Democrats think conservatives in general, and Tea Partiers in particular, are stupid. Here’s how to reinforce that belief: Sit out the 2014 congressional elections because your favorite candidate lost his primary bid to an establishment Republican. If you live in Kansas, for example, you can suck your thumb while Democrat ringer Greg Orman beats Republican Senator Pat Roberts. If you’re a Kentucky conservative, you can stay home and bitch about Mitch while Alison “Rubberstamp” Grimes heads to Washington. If you’re in Mississippi, you can stay mad at Thad and allow Travis “no repeal” Childers to win. That’ll show those RINOs!
It isn’t necessary to speculate about the results of such petulance. We are already suffering the consequences of a similar tantrum. As R. Emmett Tyrrell pointed out last week, about 4 million conservatives declined to participate in the 2012 presidential election: “The wise psephologists tell us that these conservatives did not like Romney. He was too bland for the Tea Partiers.… Frankly, I do not know why they stayed home given the choice between a community organizer and a former governor.” Regardless of the rationale, those abstainers are responsible for the domestic corruption and foreign policy disasters of the last two years.
And, if they engage in similarly sophomoric behavior in November, the results will be even more catastrophic. If Harry Reid remains in control of the Senate, he and his White House accomplices will “fundamentally transform” the nation into a social democratic hellhole. They will finish packing the court system — including the Supreme Court — with partisans who will kill any legal challenge to their unconstitutional laws and edicts. Obamacare will wreak further havoc on our health care system, the EPA will continue its war on the economy, the IRS will continue to abuse its power, the FCC will shred the First Amendment, ad infinitum.
Nonetheless, it would appear that many conservatives have failed to learn the lesson of 2012. Rick Manning, of Americans for Limited Government, reports the following in a recent column for Investor’s Business Daily: “One state party chairman has privately bemoaned that social conservatives in his state openly question why they should bother voting at all.” Manning, who believes the GOP establishment is to blame for this ambivalence, goes on to pose this revealing question: “Given the national party’s desire to kick them out of the big tent to make room for a hoped-for influx of pot smoking hipsters, who can blame them?”
The answer to that question is: Any conservative with a grain of sense. But, setting aside the hilariously improbable image of Mitch McConnell sitting in a circle of “pot smoking hipsters” around a hookah, the query does highlight the naïveté that creates so many unreasonable expectations among newcomers to the conservative movement. All political parties contain competing factions. The nascent GOP, for example, consisted of hardcore Northeastern abolitionists, less strident Free Soilers, and even more moderate ex-Whigs. There was no love lost between these factions, but they all showed up on Election Day.
Some of today’s conservatives are less inclined to demonstrate the same level of solidarity because establishment Republicans have failed to welcome them into the party with open arms. But a brief review of more recent GOP history will reveal that even Ronald Reagan and his supporters were regarded with fear and loathing by Republican party regulars when they first appeared on the scene. Nonetheless, neither Reagan nor his followers petulantly sat out an election simply because the GOP establishment insisted on, as Manning phrases it, “disrespecting” them. The Reaganites were not, in other words, whiners.
Sadly, the same cannot be said of some conservatives who challenged GOP incumbents in this year’s primaries. Indeed, in Mississippi, incumbent Republican Senator Thad Cochran is actually being sued by the Tea Party challenger he narrowly defeated in the recent Republican primary. State Senator Chris McDaniel lost to Cochran last June, but rather than bowing out gracefully and joining the fight to retake the Senate majority from the Democrats, he challenged the Senator’s primary victory in court. Cochran has been forced to waste valuable time defending himself while Mississippi Republicans have become increasingly disheartened.
The polls suggest that McDaniel’s antics are unlikely to cost the GOP a Senate seat in Mississippi. But Kansas is another story. Incumbent GOP Senator Pat Roberts was weakened in his primary battle against Tea Party challenger Milton Wolf. Wolf, who lost to Roberts by a surprisingly narrow margin, hasn’t been as irresponsible as McDaniel. Yet he has refused to endorse Roberts and help unite Republicans against the latest example of Democrat skullduggery, wherein they forced their original candidate to drop out of the race as part of a transparent strategy to get “Independent” candidate Greg Orman elected.
And Roberts needs all the help he can get. The Democrat bait-and-switch, as the Washington Post gleefully reports, may well succeed. The Republicans have flown in Tea Party icon Sarah Palin to stump for Roberts, and John McCain has also campaigned for him. Yet Wolf, whose local support is such that he could do more to improve Republican chances than any out-of-state surrogate, has remained silent except for a Facebook denial concerning Politico’s report that he planned to meet with Greg Orman. Perhaps Dr. Wolf should ask himself what Ronald Reagan, whom he claims to venerate, would do in such circumstances.
For any conservative or Tea Partier in doubt about the answer to that question, I recommend spending a few minutes viewing the extemporaneous speech Reagan made to the 1976 GOP convention after losing his nomination bid to President Ford. He ended it with the following call for Republicans to pull together and focus on the ultimate goal: “We must go forth from here united, determined that what a great general said a few years ago is true: There is no substitute for victory.” These are the words of a winner.