It’s not you. It’s us. It was always about us and our complete frustration with the failure of the two main political parties. What happened in November between conservatives, hard-core #NeverTrump, and yourself was a marriage of convenience, and it was also the perfect storm for any third-party candidate to take votes away from two deeply flawed candidates such as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. I’m sure you know this. You seem to be a smart guy.
You were the last man standing of the third-party candidates I could have voted for as a conservative. I give you credit for putting yourself out there to be an alternative choice for us. Thank you for that. But the Hillary / Trump choice made it easier for those of us who got tired of voting for the status quo Republicans to finally reject both horrible candidates. I doubt any of us would regret rejecting this binary choice, and it wouldn’t have happened without the Trump nomination.
Here’s the thing, though. #NeverTrump ended after President Trump’s election. It’s time to move on. I remain just as skeptical of President Trump as you are, but if you’re planning to run for office again in the future, you should know that your current strategy is turning off many conservatives who were willing to give you a shot at being an alternative voice. Suddenly, we are remembering why this happened, and that your conservative street cred is not exactly the strongest compared to others we trust to speak for us. I’m starting to regret voting for you, even under these unique circumstances.
Senator Lee, Senator Cruz, and Senator Sasse have earned the right to call themselves conservatives, based on their record and their activism in support of conservative values. You have not. But there’s time here to earn the credit we have given you by our votes last November. Conservative street cred is merit-based. It’s time to re-direct your energy to fighting battles that matter to the rest of the country – defending religious liberty, committing to the full repeal of Obamacare, and pushing for legit tax reform that reduces the burden on the American people. Our President will rise and fall on his own merits. There’s nothing we can do to change that. Use your new-found platform to do more than snipe at our President. It would benefit you and the country you love. Think about it, ok?
Mark Levin explains what we are missing in the new Reagan wannabes.
Reagan helped build and lead the modern conservative movement. That can’t be said of any of the current Republican candidates. He helped give it substance and voice. He fought the Left in Hollywood. He was an outspoken Barry Goldwater supporter when Goldwater was fairly unpopular with the general public. He took on Gerald Ford, challenging him from the Right. Indeed, his candidacies in 1968, 1976, and 1980 were all ideologically based. And he obviously won in 1980 as the most conservative candidate in modern history. And both as a candidate and president, Reagan constantly spoke of conservative principles, as he had since the mid-to-late 1950s. He was not a recent convert. He used his position to educate the people about government’s limits. But he also understood, like Edmund Burke and many others, that changing half a century of liberal government would take time.
So, while he couldn’t succeed in every respect as president, and would reach compromises now and then, he tried to push the massive ship of state in the right direction. And he had many successes (too many people focus on the setbacks). He left a legacy that could have been built upon by his successor, but it was not.
That’s it. That’s where Giuliani, Romney, McCain, Huckabee and others can’t duplicate Reagan — the leadership he showed, not only as President, but as someone who not only believed in conservatism and was willing to fight in the arena of ideas. You can’t buy that kind of resume. You can’t be converted into it. You can still believe in conservative principles to varying degrees, and still not have the ability to fight for and advance those principles as Reagan did while he was our President.
Most of our top tier candidates are more than capable of leading the country in the right direction, but as far as finding a new leader for conservatism, you won’t find one of those in the Republican presidential candidate pool. Maybe we need to look somewhere else for that person, and be willing to settle for someone who won’t exactly be the kind of leader that Reagan was. The future of conservatism is not in the hands of any of these men, or in the hands of the Democrat contenders. So it won’t be lost no matter what happens in the next presidential election. We just have to fight a little harder if Hillary wins.
Tags: ’08 election, Ronald Reagan, conservatism, Republicans