The following essay is from a prominent local well-known Republican activist who has asked to remain anonymous. Rod
A few weeks ago, I received an email from a local blogger asking me to write an article. The request seemed simple enough; who did I plan to support in the 2012 GOP Presidential Primary in Tennessee? I had planned to write about how the remaining four candidates would all be a marked improvement over President Obama, but now I know I cannot do that. If I do, I will quickly be branded a RINO, the dreaded moniker assigned all Republicans that don't conform to the most strict of conservative mantras.
Over the past eight months I have supported different candidates for President. Each candidate is different in many ways. The only thing that matters to me at the end of the day is whether they can defeat an incumbent president. That's it.
Yes, I care if they supported abortion at any point in their lives. Yes, of course I care if they didn't support a strong military in years past. I care that they support reasonable tax reform, and I want the candidates to consider many other reforms as well. I care about debt, spending, foreign affairs. I care about all of those things.
So what should conservatives care about most? Debt or Spending? Abortion or Capital Punishment? Foreign Affairs or Homeland Security? Any conservative planting their flag into any single issue is missing the point. Our biggest concern is President Obama; a known quantity who also happens to be a worse option for President than any of the remaining GOP candidates (my opinion, of course). Conservatives need to unite behind whomever wins the nomination. Period. End of discussion. RINO or not. Doesn't matter. Maintaining control of the house as well as winning back a majority in the Senate would make for a very happy two-year period, pending any 9/11-like event.
I've been hearing and seeing an incredible amount of angst in the Republican party in Nashville. It is utter foolishness. I may be a RINO because I believe that if we can elect someone more conservative than the liberals want to elect, it constitutes a minor victory. I'm a RINO because I like that Senator Corker and Senator Alexander aren't afraid to engage in open compromise on Capitol Hill. I also support Rep. DesJarlais and his absolutist policy stances. I support Rep. Blackburn, despite her initial support of SOPA/PIPA. Yes, Republican legislators may not always vote the way I want, but it's better than a democrat. Every single time, it is better.
If you want to make a valid case as to why your preferred candidate is best, do it. But be civil. Leave the name-calling for another purpose. Talk of "kicking people out of the party" is ridiculous and should cease immediately. Its a non-starter for young Americans looking to engage in the political discourse. What could possibly be less inviting than knowing if you disagree on some issues that the perceived powers that be would excommunicate you?
Trust me, it's no one's party to dominate. It's our party. As much as you may want to, you can't take the ball home with you when you get frustrated. That's the beauty of a social society and social political parties.
As conservatives, we have a mandate: elect someone that will help restore and preserve the fabric of America. If we are too fractured to understand the need for every possible vote to accomplish this, then we have already lost. Romney, Santorum, Paul or Gingrich, I don't care. I know the vote I cast on March 6th matters less than the vote we will all cast on or before November 6th.
If you don't see it the same way, then we've already lost in November.