Sunday, September 27, 2009

Lessons Not Learned by Larry Miller

Where has the principled courage of the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) gone? Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds has been raising a ruckus about a thirty year old thesis written by his Republican opponent Bob McDonnell. This thesis, written in youthful enthusiasm, said such terrible things as killing unborn babies was wrong and that children raised by stay-at-home mothers tended to fare better than those whose mothers worked outside the home. Deeds questions how anyone with such outdated ideas could be taken seriously. RPV has no defense, only a strategy of duck and cover.

While times have changed, principles have not. Former Attorney General McDonnell may express himself differently these days, but I would hope the ideals of the young student have not changed significantly. Instead of defending ideas that have broad appeal in the normally red state of Virginia, RPV Chairman Pat Mullins issued a statement complaining that Mr. Deeds has introduced divisive social issues into the campaign. One has to wonder if this is the milquetoast leadership the party insiders were looking for when they ousted Jeff Frederick from the position and replaced him with Mullins a few weeks before this summer's convention in Richmond. A recent Rasmussen poll shows that 74% of Republicans believe that their congressional representatives have lost touch with the voters. Is it much of a stretch to believe the same of party leaders as well?

The Republican candidate, who is a good man and has compiled a strong conservative record during his years in the General Assembly, is now running as a jobs and energy moderate... not that there is anything wrong with either issue. They are about making a living... not a life. As this is written, McDonnell is up by four points over Deeds... down from double digits a few weeks ago. Unfortunately it appears that his political gurus are working to mellow him down the same road of defeat that they showed previous candidates for this position, Jerry Kilgore and Mark Earley.

Further evidence of the emasculation of the party in the Old Dominion came to light when House of Delegates candidate Catherine Craybill had the audacity to say "We have the chance to fight this battle at the ballot box, before we have to resort to the bullet box. But that's the beauty of the Second Amendment right. I am glad for all of us that we can enjoy the use of firearms for hunting, but make no mistake. That was NOT the intent of the Founding Fathers. Our Second Amendment rights was to guard against tyranny."

Again the official party and candidates are running for cover. The RPV Chairman going so far as to deny any support to the candidate and suggesting she would not be the best one to run for the office. Imagine what they would do if Patrick Henry returned and gave his “give me liberty or give me death” speech that we admire so much two hundred thirty some years in the past.

Republicans have lost favor with the voters because they have talked a good game but failed to live up the their espoused values. We see here two opportunities to show there is substance to the party and candidates, but we see the party and so many candidates rushing to the mushy middle.

Consultants will tell us that roughly 40% of the voters will be on one side and 40% on the other. The battle, therefore, is for the 20% in the middle. The conventional wisdom that has been failing the Republicans in recent years is that to win these votes, you have to look and sound like the people in the middle... thus losing the support and respect of your base. What Ronald Reagan did was to explain the conservative position so effectively that those in this middle ground understood and came along. This is the way to deal with independent voters!

When will the party of Reagan learn that it was principled stands that brought it to power and that deserting these values led to defeat. We are faced with an administration in Washington audaciously sticking its nose in many areas constitutionally ceded to the states at a rate many times faster than that of any previous administrations. We need bold leadership to stand up to it, not timid politicians afraid to take a position.

Victory or defeat, that is the choice. It seems that no one appears to remember what George Santayana told us, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Republicans have the choice to stand unapologetically on the conservative values people expect and respect or they can hide in the bushes and watch while the country falls apart around them.

The only saving grace for the Republicans may be the stench the Democrats have become in the nostrils of a significant block of voters. While many of us are looking for anything that will put a crimp in Obama administration's expansion at this point, the danger is that winning with this strategy will condemn the Republican Party and the country to an even longer string of so-called moderate, ineffective candidates to oppose the downright socialist, if not fascist machinations of the Democratic Party.

The best hope is that the candidate for Attorney General, Senator Ken Cuccinelli, leads the ticket on election day, showing that a true conservative, running on conservative principles, particularly from the liberal bastion of northern Virginia, can attract more support than candidates running on a Democrat-lite platform.

Originally posted at Political Christian blog: