Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Tale Of Ideology and Loyalty: McCain & Murkowski

As an ideological realist, this blogger understands that as much as we need the TEA Party and the anti-establishment conservative movements to infiltrate and take over the Republican party, there will be times when backing an establishment candidate is necessary just as there are times when brutally opposing an establishment candidate is also necessary. When building a winning coalition, the tent must have boundaries yet still be wide and flexible enough to help us grow our ranks.

We have become so good at razor tongued rhetoric. And, the swords that are our keyboards are the sharpest they've ever been because we have had to condition ourselves this way to defeat a ruthless enemy.
Sometimes we inadvertently use these tongues and swords on our own when we should be keeping them sharp for the real enemy, the Left.

Like all movements, ours has its occasional disagreement. Ideological purists who support candidates like J.D. Hayworth and Chuck Devore for example go to the death fighting. Yet Carly Fiorina and John McCain are not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. Hayworth and Devore are good people. They just happen to be the right candidates at the wrong time. TEA Partiers can suck up losses like these.

What we can't suck up are losses to establishment candidates like Rossi in Washington, Ehrlich in Maryland, Bauer in South Carolina and Murkowski in Alaska. For the same reason, we can't suck up losses to Treadwell and Ramras in Alaska's Lt. Governor primary when we have a guy like Eddie Burke on the ballot. Those establishment opponents are true RINOs and true party insiders who represent the ideas and attitudes that need to go and need to go fast.

I'm going to the Restoring Honor Rally on Saturday. I look forward to hearing Glenn Beck speak. He's a great voice in our movement. But what he said on Fox and Friends this morning represents a knee-jerk reaction that we have all had at some point during our journey back to the shining city on a hill. When asked about the choice between Hayworth and McCain, Beck said "I don't know if I want to take sleeping pills or hang myself." While I normally agree with the crazy little fuzzball, I had to shake my head on this one.

If we are to be successful in rebuilding the Republican party in the spirit and vision of Ronald Reagan, the tent should go from McCain's side of the ideological spectrum to the Ron Paul side. But that's where we draw the lines. While we may not always see eye to eye, we must remember that the Left is our real enemy. When it comes to cleaning out our own ranks, we must pick and choose our battles. And there are enough real battles to pick and choose from within our own party considering there are more than enough Republicans who are outside these tent lines.

John McCain is not the ogre the right makes him out to be. I'll give you that he is far from being the most conservative guy in the world. But, he's not as big of RINO as some might think. His ability to navigate the political waters with more of a maverick style is a testament to his ability to not be made rigid by ideology. Yet, it has often cost him the confidence of the party faithful. He's far from perfect, but there are reasons why re-electing him to the Senate is not a big deal.
The ACU gives John McCain an 82% rating. ACU ratings are like marks you get on a test in school. If you come home with a 90 or above, your parents commend you. If you come home with an 80 or higher, your parents are okay with it but they want you to do better. If you come home with a 68, you get punished.

McCain has been getting his grades up. He got a 96% rating from the ACU this year, mainly due to his swing back to the right on immigration, cap and trade and especially health care reform. He gave one of the most fiery speeches he has ever given in opposition to Obamacare on the Senate floor - leaving one to wonder why he had not been that animated in his opposition to Obama on the presidential campaign stump. If anything, we're finding out that the guy who we didn't think had it in him is finally showing that he has it in him (better late than never).

But here's the trump card. John McCain gave us Sarah Palin.

While you can complain that he and his advisers didn't do enough to stick up for Palin during the campaign or even go as far as to say McCain cost Palin the election, John McCain did stand up for Sarah Palin when she was being beaten by the left, the mainstream media and even some of his own advisers after the election. John McCain could have thrown Sarah Palin under the bus. He didn't.

Watching the aggressive campaign he waged campaigned against Hayworth makes this blogger wonder why he wasn't like that during the presidential race. He must have learned a lesson. That nice-nice stuff that he did during the campaign against Obama didn't work and if I had to guess, McCain probably would have chosen different advisers - ones more like those he had helping him with his Senate campaign - had he had the opportunity to do it all over again.

As for the Palin - McCain loyalty, Rush Limbaugh sums it up here:

via PalinTV

Although loyalty can occasionally mean as much as ideology, if you have neither you are lost.

For example, Lisa Murkowsky is a true RINO. The ACU gives her a 68% rating. And she has no loyalty. She has dissed Sarah Palin at least twice as far as I know. And I'm guessing she's done it a lot more in private (think phone calls with her father or the Jay Ramras's of the party). That's fine. There's a rivalry there. But Murkowski was not loyal to her state and she was not loyal to her party when, instead of criticizing the real enemy (Democrats, liberals and malcontents) for the ridiculous debaucle of the frivolous ethics complaints that ground the state government to a halt, she criticized fellow Republican Palin instead when she resigned.

Should there be an upset in the GOP Senatorial primary in Alaska tonight, the sound you will hear will be Murkowski's chickens coming home to roost. She voted against the Republicans over 300 times and didn't take one for the team when Palin needed it most.

When John McCain came home from the election with an 82, he deserved a pat on the back and a parental "see, you got a decent grade but it would have been better if you didn't fail the Campaign Finance or Immigration tests." But some of the more ideological tougher members of our movement want to punish him  for not getting at least a 90. And that would be an understandable position if McCain didn't have a note from the teacher that said he gets extra credit for giving us Sarah Palin.

As for Lisa Murkowski, who comes home with a 68: go to your room! There will be no pork dinner tonight.

Tea Partiers, if Hayworth loses tonight, it's not a big deal. If Miller loses, it will not only bring joy to the Left but to Republican party insiders and elites that we are so committed to defeating.

Don't sweat the McCain primary tonight. Sweat the Joe Miller one.

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