Who remembers former President Ronald Reagan’s “Eleventh Commandment“?
The slurring and sliming and online arguing about which-ideal-candidate-is-whom-and-isn’t-that among voters on the Right and In The Middle, most of whom aim hopes and blame failures on “politicians in the GOP” — if the internet is any proof of humanity — and tout or attack candidates and possible candidates for political office who are among the GOP, can’t this stop now?
*This is as good a time as any to note something: one of the dumbest things that the Right did in the 2008 primaries was to operate under the assumption that tearing down Candidate X was the best way to get Candidate Y the nomination. As near as I can tell, this only ended up resulting in: tears; a lot of resentment and bitterness between various factions; and John McCain.
So let’s not do that again, OK?
Words flew like pulled fuzz all over internet in 2007 and 2008 and most of that was Republican or Republican-likely voters railing against other Republicans: who was Conservative, who wasn’t, the tactic used by Conservatives and even Liberals (as “Progressives” or “Libertarians”) who claim to be Conservative when they want their taxes lowered but a general spree on anything and everything else, or some variation of one value here or there nudged to the Right with the overall perspective generally Liberal, but who claim to be Conservative.
I realize that “Conservative” is not synonymous with “Republican” but generally, these are gradations of perspectives that vote Republican or don’t vote at all when both parties are too Leftwing (I’ve been in that group before and it’s not an easy decision to make, to not vote, but it’s even more difficult to vote for a candidate who one can’t support, which was the dilemma many of us registered-Republicans faced in the 2008 election, what with McCain the nominee and many of us just not content with that…or any of the other possibilities the GOP was considering).
And, Conservativism is generally characterized by beliefs and values while Republican is a party characterized by a platform of political parameters (defining political goals and boundaries that are to be represented and pursued).
So if one is Conservative, generally one votes Republican because the alternative — Democrat — is a party with platform that contains a number of items that run diametrically opposed to Conservative values: little option beyond the two party’s as to nominees for the Presidency and “third party” voting is destructive due to shaky outcomes for all.
So words are flying again, along the same lines: people denigrated as not being Conservative when they’re interested in one candidate and not in another candidate or…
Worse, when writing frank opinion about a politician’s assumed likelihood at winning a GOP nomination or moreso, the Presidency afterward, that the situation doesn’t look hopeful — what many of us expressed as to why we didn’t want McCain as nominee and afterward, why it was a depressing election because his campaign was generally not a winning one — when one expresses lack of confidence about one, someone else chimes in that you’re a “hater” or that you “hate” their preferred candidate…
Strong words. Irrational words. Damaging words. Not constructive words. Not feeling confident about a specific candidate’s attributes as to winning a Presidential election does not necessarily mean that one “hates” that person. It just might mean that someone’s being truthful when looking around outside the enclaves of support for any specific candidate and sees reality.
And those damaging words do more to discourage voter support than anything, in my experience. It is difficult to continue to associate with a likely nominee when most of that candidate’s supporters behave critically toward others. It also tarnishes “the brand” of the GOP when this occurs too intensely: specific candidates lose their luster, the party with which they associate loses support.
Our nation needs a new President to move into the White House on January 2013. That means the new President has to win the election on November 2012. That means the GOP has to nominate someone with the best opportunity to win the election and that means that nominee has to attract the most votes. Since I doubt many Conservatives and Independent In-The-Middle voters are going to be considering the Democratic Party candidate too closely this time around what with the massive damages already done by that Party (AND their candidate/s, since elected), that nominee (and the candidates for the nomination leading up to the nomination by the Party) has to have the confidence of most Conservative-Republican-Middle-Independent-Moderate voters.
Former President Ronald Reagan experienced this same environment of complaints — destructive sniping, critical discussions without much conclusion (people want who they want and any doubts and those who have them are condemned) — and uttered some very constructive advice years ago, still immensely valuable and pertinent today:
“Thou shalt not speak ill of other Republicans.”
For everyone on the “general Right” or “likely Right” who claim fidelity and admiration for the man, Reagan, let them abide by that suggestion of his.
Karl Rove, Rience Pribus, Rep. Eric Cantor, that means you all, too. All too often, it is the Libertarians and the Progressives among the Right who are detached from the rest of us and it is proven to be a liability for the rest of us — let me be blunt: it turns potential voters off.
When the chips are down and the decisions are made as to who the candidates will be, then the 11th commandment prevails and everybody goes to work, and that is: Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican. — Ronald Reagan.
Remarks in New York City at a Reception for Delegates to the State Republican Convention (1982-06-17), this is a restatement of “The Eleventh Commandment” by California Republican Party Chairman Gaylord Parkinson, which Reagan first used in 1966.