A friend of mine, political activist and filmmaker Nina May, sent this essay to fellow conservatives and I thought it was worth sharing with RedState readers.
I remember a conversation in 2011 with the advisor of a GOP presidential candidate as though it replays in slow motion with the sound effects of Psycho echoing in the background. It was after one of the debates where they were all reduced to squabbling school kids throwing spit balls at each other and restraining their unveiled vitriol just short of thrown chairs and clinched fists.
We stopped one of the advisors after the debate and told them to please tell their candidate . . . who was our top choice at the time . .. to stop with the attacks on each other, and to focus on the target, which was Barack Obama. Now this is where the tape slows and the ominous sounds of a knife stabbing through a shower curtain begins as we witnessed the death of a possible victory. He said, “They have to attack each other because the winner of the Republican primary will be the next president.”
We shook our heads and replied, “You have just told us that Barack Obama is going to get a second term.” We put our checkbooks down and walked away from the crime scene, because it was a crime that the candidates listened to such boneheaded advice. It was a crime that they did not have the common sense to understand they needed to appeal to the voters by showing leadership not by attacking each other.
I sincerely hope that this time around the candidates get advisors who understand that no matter what they do, they are on the losing end of a very big stick that has been fashioned and designed for years to destroy not only them, but their party and the essence of the country they are trying to preserve. This is not politics as usual, this is a blood sport and the enemy is not a candidate from the same political party. They are allies who are working toward the same goal of providing leadership for a sinking ship of state. Voters want statesmen, not politicians.
Think of it as a beauty contest. When the girls come out on stage strutting their stuff, they don’t stop and point to the girl next to them and suggest she is uglier, fatter, skinnier, or less worthy than she is. They keep their eyes on the audience and realize they are there to impress and convince the judges. It is irrelevant what the other girls look like, what their talent is, how gorgeous their dress is. The contestants know they are responsible for putting their best foot forward and convincing the judges that they would be the best representative. And the moment one turns on another, suggesting that she is not qualified to wear the crown, is the moment that girl would most definitely lose.
If you look at the debates from the last presidential election cycle you can track the rise in the polls of one candidate, Newt Gingrich, for one very important reason. He basically got into the race with little chance of winning but he wanted to elevate the discussion to remind people of why they were there, why they were running and why it was so important for one of them to win. It resonated with the base and he got a huge spike in the polls. Unfortunately, he didn’t really understand the reason for his bump in the polls and quickly slid down to the level of personal attacks when he made himself the focus and not his message. It was a classic example of feeling the pulse of the voters and seeing what they were looking for and were anxious to support.
Lindsay Graham was just on TV suggesting that Hillary Clinton would have a better Iranian Peace plan than both Barack and fellow Republican [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ]. Write his name down and strike a line through it. Automatically he should be disqualified from throwing his hat in the ring for two reasons. He trashed a fellow Republican, breaking Reagan’s 11th commandment, and he elevated the “enemy” to a position of honor by suggesting she would be smarter than another Republican. Suggesting that Hillary Clinton would do anything intelligent as it relates to foreign affairs or national defense is ignorance on its face. So, that is just one example of how this new litmus test of statesmanship should play out.
Voters need to get the message out to their favorite candidates and remind them that the enemy is not within the walls of the Republican party but is the machine stamped “Clinton.” If they don’t, then we will be stuck with a polarizing, calculating, disingenuous, insincere, ambitious, entitled, inevitable, secretive, over confident person who will do anything to win, who represents the past and is out of touch with the voters. Not to mention a person who thinks she is above the law, can lie about why she only had a personal e-mail address, destroyed evidence on a personal server which could lead to the truth of what happened in Bengazi while an innocent film producer she blamed for four murders under her watch, languishes in prison.
Does the country want a woman at the helm who thinks she is above the law, who doesn’t really understand that she should be held accountable for things done on her watch and who basically rose to the level of US Senate and Secretary of State on the coattails of men? Her senate seat was the flowers and candy from a cheating husband and it is ludicrous to think that she could ever have run for senate in a state she has never lived in with zero name ID had she not been married to the president.
Her conciliation prize, for losing the presidential primary against Barack, was a job that she was not only ill equipped to handle but one that she exploited to enrich her personal foundation clearly breaking the law at every turn which most people would be thrown under the jail for attempting.
In addition to double standards, the fear factor will be used as this “woman” runs against those “evil” men on the Republican side of the isle. If women let her get away with playing the “victim” card, then they will become the laughing stock of the country and it will be a long time before another woman is given the chance to run and win. She is a victim because that is her power card but that is not leadership. Threatening the base with accusations of misogeny or chauvinism, if they don’t support her, is the sign of a small mind, a lack of leadership skills and a person who feels some how that she is entitled to be president. And if it is a woman they want, then give them Carly Fiorina who is far more qualified to be president than Hillary could ever dream of being.
Republican candidates for president need to understand the real enemy they are facing and should form a phalanx of opposition to her and if they shrink in fear from attacking her because she is a woman, that should be a clear sign they are not ready for prime time. She is the one putting herself in the race and to suggest she should be treated differently because of her sex on its face is an indication she is in way over her head. Women do not want just any woman for president. It has to be the right one and to insinuate that we will vote for her because of similar reproductive organs is an insult to 52% o the population. Those who support her because she is a woman would support her if she was a purple striped artichoke because they embrace the same leftist ideology.
So, the rules of engagement should be . . . if you attack a fellow Republican you should be disqualified for leadership. If you shrink away from attacking Hillary on the basis of her leftist views, her failed leadership in the State Department and her empty service as Senator, just because she is a woman, then you should be disqualified for leadership. If you ignore the conservative base and play to the liberals because that is what CNN, MSMBC and all the democrat mouthpieces tell you to do, you are not qualified for leadership. If you don’t understand that this position is not about you, but about preserving our freedoms, reestablishing the rule of law based on constitutional absolutes and equally applying the law to all citizens no matter who they are, then you are not qualified for leadership.
The voters are going to be much more discerning and demanding in this race and will absolutely refuse a candidate that is “tapped” by the establishment to represent the party. We have tried it their way for over 20 years and it has been a disaster at every turn.
But conservatives have no one to blame but themselves. I have witnessed during that same 20 year period, and beyond, the impossible requirements the conservative leaders put on all candidates, dividing, maligning, destroying and parsing every candidate until the voters are left with a scrap heap of weakened candidates. Then when they realize they have done nothing but empower the left, they scramble to resurrect one of their pilloried candidates only to find it is too late.
So, as conservatives who are identified by their fierce belief in the power of the individual and the liberties the constitution affords all citizens, and who realize there is a force in the country trying to restrict and redefine those liberties, we need to hold these candidates accountable, get behind the real statesmen, and reject infighting and character assassination within the party. We don’t need division at this critical point in the nation’s history. We need leaders with courage, confidence, faith and wisdom to understand who and what the opposition is trying to do to our great nation. This is hardball and the enemy is not within the ranks of the party . . . yet.