Senator DeMint: Freedom Builds the Tent

Much has been made lately of the Republican Party’s struggles – the latest involving the defection of Arlen Specter to the Democrat Party.

The fight has been cast by the commentariat and a few Republican politicians as a fight between ideological “purists” who, it is said, seek to shrink the Party, and the pragmatic sort who understand the need to remain inclusive.

I do not believe that is accurate – and it undermines the task before us to describe it so basically and so thoughtlessly. My observation is that when everyone is saying, essentially, the same thing, there is little thought behind it at all. How many times can yet another writer, observer, or “thinker” sitting in his office in Washington or New York explain to those of us in the trenches that we simply need to “be more accommodating,” and need to “expand the tent?”

They act as if conservatives want a small tent, to continue to use this tired and overused metaphor (used by many who have never been in a tent other than those put up at a horse race, wedding or fundraiser – by rich people for other rich people). Specifically, they misinterpret Senator DeMint’s recent remark suggesting he’d rather have 30 conservatives in the Senate than 60 unreliable ones to mean he wants to be in the minority.

NO. NO. NO. Of course he doesn’t (nor do any of us) want a minority Party. But he is saying, I believe, that if our Party cannot unite behind freedom and limited government, then what is the point of having 60?

In today’s Wall Street journal, Senator DeMint outlines his vision for the Party – and it is a vision appropriately rooted in the unifying power of freedom. These are the poles necessary to hold up the tent, he rightly contends. He says:

To win back the trust of the American people, we must be a “big tent” party. But big tents need strong poles, and the strongest pole of our party — the organizing principle and the crucial alternative to the Democrats — must be freedom. The federal government is too big, takes too much of our money, and makes too many of our decisions. If Republicans can’t agree on that, elections are the least of our problems.

I commend the full text of op-ed to you, and ask that your forward it to your friends and family. This is an important discussion that should not be monopolized by the “thinkers” in ivory towers who mischaracterize a belief in freedom and limited government as a “purity” test, when they offer nothing in the alternative but polls, weak policy ideas rooted in desperate populism and theories on “messaging.” This is not leadership.

Senator DeMint leads with a vision rooted in our fundamental principles and American exceptionalism.