Sunday, October 6, 2013

My Heart is with the Tea Party; My Head is with the GOP

As Sen. Ted Cruz was preparing to 'filibuster' for 21 hours on the Senate floor, I thought it was a fool's mission. What good could come of it? Did he really think the Democrat-controlled Senate would listen to him and work with him to defund or reform the signature legislation ("Obamacare") of their Democratic leader? Is the fight worth it if you know you can't win? I was not optimistic and I thought it would have negative on the GOP.

A few hours into the "filibuster" I decided to tune in to see what Sen. Cruz was talking about. I missed the famous "Green Eggs and Ham" reading, but discovered something incredibly important that the media missed or - more likely - blatantly ignored. I realized that Ted Cruz is insightful, analytical, focused, amiable, persuasive and willing to debate issues with his Democratic colleagues. Here is a sample:

I admire Sen. Cruz's passion, his knowledge and his willingness to fight for his convictions. As I watched him speak, I was caught up in the 'heart' of what he was saying. In other words, my heart - my fighting spirit - admired what he was doing and how he was doing it. There was no snark or pettiness is what he was saying. When Democratic colleagues questioned him, he was respectful and polite. He may have been engaging in a bit of self-aggrandizement, but he wasn't going for cheap political points and snarky MSNBC-esque soundbites. This was contrasted dramatically when Sen. Harry Reid showed up to take the floor back with all the class and dignity of a Las Vegas casino boss. Sen. Cruz had spoken for 21 hours without making cheap personal attacks and Sen. Reid couldn't go 21 seconds.

I was quite blown away; especially by how much - in my heart - I applauded who Cruz was and what he did. Then, reality set in and I realized that, though he had rallied the Conservative right, he hadn't done much, if anything, to move the needle. He was still arguing from an lose-lose position, no matter how much I actually agreed with that position. Indeed, after skillfully picking apart ObamaCare for 21 hours, the only thing I heard the news report was his reading of "Green Eggs and Ham" and they even managed to find multiple faults with that.

How do I rectify this conundrum? My heart is with Ted Cruz, but my head knows his Republican colleagues in the Senate are correct, at least from a strategic political standpoint in this case. If I let my head - analytical, logical capacities - govern everything I say and do, I run the risk of becoming stale and overly calculating and never challenging the status quo. If I let my heart govern my actions, I wind up fighting everything and becoming overwhelmingly disheartened when I suffer losses that I should have seen coming. Isn't there a middle ground?

Not on Twitter, apparently. According to most tweeters, you were either a Tea Party nut job or a RINO. Even if you liked Ted Cruz, but didn't agree with his strategy, you were deemed a RINO, a sell-out, or part of the "Surrender Caucus." If you were a Conservative then the RINOs called you crazy or "wacko birds" (Isn't John McCain a gem?) if you supported the Cruz strategy. You would expect this type of name-calling between Democrats and Republicans, but it is happening all too often between 'Conservatives' and 'Moderates' both of whom claim Ronald Reagan as their idle. Yes, Ronald Reagan, who popularized the famous 11th commandment, "Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican." My how we've strayed.

This doesn't mean that we have to like everything our colleagues and congressmen/women do, but we have to be united. The purity tests and at-all-costs primary threats are losers for us. Shutting down conservative candidates because they don't do the bidding of the "establishment" is a loser for us. If you are Conservative, vote for the most Conservative candidate you want in the primaries. If you are more Moderate, vote for a Moderate candidate. When your candidate loses, don't whine and stay home like a petulant child. Get out and support the GOP candidate, whomever it is. If your candidate wins, open your arms to accept the supports of the losing candidates and vow to work with them. It isn't that hard.

Conservatives and Moderate Republicans (and everyone in between) need to commit that they will vote in EVERY election no matter who the candidates are. There's always a better and worse candidate. In 2012, some Republicans/Conservatives framed the race as "Obama vs. Obama-lite". I disagree with that characterization, but even if it's true, wouldn't you rather have Obama-lite right now? There is a lot of distance between Obama and Mitt Romney; important distance that makes a HUGE difference to our personal freedoms and individual rights. To act like there is little difference is patently false and it's a losing attitude. To pretend that a Conservative cannot win a general election is equally false.

We need to fight (fair) during the primaries, but then unite after all of the voices have been heard! If we don't, the Dems will continue to win. And I hate watching the Dems win. There is a way to put our hearts and minds in support of the GOP, but it takes patience, humility and wisdom. We've got to find those virtues, because our current inner conflict is a loser - both in strategy and in policy.

No comments: