I was talking to my dad the other night, and he’s angry. Really angry. At me. And at every other American who let things get to this point in this country. He’s been saying for years that this is where we are heading, that both parties are the same at their core (greedy, power-hungry, not caring about the people, etc.), and that we’ve been handing over our liberty bit by bit for ages. He’s right. But he’s so angry . . . that he’s right and been right all along, that we were all too lalala about it all for so many decades, that I can barely talk to him about politics. Everything I say seems to make him angrier. Now that I finally see what is going on, how bad things are, I’m still part of the problem. It’s my fault and the fault of everyone else who is only just now speaking up. He doesn’t say it, but you almost get the sense that he wants the country to fail to teach us all a lesson (he would never ever want that, but I’m trying to make a point here). Now, I know that my dad is a patriot, always has been and always will be, but that sense that we’re getting what we deserve is something that I am seeing in a lot of conservative responses and posts around the blogosphere. That and the now’s the time to overhaul the two-party system and / or provide the republican party with competition that is really conservative. Both of these stances strike me as myopic, unrealistic, and slightly petty.
On someone’s blog (there are so many that I try to read that I can’t keep up anymore and usually look at my Reader in horror at the bazillion posts that have popped up in only a day–much less in a week. Why do people feel the need to post five or six posts a day? Unless it’s Gateway Pundit or a news site, I don’t get it. It’s overwhelming to me, and I freeze. Anyway,), I left a comment that when the libs do start waking up in larger numbers (they already are in small pockets here and there) that we need to welcome them with open arms and not berate them for being so late to the plate. Oh boy, did people have stuff to say about that. No way! They’re the problem. They are to blame. It’s their fault.
Are you kidding me? If someone says, oops, crap, backed the wrong guy/party on that one, let me help fix it, we do not spit in their face and turn them away in a fit of pique (however justified). This is undignified and rude, yes, but worse, it’s small-minded and short-sighted. This was something I saw, too, when reading some of the conservative comments on that HillBuzz post about President Bush. Someone wrote, in essence, that the HillBuzz epiphany was too little too late, and that they were personally responsible for the election of BO (of course that’s silly, but) it’s that angry, bitter undertone that I think is going to destroy republicans and/or conservatives in 2010 and 2012.
Being petty, small, bitter, and angry may feel right, and God knows we all have those moments especially now when everything is careening out of control and off the rails, but ultimately, it’s the surest way to shoot ourselves in the face (not foot). If you believe that our country is in real danger here (and I do) then you have to rise above whatever anger and bitterness you feel towards other people who want the same thing you do. This is not just about taking the high road, this is about saving our constitutional republic. That strikes me as far more important than scoring a few points by lashing out at people who once supported BO (et al.). And it’s certainly more important than closing ranks and alienating the people who sincerely regret their previous view (they were lied to and wanted to believe something better was possible, is that really so wrong or bad?). In case you didn’t notice, we are outnumbered here, even if we aren’t outnumbered in actual numbers (more people identify as conservative in this country than liberal, and that number is growing with each passing day), we are certainly outnumbered in terms of media access, money, and political power.
Getting drunk on the power of the Tea Parties and the grass roots movement that has sprung up is the surest way to failure. Look what that sense of power has done to the dems. Do you really think that we aren’t susceptible to the same hubris? That is what I see happening in this whole push for a third party that’s really really conservative not fake conservative like those damned republicans. To me, this is about priorities. What is more important right now (and next year): getting dems out of Congress in the largest numbers we can manage or setting up a “real” conservative party, so there! Take that, you bad bad dems and reps. We’ll show you. Well, no. What will happen is what always happens when people think the time is ripe for a third party (um, Perot? Nader? well, not Nader, he never got close, but Perot did. “Close” is not good enough for me, sorry). There are a couple of pesky little problems for third party candidates in this country, not the least of which is our Electoral College and the fact that the House makes the call if no candidate wins a majority. That’s at the presidential level, of course, but even at the state level, third party candidates don’t historically do well, and when they do, it’s because of some other factors (like when the DNC railroaded Lieberman and angered the people enough to give him the win when he ran as an Independent).
Do I love the two party system? Nope. Do I think that at rock bottom both major parties are pretty much indistinguishable from each other? Well, sort of. Do I think we need a strong conservative pool for 2010 and a strong conservative for 2012? Absolutely, one hundred and ten percent. These people, however, have to come from the republican party. Any third party conservative candidate will be too conservative and tagged with problematic associations (with the Tea Party movement, for instance) that will terrify or at the very least put off independents and moderates of both parties. I don’t think that a third party candidate will do anything other than draw votes from the “other” conservative (i.e. the republican nominee) and hand the win over to the dems.
And a lot of people, like me, won’t vote for a third party candidate for these exact reasons, even if they prefer the third party contender. We have to deal with reality (and not live in some ideological bubble that blinds us to what is realistic and probable–we can’t be like those dems, right?), and the reality is that we need to pull together now, more than ever, that we need to welcome anyone who is angered by and wants to change the path we are heading down, and that we cannot do that if we close ranks against people who are new to the fight or if we insist on changing our entire political system at this crucial time in our history. That’s a huge and separate undertaking, and is it really one that is more important right now than getting the radical progs out of DC? I don’t think so. Not even a little tiny bit.
If When that fails (and it will, it always does), we lose a hell of a lot more than an election.