Recently, I’ve heard some resounding influential voices of the Republican Party repeating that tired old line that we must, as a party, all get along, regardless of our differences.
To a point, I would agree that this is true. We of the GOP do need to be careful not to “strain on a gnat, to swallow a camel,” as the old expression goes.
That said, if we are still a party that believes in the traditions of our founding and the Constitution, we do need to hold true to these principles that are still overwhelmingly held as standards among the party’s voting base.
These days, though, it seems that many who brand themselves with our party’s name believe that it is more important for them, as politicians, to get along with each other than it is to get along with those who vote them into, or out of, office.
In recent months and weeks, surely unrelated to their aspirations for election and re-election, some politicians have reiterated these talking points.
Just among the Texas politicians I’ve personally voted for, there is one gentleman in Washington who continues to paint himself as a dyed-in-the-wool conservative in spite of his voting record that has, of late, increasingly proven otherwise. Then, there is a local politician who votes with his conservative base 97% of the time, but is often afraid to consider himself a conservative Republican. In his view, it seems that labels such as “Mainstream Republican” or “Moderate Republican” are safer bets in pleasing the masses.
In my view, I’m not sure which is worse.
The latter of these two examples has personally related to me that we need to discontinue the usage of labels such as “R.I.N.O.” (Republican in Name Only) when describing those with whom we disagree on key issues among our party’s ranks.
I couldn’t help but notice this line of thinking, as it was recently repeated by Governor Mike Huckabee on his regular Fox News show.
He likewise expressed his disdain for the term “RINO,” saying that “I’d rather go to battle with someone who isn’t perfect than with someone who thinks he is.”
He went on to say that we shouldn’t waste our time quarreling with those we agree with 90% of the time, but that we should unify against those forces that stand in stark contrast to our convictions.
I continue to believe that Mike Huckabee brings presidential material to the table in any election cycle, especially when compared to the one who currently holds the office; but these words from him struck a negative chord with me.
When there is no other choice, such as in the conclusion of a recent campaign, I tend to agree with Mr. Huckabee on his point.
However, it occurs to me that there are only two ways by which any two disagreeing individuals or groups of individuals ever come to agreement: You must either compromise your convictions for those of others, or you must convince the other to compromise his convictions for yours.
Either of these two scenarios can be realized through sincere conviction or coercion.
I’m not a one (or even two) issue voter, but I believe that disagreement on a single issue should be a deal breaker within our party when the decision on that issue stands to either follow or disregard the U.S. Constitution.
If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m on the side of the Constitution.
Compromise is a double-edged sword. When you’re right, you’d better be sure that the sharpest edge is the outer rather than the inner.
Photo credit: DonkeyHotey (Creative Commons)