This is an uncomfortable position conservatives find themselves in as a result of last night’s election results – between electability and the raw passion of the tea party candidates. Not every conservative should be considered electable. For every Nikki Haley – who has shown incredible message discipline and restraint in the face of scurrilous accusations against her – there are several candidates who lack that ability when facing even the smallest challenges. I’ve said this previously, but I think it is important to remember that activists don’t always make the best candidates. They play very different roles in a political party. That’s the thing to remember with some of these winning tea party approved candidates – the transition from one role to the other is sometimes difficult. These populist heroes won’t say the PC thing most of the time and this will get them into trouble with the media. This is what we love about these guys and gals, but it’s an easy way for a nascent campaign to sink before it even leaves the harbor.
I love rebels too, and appreciate the sacrifices those potential candidates have to make to run for office. For that reason, there must be a process of vetting, interviews, and other training to properly prepare them for the challenges they will face. Of course there will always be candidates who are more than a little risky, such as Sharron Angle and Rand Paul, but ultimately the voters in this country win when the average person starts caring enough to take the challenge personally and run for political office. Political parties, and specifically the Republican Party, need to do a better job in nurturing and developing young and unproven talent in their ranks so that they can have a strong farm system for the future and so that we don’t have the same guys running for President every four years.
America was not designed to be run by elitists – nor was it designed for pure mob rule. What we need to find here is some middle ground – a government that will be responsive to the needs of the people without being subject to the whims of daily polling and public opinion that is too often swayed by a slanted press corps. That’s not where we are in the state of American politics. What we have is a bloated federal bureaucracy that is incapable of being the kind of government we need, and the American people are beginning to wake up to that truth — that’s the idea behind the growing tea party movement in this country. It could be reasonably argued that both parties (yes, even the Republican Party) share the blame for the massive spending, but the sins of one party should not serve as an excuse for the other party to continue the bad behavior. That’s where I believe the average citizen, and the tea party protests serve the purpose of drawing the line here, to say, “Enough of this. It’s way past time for Congress to start being more responsible with taxpayer money.” Nothing at all wrong with that.
The average citizen may not be the most eloquent, and in some cases, may know just enough to question the direction of government policy without getting a front row seat to the halls of power. Engagement in the political process by all citizens should be encouraged, but at the same time, we also have a responsibility to be able to argue intelligently on the issues of the day. While I believe that everyone should have a voice, I think it’s in the best interest of opponents of the policy positions of President Obama and the Democrats to know what they are talking about. The media will continue to do what it does best — shredding the reputation of good and decent people who care about their country to burnish their merit badges and keep their invites to the hot cocktail parties. It’s up to us not to give them any additional ammo by bringing our A game, doing our research, and being armed with the facts when discussing policy.