If there is one thing we can say about the conservative/constitutional wing of the political spectrum is that it is nothing if not predictable. Every election we seem to do the same things. We will split hairs on the degree of adherence to tertiary policy questions. (“NO! They are not tertiary concerns. THEY ARE FUNDAMENTAL!”, I hear you cry). We will attack any fellow conservative who doesn’t agree with a particular strategy – challenging their integrity or GASP!, whether or not the individual is a “true patriot”. We will demand absolute perfection, (almost godlike perfection) in any candidate that we choose to get behind. It’s these characteristics of our movement that is propelling us into the majority in every election.
Let’s compare this to the Liberals or even the establishment GOP. They go for numbers first, policy second and they get both. They anoint a candidate, they stifle their differences, they circle the wagons, they attack the opposition- not themselves, they push ahead, and they win. Again and again and again.
We scream about being “left out” of the process. We decry the rigged nomination process. We are appalled at the duplicity of it all. We wonder, when will the American public wake up? We nitpick about why we lost. We clamor for a third party who will finally challenge the Establishment. Again, and again, and again.
This isn’t a deep mystery of the Universe. It’s a political tradition. In fact, one can see this tradition being played out in the 2012 Republican primaries for President, and in the Republican U.S. Senate primary here in Virginia. Do you see the Left wing challenging Obama despite his poor approval ratings? Do you see them making noise over “principles”? Do you see significant challengers to the anointing of Tim Kaine? No. You see them organizing, donating, and getting ready for the Election of the Century. They intend to win it at all costs. We apparently intend to split our vote again and make sure that we lose.
To my fellow constitutional conservatives- let’s do a little math, OK?
Take a look at the U.S. Senate Republican primary here in Virginia. George Allen will get his 40-45% percent of the vote no matter what. Doesn’t matter whether or not you think he should get 10%. He’s got his base, and they will vote for him no matter what. That leaves the not-George-Allen-vote, about 60%, now being split four ways. Those candidates in order of their entrance into the race- Jamie Radtke, David McCormick, Bishop E.W. Jackson, Tim Donner. (Any other vote splitters out there? C’mon in – the water’s fine!) That means that the anti- Allen vote is going to be divided between at least 4 people, leaving Allen with the majority.
NEWS FLASH! All of these 4 candidates: Radtke, McCormick, Jackson, and Donner are fine people. They are all good, solid conservatives. They all support the tea party. They have all helped the tea party. So jockeying over position of “who’s stronger on the percentage of cuts of ethanol subsidies” or “foreign aid should be cut by 50% or 75%” is not the issue. WINNING IS THE ISSUE.
So, my fellow constitutionalists, we have a choice. We can rally around, go for the numbers and propel the most likely to win candidate into office, or we can be in the rather nasty position of having to choose between Kaine and Allen in November 2012. So what will it be? Winning or perfection?
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