The opinions expressed by these candidates do not necessarily reflect the views of the party.
This is what should have been appearing at the forefront of every interview with a Republican politician for a hell of a long time.
Because, regardless of what Mike “God, Guns, and Grits” Huckabee might think, leadership and loyalty do not mean that you fall on your sword just to back up any moron with an “R” next to his name.
I had the misfortune of reading this statement by Huckabee yesterday:
“Lead, follow or get the heck out of the way. I’m sorry to be so blunt, but he’s the Speaker, that means he’s the leader. Then lead. Lead the members of Congress to support our party. Let’s support the entire ticket. Let’s support every person running for governor, every person running for senator and every person running for Congress, and let’s support our nominee for president. Let’s support our entire ticket, that’s when it works best.”
There’s a big problem with Huckabee’s thought process on what being a leader means (and I can’t even blame him, this is a man that has legitimately considered himself to be a conservative for years, meaning he clearly doesn’t understand the definition of the actual words used in the English language).
That problem is that being a leader doesn’t mean blindly and slavishly following what is popular or falling in line to support someone who is totally and completely unsupportable. The “we were just following party orders” excuse doesn’t work for us and it doesn’t impress us when Republican politicians or talking heads tell us that the party line is more important than conservatism.
I wrote about that when I wrote my book, A New Breed of Elephant. (Which, shameless self-promotion here, will be available for just $1.99 as a Mother’s Day Sale [in honor of my mother, who gave me the idea to write the book] for 48 hours starting on midnight on May 8th).
There is nothing wrong with establishing a set of beliefs and refusing to let other people’s opinions or values change them. I mean, sure, doing so has caused a few schisms and defenestrations in churches and countries over the years, but sometimes that’s necessary. The current Republican Party wasn’t created without a few political schisms along the way.
You know that saying about how going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than sleeping in a barn makes you a cow? Well, having an R next to your name (whether you’re in congress or just a registered voter) doesn’t make you a conservative either.
Inevitably a candidate or congressman or governor is going to screw up. They are going to say something stupid or spout off a personal opinion (the infamous “Todd Akin” moment comes to mind, though he’s not the first or last to handle questions on abortions with about as much finesse as an angry dragon in Madame Tussaud’s.) The unfortunate fact is that we are all human and we aren’t all as quick on our feet to avoid gotcha questions as we’d like, but the important thing is to be quick enough to keep non-conservative opinions from tainting the entire core of conservative values.
So when a congressman, that on every other issue is as conservative as the 2nd coming of Reagan himself, says that gay people are immoral or having an abortion will send you straight to hell, we need to be ready and willing to say that while it’s totally fine that they have their own opinions, that their beliefs have nothing to do with being politically conservative. The same thing goes for a politician that is a Republican, but inexplicably is cutting off free trade or thinks that Eminent Domain is “wonderful” (because it’s not like social issues are the only place where Republicans can, or have, strayed from conservatism). It’s fine to differ from conservative values on some issues for whatever reason (even if you are completely wrong) but claiming those views are conservative…that’s not okay.
And one further thing on the issue of criticizing candidates.
If a candidate is so abysmally bad and so utterly un-conservative that you can’t see how they could be of any benefit to the Republican Party or conservative goals in the long run…cut them loose. It actually is better to lose a handful of an elections every few years than it is to fight to put someone in place who will do nothing but damage our party (and potentially our nation) and embarrass every person who has to spend the next 2-6 years repeating “no, I don’t support what he/she said, because he/she isn’t a conservative!” to everyone from their uncle at Thanksgiving to the anonymous morons who send them messages on social media.
Being a leader means that you sometimes have to do things that are unpopular. Being a leader means standing up and saying “no, this is wrong, this is not what we stand for” and Paul Ryan is doing exactly that.
Mitt Romney is doing that.
Lindsey Graham (as much as it pains me to say it) is doing that.
Senator Ben Sasse, all three Bush’s, CNN’s S.E. Cupp, conservative writers and leaders from Sarah Rumpf to Glenn Beck to Jon Gabriel, to the YRNF Southern Vice Chairman Daniel Ruoss, and many many others are doing that.
We have stood up and refused to let Trump or the current direction of the GOP be what defines us.
(This is hardly a complete list of those who’ve said “no thanks” to a GOP led by Trump. And to be fair not all of those people listed want to lead us in the same direction. I for one would prefer a conservative party run by Romney and Ryan to one run by the Bushes or Glenn Beck.)
What people like Huckabee, Rick Perry, Ben Carson, and many others who have sold out the future of the GOP for a brief moment in Trump’s questionable (possibly nuclear) glow, seem to not understand is that being a conservative means that your loyalty is to our principles. We are devoted to a code of ideals, not to a political party.
They sold our future for much less than 30 pieces of silver (and they will be joining the previous purveyor of that bargain in a particular level of Dante’s version of Hell).
To quote one famous mind that was so dedicated to ideals that he was willing to go to war for them…
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
And that is all we are doing as conservatives. We have time and time again stated the causes that impel us to our separation from the assumed nominee of the once ‘Grand Old Party’ and nothing can compel us to support him. If the Republican party is set on this course, it can burn its bridges with us on the other side.
And I, for one, am glad that conservatives like Paul Ryan have found it within themselves to support ideas over party loyalty. I hope that does not change in the future. The only hope conservatism has is for those that believe in it to stand together and refuse to bow down to a candidate who has nothing even remotely conservative to offer.
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.