I’m honestly tired of conservatives, the people. It’s not because they aren’t nice people, smart, and friendly, but it’s because they simply don’t get politics.
Our Founding Fathers were noble, good people who had hearts of gold and sincerely wanted to create something that would ensure our continued freedoms. However, they were also shrewd and successful politicians.
There is a reason why Thomas Jefferson didn’t stand up for the freedom of the blacks in 1776, even though personally he wanted to end slavery. If you cannot understand that reason, then you are better off keeping your mouth shut and pondering why until you would have done the same thing.
Lesson 1 of politics: Losers don’t even get to play. If you’re not in the majority, nobody cares what you have to say because you don’t matter. The only way to get things done is to get majority support. If you can’t get majority support, go home, keep your money, and come again when you have a chance of winning.
Lesson 2 of politics: You only get to choose the lesser of two evils. You take the options, line them up, and choose the one that is the least worst. If there isn’t a hope for your favorite option to succeed, it’s not an option at all. Your best hope is to fall in line with the 1st or 2nd place options, depending on which is less evil in your eyes.
Lesson 3 of politics: You have to build a coalition of people who not only disagree, but hate each other. That means when you take up an option, you begin selling that option to as wide an audience as possible. You find ways that target people or groups could possible support your position, and then begin the process of convincing them to support it.
This may mean you say things that you don’t agree with to persuade people to do things that you do agree with. This is a common tactic, and it is very different from lying, which is misrepresenting the truth.
For instance, come political season, I am not going to tell people I think Medicare should be abolished post haste, and that government should have a budget in the millions, not trillions. Instead, I will likely be telling people that seniors 55 and older will see no change to their Medicare program under the Ryan plan which I support (even though I disagree with 95% of what’s in there.)
Lesson 4 of politics: When you have the power, exercise it, as much as possible, to achieve what YOU want done. This is a hard lesson for people who have very little experience being in the majority. It’s why Republicans screwed up ’94 and ’00, and why Democrats go hog wild with every minor majority they eek out.
To understand, remember Aesop’s story of the old man and the young man bringing their donkey to market. As they pass people on the road, they have different opinions on who should ride. There is no way they can make everyone happy, of course, so they’re better off ignoring other’s opinions and doing what they see best with the power that they have.
To understand why this is important, I would like you to imagine political opinion as being akin to the wind. It blows one way, and then the other, and no one can really predict which way it will be blowing 5 seconds from now, let alone next week or in 6 years. Things happen, your majority is reduced to a minority, and you suffer defeats and victories along the way.
Drawing on these four lessons, you should be able to see, plainly, why Thomas Jefferson allowed the continental congress to strike the clauses from the Declaration of Independence that would’ve liberated the slaves immediately. He only had a choice between two evils, and he had to choose the lesser of two evils. Once he aligned himself with the camp he thought should win, he then began building a coalition, which meant uniting northern and southern interests against Britain. I think Jefferson knew that the slavery issue was not going to happen in his lifetime, but at least he could manipulate what little power he had to build a foundation for a future where a political majority could end slavery once and for all.
Our nominee is not going to be perfect. Reagan was not perfect. In fact, if Reagan ran today, we would call him a commie-loving RINO hippie. Why? Because he had aligned himself with issues that are big no-nos in today’s political environment. See, Reagan wasn’t running to win the 2012 nomination, so Reagan didn’t emphasize the points that would gain him political favor and downplay the points that would cost him political favor. Instead, he positioned himself as a solid 1980 candidate, built on the sentiment of 1980 and with a majority of the people and political players in 1980. He did the same in 1984 and won by a real landslide, as opposed to the fake landslide that Obama claims to have won.
If it turns out that only Romney can create that majority, then Romney is our guy and everyone who doesn’t like him had better shut up unless they support the other guy. Every point that Romney supports that you agree with becomes your favorite point. Replace Romney with whomever you wish, and the formula remains the same.
Yes, you can debate whether Candidate X can get the support he needs to not only win the nomination but the presidency. You can even express concern about how his positions differ from yours. But it’s absurd to try and damage a person who you know you’ll have to support because he’ll be the lesser of two evils come next November.
Finally, let me express that I do not agree with Romney on everything. I think the Massachusetts bill was a terrible idea, but if I were governor of Massachusetts I can’t imagine doing anything differently than Romney. I also think that he’s stupid for saying he still believes in Global Warming, even though it’s clear he isn’t drinking the Kool-Aid like “real” climate scientists and demanding that we tax ourselves into 3rd world status. I admit that he’s not the most likable fellow, but I think that has to do, in large part, because he is so perfect in so many ways that politicians typically aren’t. We’re much more comfortable with the familiar philandering political leader than the kind of guy who doesn’t even think of anyone but his wife and family.
To be honest, Romney’s the kind of guy I would trust with my bank account and will, and I know that if he made a mistake I would probably do far worse. I have a hard time understanding why people don’t feel the same kind of trust when they read about his life history and see his personality in action.
Politically speaking, Romney has several things the president will need in ’12-’16. First, he is a real business leader, and he knows exactly how to grow the economy, which is what we really need. Second, he knows how to get the legislature to spend less and balance the budget. Finally, he is a very formidable political opponent, and no pushover at all when it comes to results, even though he portrays a likable, friendly, go-along-get-along type of guy..
My limited knowledge of Pawlenty suggests that he may be the runner-up. If that’s the case, then if you don’t like Romney, you’d better choose Pawlenty. As for me, if it’s between Pawlenty and Romney, I don’t know how you would choose Pawlenty.
I think conservative pundits are beating up Romney right now because (a) it doesn’t really matter in the long run, (b) it gives the republican field a chance to show themselves, and (c) it might actually help make Romney take on more conservative issues that they want to see championed. When the votes are counted, and Romney is the one, I guarantee you that the criticism will die down into a background murmur.