I had the opportunity to spend two hours with Steve Deace on drive time WHO today. First, thanks to Steve for the opportunity.
Steve posed an important question for people who think that the Republican party has lost its ideological purity-why stick with us? The sound bite answer is because if we don't win the Democrats do.
That seems like a bromide but it is also quite profound. So think about the implications if you're mad at the President over the border, or Congress over the budget or, say you don't think that we push abortion hard enough, or for whatever reason. Or, think about two words-Bill Clinton.
Remember the number and nature of the public issues that a major political party in America must discuss. There are many, many public issues upon which the Republicans and the Democrats must take a position of some kind. You will never, never (did I say never) find unanimity on all of those issues. It has never happened since the Civil War. There are just too many issues and now some 60 million people that you have to find agreeable to win the national elections.
The entire point of the American political system is compromise. How many Repulicans are super hawks like me? Certainly not every Republican or we' d have done things very differently over the last 5 years to be sure. Should I leave the Republican party because we won't invade Iran and Syria?
Whenever you are personally ready to judge the party based on the strength of your convictions about an issue remember there are other people who also feel very strongly, but differently than you, about the same issues. How do we deal with them-do we say "you cannot be Republicans because you disagree with Ted, or Steve, or Ralph on the importance of a border wall"?
Even in the case of a strong moral principle the need for compromise exists in politics, not principle. Steve and I talked at length about abortion and homosexual marriage rights as two issues about which social conservatives feel strongly. But Steve confuses executing a political decision with adopting a personal moral principle.
Assuming that you are a conservative who feels the Republicans don't sufficiently promote your principles, or do or say some things that are at odds with your principles, you do not abandon your principles by voting Republican. You are merely making a time and date specific choice between someone who probably agrees with you and, if given more power in government would implement an agenda far more to your liking than the status quo, and someone who, at best, views you as benighted social ludite who needs exposure to the progressive views of the liberal Democrats. At worst you are despised as a racist, sexist, fascist imperialist who needs cleansed or, at least, re-educated (this is the John Kerry and Hillary Clinton mold-the true Marxist humanist).
Steve was pretty hard on our young candidate Nick Van Patten. Well, if Nick wins and the Republicans take control of the Senate residents of Iowa probably will get a shot at voting on a constitutional homosexual marriage amendment. If Matt McCoy wins and the Democrats control the Senate then you will not get that vote. Same is true for abortion. If you don't feel the Republicans are doing enough or saying enough, Matt McCoy, Jo Oldson, and Ako Samad in the legislature will openly fund Planned Parenthood, put abortion education in the schools and push your principle based goal a generation down the road. When voting you're making a political choice in supporting the candidate who will implement the policies that reflect your principles not compromising your principles.
There is a similar example in every issue. Almost every election is the pursuit of someone with whom you agree on the greatest number of the most important issues of the day. So, for every hacked off tax or budget hawk of 92 that voted for the demagouge Ross Perot, how'd you like Bill Clinton because, in the real world, that was your choice. So, unless you think Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Steven Breyer are going to change their minds any time soon, you really stabbed the conservative movement hard with that Perot vote 'cause very hard with that implication of imposing your personal idelogical will on the nation.
This is not to say that within the Republican Party we can't disagree on ideology, fight to nominate candidates with whom we ideologically identify and really duke it out in adopting the platform. That is our job as activists. But come November of every even year we face a stark political choice. The Republican base are those voters who always choose Republican in even numbered Novembers, even though we disagree, maybe strongly, on some issues with nominees.
So I, like all of you, will look for people every November that seem more likely to create a world more rather than less the way I want to see it. I've never agreed 100% with any politician in my life, most of you haven't either so stick with the Big Red Team until we smash liberalism and then we can split up into our constituent groups to futher change the world.