, Democrats, Libertarians, Paulistinians, and Tea Partiers. While Michael Moore and the left foamed at the mouth with rage because George Bush played a guitar while Hurricane Katrina hit, where is their outrage now that the North East coast is still ravaged from their own storm? Have you ever heard a Paulistinian think Ron Paul was anything but a God? Individual Libertarians have views that would shred the Constitution, but do you ever hear these people condemned by other Libertarians? And the Tea Party? Where shall I begin with their deserved criticism?
Yes, Republicans ought to be criticized, but alliances matter. While individual Libertarians might be for big government, most Libertarians are not and I can agree with them on a vast majority of issues. While I do not think Ron Paul is God, there are a lot of issues that he stands for that I can agree with him on. The Tea Party? There are numerous things that annoy me about many groups and individuals in the Tea Party, but their heart is in the right place. Even when it comes to Democrats, while I can’t agree with most of their beliefs, I can work with them on issues that we agree on. It is not my goal to make enemies out of potential allies, but rather build strong relations with natural allies. Sometimes building those strong relationships means biting your tongue.
I think of mini-series ‘John Adams’ in which Ben Franklin is lecturing Adams:
“It is perfectly acceptable to insult a man in private and he may even thank you for it afterwards but when you do so publicly, it tends to make them think you are serious.”
This points out Adams’ primary flaw: his bluntness and lack of gentility toward his political opponents, one that would make him many enemies and which would eventually plague his political career. It would also, eventually, contribute to historians’ disregard for his many achievements.
For what it is worth, John Adams lived an extra-ordinary life, but his abrasiveness undermined everything he stood for. This is the problem that I mostly have with our side, we’re so “right” that we can’t possibly be wrong. No matter how right we may be on an issue, our side, the Right of center needs to be a little bit more engaging. On that point, John McCain has it right.
On political issues, you could call John McCain a “conservative”, you can call him a “moderate”, even a “maverick” or a “RINO”, but it’s not his stance any political issue that bothers me. Take Snowe or Graham, whose views often times makes John Kerry look moderate, and they still aren’t as harmful to the Right as John McCain is.
The problem is that John McCain acts like the Republicans are his enemies and the Democrats are his friends. John McCain isn’t Sen McCain (R-AZ), but he is Sen. McCain (I-AP). It’s almost as if John McCain thinks he is super photogenic and that the Associated Press are his constituents. He’s great at criticizing, but while we’re used to him getting on television and criticizing Republicans, it would be nice to see John McCain criticizing Democrats every once in a while too.
When it comes to getting free air time, John McCain’s backbone his made of titanium and he courageously takes a stand. When it comes to standing strong on an issue, his knees buckle and he’s either rushing to compromise or whimpering in a corner hoping nobody notices that he’s voting with the conservatives.
It seems to me that if Barack Obama wanted to execute all Republicans in America, John McCain would be willing to find the “middle ground” rather than take a stand. He would come out with a compromise that would surrender only 50% of Republicans and claim it as being reasonable. The next month, Barack Obama would come out with a plan to execute all remaining Republicans, and John McCain would again try to find the middle ground and suggest that 50% of the remaining Republicans be executed.
But more importantly, he’d go on television and criticize the Republicans who don’t want to be executed for not being more willing to compromise. Perhaps John McCain would be better served if he wasn’t so anxious to make enemies on the Right.