Getting involved on the grassroots level of politics usually means that, during that process, you end up meeting people who are very passionate about the candidates they are supporting and the party they belong to.  It’s necessary that there is diversity of opinion in a political party, and there is no possible way that everyone will always be on the same page. What worries me going into ’08 is that this passion will cause divisions between members of the same party who, after our candidate is selected in the primary process, could refuse to support that candidate because he might not pass all the ideological roadblocks that have been placed in his path.

There are folks that I respect very much who have decided to support several of the second and third tier candidates in the Republican field.  I also know several people supporting Romney and McCain whose opinions I value a great deal.  In the absence of a viable “true conservative” who is 100% in the Reagan mold, we have the current front-runners, who all have some problems with the conservative base.  During the primary process, it is absolutely fair to try to convince supporters of another candidate, like Romney, for example, to back a more conservative, but less viable candidate like Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, or Sam Brownback. I don’t think the conservative cred of any of those gentlemen is in question.  I will concede that to their supporters. But there are other considerations for the Republican nominee for President than just being conservative enough for the base.

There is a fight going on for the soul of the Republican party. Every group wants a piece. The SoCons  (or the religious right), the fiscal conservatives, those who are more liberal on social issues, and the “compassionate conservatives” who support excessive spending on programs that do not work and see no problem with allowing illegal immigrants who have broken the law to continue to do so…these are just a few of the constituency groups we have to deal with. This is a healthy debate to have within the party, and one could make a strong case that the Republican party has strayed from its roots. I don’t think you would get much argument from conservatives on that, especially social conservatives.

But I’m not ready to exclude candidates who have a good chance of winning the nomination / Presidency simply because they can’t check off on a checklist all the conservative hot button issues. There are others who feel the same way that I do about this, and none of us should feel that we are less of a conservative just because we may not be supporting the most conservative candidate in the field.  This is the message we are getting, whether intentional or not, from supporters of Huckabee, Hunter, and Brownback, and I just don’t think that this is the best argument to make to fellow conservatives.

There seems to be this fear that the Republican party will lurch inexorably left should Giuliani or Romney get the nomination. I don’t see this happening. Conservatives will always be part of the Republican party, just like liberals will always be part of the Democratic party. This won’t change.  The Republican party has had capable and worthy nominees for President not named Ronald Reagan in the past and the same will be true in ’08, whether the candidate is conservative or not.

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2 thoughts on “struggle

  1. There’s still time for other candidates to gain support. I hope that my pessimism is unwarranted and that out of the group of conservative candidates we will get one person who can make it a competitive contest with Romney, Giuliani, and McCain. I think the problem we have is that there is no consensus with conservatives on who that candidate should be, so we have people for Hunter, Huckabee, Tommy or Fred Thompson, and maybe even a few for Brownback. A conservative candidate would have a better shot at the top tier if all the conservatives were supporting the same guy, but they are not. Maybe this needs to change, if we are serious about nominating someone we consider conservative enough.

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