Yeah. I’m as mad at the GOP as you are — then again I have been for a long time, not just lately. So, in the hope that something good could come of our losses, I listened in on Eric Cantor’s conference call launching the National Council for a New America (NCNA) project and you all saw my immediate report. I patiently listened to Representative Eric Cantor and Senator John McCain and heard the vague overview, I took note of the names that were attached to the project, and I realized the import of the five basic issues that they wanted to address. And I just knew what the first reaction to the idea would be. Certainly, I was not disappointed.
One commenter on my piece reflected what seems to be the most common reaction: “If John McCain is in, I’m out.” The same sentiment was expressed about Romney, but to a lesser degree. And I’ve heard this dozens of times over the few days since my report. That and much more, and scarce little of it has been complimentary.
As I said, I feel your pain.
Granted my work appears most often on conservative sites because, after all, I write from the conservative viewpoint. So, it is to be expected that John McCain would bring out the beast in my readers. We all know that it is McCain that thrills in repeatedly sticking his finger in the eye of every conservative in the country, not to mention the poor campaign he ran. If he expects all to be forgiven, he’s got another think coming.
Oh, I could lay out all the conservative objections to Mitt Romney, McCain, or a few of the other names currently connected with the project, for sure. But is there any value in doing so? In fact, is there any value in turning away from this idea without giving it any chance at all like so many are vowing to do?
Until something actually happens with this effort, I am going to have to say no, there is no value in not giving it a chance. In fact, I am going to have to say that we should encourage the conservative members of the effort to stick with the thing regardless. And we should not attack them for doing so, either. Yes, even if this thing turns into just another example of Romney flip-flopping or McCain eye poking we should support the conservative members of the thing and encourage them to stick it out.
Now before you get your conservative spine stiffened, or your conservative spleen all in an uproar, I am decidedly not saying we should support any mushy moderate, non-conservative ideas that might be expressed in this effort. What I am saying is that we should push the members of this thing that are conservative to speak up and not to allow themselves and their conservative ideas to fade into the background. I am saying we should stick with this thing and push the conservative message to be heard here.
Many of you will throw your hands up and say we should not even entertain any effort that allows the mushy moderates to have a forum. When it comes to debates on the floor of Congress, when it comes to crafting legislation, when it comes to pushing the conservative message, I am with you there. In those areas we should work hard to push our important principles.
But, here is the thing: If we leave the discussion to the moderates, will it be any surprise if our voice is ignored? In fact, if I were a moderate, I’d be happy if the conservative voice would walk away from the debate and give me the floor! Well, that is what we will be doing if we decide not to participate with the NCNA project. We will be giving the moderates the floor free and clear of any of our own ideas. And that would be a silly thing to do, don’t you think?
We need to remember one important point with this NCNA effort, folks. This national discussion IS the arena of ideas. It IS a debate. It IS a discussion. If we don’t participate at all, whose fault will it be if our ideas never get a fair hearing? It sure won’t be the moderate’s fault, it won’t be the Democrat’s fault, it also won’t be John McCain’s fault. If our ideas never get brought into the discussion it will be OUR fault for abandoning the field of battle for our safe, conservative enclave.
Also, do not expect this NCNA effort to be a conservative effort. It is a Republican discussion with America, not a strictly conservative effort and it isn’t meant to be a singularly conservative effort. Granted, none of us on the conservative side like it, but the simple truth is that there are many moderates in the GOP and they have every right to have their voice heard during this national discussion.
Let’s take some stock of ourselves and this effort, shall we? Think about yourselves for a minute here. How often do you consider yourself a Republican? My guess is that you consider yourself an American first, a conservative second and a Republican by default. So, now place yourself in context with this NCNA discussion and ask yourself a question: if you don’t consider yourself a Republican, why, exactly, should the NCNA cater only to your side of the issues?
You see, if the folks at the NCNA see that you have no real loyalty to the GOP and that you are going to walk away from this effort merely because you don’t like a few of the personalities included in the discussion, why should they bother with you? Were I them, I’d say good riddance to you.
Lastly, the NCNA is being called a discussion with America. This means that they are purposefully searching out the moderate’s opinions here. Moderates are being included by design (hence the inclusion of Romney and McCain). Like I said, this is not a conservative effort, it is a discussion seeking to hear from all corners of the country.
The final analysis here is that if we eschew this effort, if we walk away, we will be excluding our voice from the debate. We must stick through this thing and fight to get our ideas included in it by consistently urging the conservatives involved to speak our viewpoint. This does not mean that we have to accept the moderate voice, this does not mean that participation is bowing to their wrongheaded views, and joining this debate does not mean that we are turning against our own principles.
It means that we are proudly taking our rightful seat at the table and having our voice heard by the citizens of the nation. After all, should we be so stupid as to prevent the nation from hearing our important viewpoint by not bothering to speak up in a national forum?
Walking away would be self-destructive. It’s just that simple.