There has been a lot of talk lately within the GOP about the need for unity. This is true nationwide, it is true here in Delaware, and it is true here in Sussex County.
But what do those calling for unity really mean by that? Some might say that unity will require that some submit their views and desires to those of others. That for there to be unity within the GOP, that some will need to compromise on issues that they feel strongly about. All in the name of unity and the good of the party.
We need only look to Mitch Daniels, who recently announced that he would not seek the GOP nomination for president. He had stated that for there to by a united GOP, that those who believe that social issues are as important as fiscal issues, should call a truce. In other words Mr. Daniels felt that one part of the party should sacrifice their fundamental beliefs for the good of the party.
Here in Delaware there are some within the GOP that have taken offense to the use of the word RINO, or “Republican In Name Only”. They say that the use of this term will only further divide the GOP. They have a point of course. I am sure that those who are described this way do not care for it. Most likely because it hits a little too close to the truth for them.
As we move closer and closer to the election, we will have to decide just what is a Republican. Now of course each person will think they have the answer. And as always, I think I have the answer. And as always many of you are not going to like it.
First let me say that I feel that the party is made up of three portions. First you have the rank and file voters. The people who donate the money, that support the candidates and who the party is honor bound to represent.
Then you have the party itself. The local committees, the state committees and the national committee. The party’s job is not to tell the rank and file who to vote for. The party’s job is to reflect the wishes of the voters. To get a feel for the mood of the people and then work to find candidates that best represent that mood.
Then you have the candidates. These are the brave souls who are willing to stand up and suffer the slings and arrows of the media and the opposition party and from their own rank and file many times. The candidates must always remember that their job is to work for and represent those who elected them. They must be people of honor. They must be people of integrity. They must clearly articulate their values and principles during the campaign. But more importantly, they must hold true to those values and principles once elected.
We often talk about the “BIG TENT”, and who is and isn’t welcome within the GOP. Personally I feel that anyone who holds to conservative values and principles are welcome. Of course there are slight differences and priorities for many people.
We have some within the party who are only concerned with fiscal issues. We have others who feel that we need to pay more attention to the social issues. And then there are people like myself that believe that we need only apply conservative principles to all issues to work towards solving them.
Because I am someone who feels deeply about social issues such as abortion, I have been accused of having a litmus test for candidates. Well of course I do. I am a voter. I have ideals for those whom I would cast my vote. The same as a fiscal only member of the GOP would have a hard time voting for a candidate that was anti-abortion, but who believed that tax and spend was the way to solve our economic troubles. We as voters are always looking for that perfect candidate. It is important that we demand that perfection, so as to get the best candidates.
So what will bring unity to the GOP? Conservative candidates. Within the rank and file we will always have diversity. This is a good thing. We will have people whose focus will be on fiscal matters. We will have people driven by social issues. We will have people who believe that all issues are of equal importance. This diversity is what will allow us to grow as a party. But we cannot compromise our principles for the sake of diversity.
This diversity must be reflected within the party machine. The committees at all levels must reflect the attitude of all of its rank and file. For the party to lose sight of this, means the end of the party. Because if the rank and file feel that the party is ignoring their will, then the rank and file will abandon the party.
So. Again, what will unite the differing factions of the GOP? Conservative candidates. We must demand that our candidates represent all factions of the rank and file. We must resist the temptation to narrow the definition of conservatism. We must have the courage to broaden the definition.
Our candidates must have the courage of their convictions. They must be willing to dare speak the will of the people. They must believe in the ability of conservative principles to solve our most pressing issues. Be they fiscal or social. We can no longer afford candidates that play to one faction of the party while taking another for granted. We must have candidates that will speak to all factions of the party. A candidate that will fight as hard for fiscal reform as they will for the life of an unborn child.
But if we can find these types of candidates, then we as a party must support them. We must stop listening to the media tell us who can or can’t get elected. We must stop listening as the Democrats tell us which candidate is best to run against them. We must understand that a straight line conservative candidate will appeal to the broadest group of people on all issues. They will appeal to independents and conservative Democrat voters as well.
So while I don’t feel that there should be a litmus test for members of the rank and file. I do believe that there definitely should be one for candidates. And that test should be whether they can articulate conservative solutions to all issues.
And the best way to stop the use of the word RINO, is to stop nominating them!