Principle as Political Liability

What a weird campaign season we are having. Let me present you a truth that some of you may bristle under, but is true nonetheless.No matter how right the cause or principle, it may still be a political liability.I’ll start with the one you’ll agree with it. Barack Obama and many on the left may believe that abortion . . . er . . . um . . . “women’s health except for mammograms, pap smears, and the like — contraception only —” is a fundamental right necessitating the Catholic Church foregoing its own tenets and forced to give out free birth control pills and abortifacient drugs, but those who agree are deluding themselves that it will not also be a political liability. Let’s try another one. Barack Obama and the Democrats may believe that socializing healthcare in this country is the right and proper thing to do, but it has also been proven to be a political liability.How about this one: God bless Mitt Romney for being a capitalist’s capitalist making millions on Wall Street, but it will be a huge political liability in November.Oh, one more. Come on! Rick Santorum may be absolutely right on the principles of morality and social decay in this country, but it will be a political liability with independent voters.The funny thing is that many of you on the left who read the first two were shaking your heads in absolute disagreement and then agreeing with the latter two. Those of you on the right had the opposite reaction.Partisans typically do. It is for level headed strategists, consultants, and pundits to try their best to overcome their partisan world views and accept reality. Some things you and I may love about a candidate may actually be real political liabilities for that candidate in a general election.


In prior years it seems a candidate would try his best to minimize the political liabilities of his principles or offset those liabilities with some real political assets. For some crazy reason this year, it seems the President and his Republican rivals are hell bent on attaching spotlights and banners to their political liabilities and running with them in a “rally the base” campaign that’s doing nothing but burning bridges on all sides.If Republicans are to win in November, it is incumbent on both the base and the die hard supporters of each of the candidates to recognize that some principles are worth fighting for, but some of them cannot be fought for if they become political liabilities denying that candidate the White House. In that regard, if Rick Santorum really believes we’re going to hell in a hand basket, perhaps he should campaign on fixing the place instead of pontificating on theological matters and mangling Edmund Burke.Likewise, perhaps MItt Romney has gone overboard in the opposite direction. If principles can be political liabilities, he seems to have calculated that he should run his campaign on having no principles to minimize the liabilities.Unfortunately, just as there really is no such thing as an atheist, there is no such thing as a man without principles. The lack thereof is a principle in itself, just as the rejection of God becomes a replacement for the Almighty.We really are a party on the verge of suicide against an imminently beatable President. The beltway Republicans are finally starting to realize it, but I fear it may be too late. And far be it for me to point it out, but I see no reason the base of the Republican Party should trust the judgment or candidate alternatives of any person who has peddled Mitt Romney for half a decade. The ship, my friends, is sinking. It can be saved. But not if we don’t first realize the reality we are in, instead of the one we want.



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