“Compromise used to mean that half a loaf was better than no bread. Among modern statesmen it really seems to mean that half a loaf is better than a whole loaf.”
The disagreement among conservatives is a disagreement over what the bread is.
I believe that the bread is a sensible, constitutionally-limited federal government. That is the perspective from which I evaluate any suggestion of a political compromise. Any suggestion that the bread is simply a Republican majority in either the House or the Senate isn’t going to convince me to compromise on principles.
I simply don’t trust the party enough to value a mathematical majority over my own conscience. The GOP doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt anymore. Perhaps if they hadn’t so recently squandered a majority by governing and spending like Democrats I might feel differently, but as it stands I don’t place a high priority on giving someone a powerful tool if they don’t know how to use it. Already we’re hearing murmurs about “restructuring” Obamacare instead of attempting to repeal it and assumptions that Obama will necessarily have to moderate after November. Those ideas are naive at best. So even if Christine O’Donnell is a longshot, I’m not shedding any tears over Mike Castle’s absence in Washington come November. He would have only further diluted what common sense and courage remains within the GOP.
I don’t care who is right or wrong regarding a particular candidate’s viability. What I care about is whether viability alone moves us away from no bread and toward (at least) half a loaf. I don’t believe a viable liberal like Mike Castle who might have given the GOP a majority in the Senate would have moved us toward that goal.
The value in a candidacy of someone like Christine O’Donnell isn’t her viability but the direction in which she moves the debate. Already her candidacy has made the Constitutional underpinnings of our government the subject of the debate. Win or lose, that’s moving the ball in the right direction. If People are talking about what is or isn’t in the First Amendment, we’re making progress. Had Mike Castle won the primary, he and Coons would be arguing whether to violate the Constitution all the time or just some of the time. No loaf.
The strategy of running liberal candidates because a conservative “can’t win” is a strategy for long term failure. It does nothing to educate the electorate about why conservative principles are better. It’s a prevent defense–playing not to lose rather than playing to win. It guarantees that liberal districts and states will always be liberal districts and states. If we’re unwilling to accept some losses while standing on principles then we will never achieve a victory for those principles. There can’t be an invasion without a beachhead and you can’t establish a beachhead if you refuse to accept casualties.
Assuming this Republican tidal wave happens on November 2, the GOP needs to go on offense. Make Obama veto sensible legislation. Make him officially reject ideas that make sense to most Americans. Stop letting the left and their media accomplices from driving the debate.
Refuse any compromise that earns us no bread.