In 1996, one of the most influential people in my life told me that we often make a mistake in the Republican party of putting victory ahead of our principles. I agreed with him and Alan Keyes was my candidate of choice. He supported Bob Dole. I knew I was standing by my conservative principles when I cast my vote for Alan Keyes, but I always wondered did he support Bob Dole because he believed Bob Dole was the best choice, or did he think Bob Dole was the guy that could unseat President Clinton. Maybe he felt like many Republicans did back then, that we just owed it to Bob Dole for all the years of service to the Republican party he gave. Whatever his reason, Bob Dole was his guy.
But for so many other Republicans, it was well believed that Bob Dole could win back the White House. Winning the White House was more important than conservative principles. We lost that year and deservedly so.
We lost the election in 2006, not because we governed like conservatives, but because our Republican leaders spent so much money, even Liberals were embarrassed, perhaps they were just jealous because even they couldn’t spend that much. We tried to out lib the liberals, but were doomed to fail from the outset. We are not liberals, we don’t understand liberal thought, we can not do a better job of liberalism than liberals do. Attempting to do so is like a genius attempting to communicate with a chicken, our brains are too large to understand such puny thoughts.
Somehow we find ourselves just over a year from our defeat, not learning our lesson, not standing by our conservative principles, just looking for the first thing that looks like they can beat Hillary Clinton. We’re making a tremendous mistake worrying about whether or not we can beat Hillary Clinton, we need to be focused on how our party will be represented to the American people, and the rest will take care of itself.
I’m not sure why we are determined to repeat ourselves from two years ago, to put Republicans in office that we know will let us down as conservatives. John McCain might not be a liberal, but he is neither a conservative nor moderate. Mitt Romney argues that he needed to be to the left to govern a liberal state, which makes sense, but what happens to a President Romney when the left media pushes him hard to the left? Will he still govern from the Right, or will he do what he did in Massachusetts and cave to the left?
Mike Huckabee likes this compassionate conservatism, which means forcing other people to pay for his compassion, and this is what we are choosing to lead our party?
Our three staunch conservatives can’t seem to gain any traction, Duncan Hunter is somewhere close to Pluto because he can’t get his support. Ron Paul supporters have been labeled a bunch of kooks, and Fred Thompson seems to have captured the kooks of the last Presidential election.
But because we’d rather beat Hillary Clinton, we are going to be willing to overlook a few principles and nominate a guy who we think can beat her. The ironic thing is, she might not be our opponent in the general election, and you know, if we lose, it will be because we as the base of the party abandoned our principles.