03 Nov Huff and Puff and Blow the Big Tent Down
If you have not heard the new gospel of political wisdom – that for Republicans to ever win elections again, they need to think and vote like Democrats – then you are living under a rock. If you have not heard the expression, “big tent Republicanism” (a reference to a very inclusive kind of Republicanism that defines “Republicans” as – “all sorts of non-Republicans”), you have been asleep. If you have not at least heard the thesis articulated that Republicans will become relevant again once they learn to “stretch the boundaries” of their ideology, then I envy you. For this latest fad has been repeated ad nauseam for some time now, and has been used to justify all sorts of political idiocy. Well, I am happy to report that the big bad wolf has come through town, and the alleged big tent of Republicanism has been blown down to the ground where it belongs.
It is counter-intuitive to the core to suggest that for a system of principles to succeed, that system of principles must be compromised beyond all recognition. But even apart from the obvious internal contradiction of such a sickeningly spineless way of thinking, all Republicans who have ever taken the principles of our founding fathers seriously have now gotten a chance to see exactly who is allowed in this proposed “big tent”, and who is not. What RINO’s and moderates and leftists mean when they say “big tent” is this: A big canopy wherein pro-life, anti-tax, limited government, national defense hawks can sit on the edges and show up to vote for pro-choice, pro-tax, big government, national policy doves. The “big tent” is a lie, and the big fraud who is Dede Scozzafava has done the Lord’s work in showing those of us who are principled conservatives exactly what “Big Tent Republicanism” looks like.
The fact that a candidate like Scozzafava could have ever picked up the endorsement of one single leader in the Republican party is incomprehensible to me. The fact that the Republican establishment could financially support such a candidate is embarassing to me. However, if the rationale for voting for RINO’s like this is that sometimes we have to take a pro-choice, tax-and-spend candidate with a (R) after their name so that a pro-choice, tax-and-spend candidate with a (D) after their name will not win, perhaps someone in the moderate middle (where all is squishy and pleasant and no one ever fights about anything) can explain to us ideologues on the Right why Dede Scozzafava has endorsed the Democratic candidate? Is this big tent sauce acceptable for the goose but not for the gander? Isn’t winning elections all that matters for RINO’s, even if it means seeing a (gasp!) tax-cutting, tea-party-attending, Reagan-loving, Fox News watching radical like Doug Hoffman get elected? Apparently not. Conservatives will wait in vain for anything resembling consistency and principle out of the squishy middle. And if we are hoping that these moderate RINO’s will represent our key to victory in 2010 and 2012, we are going to have something far worse than a big bad wolf to deal with.
My dad once told me that when your enemies tell you to sit still and be their friend, what they usually mean is, “don’t move while we bash your teeth in with a baseball bat.” It is the most unbelievably naive thing I have ever seen in my life that anyone on the Right would let these unprincipled windbags play any role whatsoever in defining our movement, our party, and our strategy. Is there room for some respectful disagreement about certain issues within the various shades of conservatism? Of course. But the shades need to be a shade of the same color, and when we start saying that black is white and red is blue, we get what we deserve. If our ideas are better than the ideas on the left (and they surely are), we do not need candidates that better espouse their views than ours. The moderate RINO’s apparently agree. They just happen to identify their own views more closely with the Democrats than they do the Republicans. Scozzy should be commended for her post-dropout honesty.
It is time to huff and puff and blow the big tent fallacy down. It will cost us elections for another generation if we do not. There is room in the true tent of conservatism for honest intellectual dialogue about the pressing issues of our day. But our enemies are not really concerned with our challanges in winning elections. If we hire our enemies to tell us what we need to do better, we can expect an answer that does not serve our own best interests. Keep huffing and puffing, and with a few more disgraceful stories like Dede Scozzafava, we will have the party of Ronald Reagan back again. You know, the party that ran a tax-cutting, cold war-winning, pro-life, limited government conservative for President, and won.