Think back to that crazy election season.
A moderate Republican is nominated for the Presidential Election. As conservatives, we cross our fingers and vote for the candidate closest to our ideals – the lessor of evils, some feel. But when it’s done, we swear we will never do it again. No more salt with our votes! So we begin to search, recruit and develop candidates for the next election. Except, next time, in a social media-driven, buffet style political environment we become the picky ones in line. “No, not this one.” “Meh, I don’t like his tone.” “No way! Because he said _____! *collective gasp!*”
Then of course, the inevitable “RINO!” comes forth. A term that has been so overused, so liberally applied (sorry, no pun intended), it has essentially reversed it’s original meaning. After all, if nearly every Republican is “in name only,” then perhaps the Republican Party is not Republican.
But this is where we’re wrong. The Republican Party has never been more conservative in a century. In the last decade, we managed to move both the Republican Party, and America in general toward a more libertarian-esque, principles-based awareness of government.
Yet, we sit there and pick, prod and provoke each other, with a new flavor every month. Candidates come and go, egos rise and fall and eventually, the moderate has a chance to win again, regardless of the 75% opposing them in the Party.
Am I describing the 2011-12 debacle? Or 2008? Maybe this year… You can’t be sure, can you?
That’s because we’re doing it again.
In 2011, conservatives developed a trait rarely seen on our side of the spectrum. We conducted an insatiable activist, micro-analytical primary process that could be affected by a few-second pause as much as anything else. Revelation of an extra-marital affair would have likely had less an impact than saying “oops,” like every single human being has sometime in their lives.
But here we are, impatient as ever; demanding as ever. Like toddlers insisting on the carrots over beets, or apple juice over the orange. As a result of the fantastic tea party revolution in 2009, we became rockets of reason, boasting our own principles without guidance and redefining candidates as “conservative” or “douche,” hinging on a single issue or two without any regard to their actual records or circumstances.
As a result, we got the very type of nominee we were trying to avoid.
When 75% of the electorate opposes a candidate, that candidate should lose.
But when eight, no 10…. I mean, 13… or, wait, SEVENTEEN CANDIDATES jump into the process, even a balanced race would grant everyone 5.9%. If this were an episode of The Bachelor, it would take four days and I would hate it…. well, I hate it anyway. But I hate this show even more.
Impatience isn’t a virtue, conservatives.
In 2009, we demanded something better. We had a revolution of sorts. Thousands of seats across America began filling with bouncing baby conservatives, being groomed for future ranks. But in 2011, we almost had too much for our own good, and we flubbed the primary. The moderate we opposed won anyway, even if it was with a little sweat. But we clearly didn’t learn. Because we’re doing it again.
This year’s quiver of candidates is arguably the most wide-ranging, talented and conservative in my lifetime. We have a neurosurgeon, evangelicals, mainline, Catholics, lawyers, CEO’s, governors, Senators, black, latino, female, and… we even have a couple of “why?” candidates for good measure. Who cares, right?
But already, conservatives are stubbornly digging their lines, like we used to in WWI, when armies would throw masses of bodies at each other and large casualties were an expected cost of war. But this is a job application, not war. We have 17 candidates vying for the top spot, and rather than hiring someone based on relevant experience, we’re looking for those who tickle our fancy just right who talk their way into a job they’re not best for. How many times have you heard, “well, I’m waiting to see how it shakes out?” or, “no one has really impressed me yet?” “Impress??” Since when have we gone from despising politics as usual to waiting for it like a lazy addict? If we were hiring for an organization, I would sell stock in it immediately, because that kind of standard is doomed to fail.
We have our best candidates, America. Conservatives everywhere should be rejoicing at how many great people we have in our farm system. But some are already in the major leagues and ready to play.
When it comes to politics, conservatives have always practiced measure, logic and principled pragmatism. Impatience could spell the end of this conservative revolution, and I don’t want to be witness to it.
All I ask is that voters stop seeking candidates based on the same standards of their liberal counterparts and start being conservatives again. After all, “conservative” does mean “holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion.”
There’s nothing cautious about throwing our body of voters at every fancy salesman that comes to town. Pick the most qualified candidate because they’re the best one for the job – not because they “impressed” you – and work to persuade your neighbors of the same.
Be conservative, again.
Oh, and since many of you are probably wondering, I’ve hired my candidate, here.