Conservative. But Also Republican.

Erick Erickson

I admit it. I am guilty of it. Knee deep in primary season battling to get conservatives elected against a bunch of squishy picks, it is sometimes difficulty to see the endgame.

Friends, the endgame is simple — Republicans taking back Congress and beating Obama. Either that is the end game or else it is the end of America as we know it. The Democrats have already done enough damage. We can’t let them keep at it.

There is a very real difference between the parties. One party stakes its claim with freedom; the other with equality. And while “equality” sounds good, the only way to keep us all equal is to punish the successful, tear down the creative, and shut up generators of wealth and freedom, keeping us all piled up together on the government run safety net unwilling to let us merely try to succeed. I am with freedom. Therefore, I am with the Republicans.

At RedState we have always and will always be conservative in primaries and Republican in general elections with very, very, very few exceptions. Third parties are not an option; they are a path to more Democratic victories. Occasionally the GOP does something wholly and ridiculously stupid that necessitates a deviation — like Doug Hoffman in New York 23, but the path to the majority lies within the GOP.

In fact, New York 23 teaches us two lessons, though one is often overlooked. The GOP needs conservatives to win. That’s the easy lesson. The lesson less often paid attention to is that conservatives need the GOP to win. It is a symbiotic relationship.

Therein, however, is the issue and it is the one we must pay attention to and dwell on. It is a relationship. Conservative is not a synonym for Republican. Conservative is an expression of the ideals and principles by which one views the world and, for politicians, governs their actions. Republicans are members of a political party.

The goal for conservatives is simple: fight in the primaries. Again and again we see it is the liberal Republicans who take their football and go home. From Charlie Crist to Arlen Specter to Joe Schwartz to Wayne Gilcrist to Dede Scozzafava, etc., etc., etc. it is the liberals who take their footballs and run left when they cannot win.

Conservatives must not do the same. We must fight within the Republican Party and change the Republican Party. I try never to bring up Ronald Reagan because too many drop his name too often, but conservatives really do need to look to Reagan here.

Reagan did not bolt the GOP after 1976. He knew his convictions and principles were right and the Rockefeller Republicans would just screw things up. He bided his time. He made in roads. He was victorious. It is what Jim DeMint is doing. It is what RedState is doing.

Across the country we are pushing the GOP right where the GOP can go right. But at the end of the day, we are on the Republican team. And if you are not and want to agitate for a third party here at RedState, go elsewhere.

There are exceptions. I may, for example, be about to support a Libertarian candidate in Georgia wholly because the Republican is unfit for office. But those are rare exceptions. At the end of the day, we must be willing to play the hand we are dealt or we will be dealt a destructive blow by the left.

Why am I talking about this? Because the Wall Street Journal has a new poll out that shows the GOP has put the band back together so to speak. The grand coalition that brings Republican victories has solidified. Victory seems to be within reach.

That means we must fight all the harder for people like Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Pat Toomey, Danny Tarkanian, Ken Buck, Chuck DeVore, Pam Gorman, Sean Duffy, Jeff Duncan, Dennis Ross, and others — we do not want the independent oriented members of the coalition to regret putting the GOP back in power. We need men and women of good character.

That is what primaries are for. That is why we fight so hard in them for the best men and women. But that is the primary. We give it our best shot. We win some. We lose some. Then we stand together united under the banner of the party of Lincoln and Reagan and kick Democrat butt.

There is a very real difference between the Republicans and Democrats. Sometimes it is hard to see that difference. But let’s not lose perspective. The difference is there. The difference is real. And it is increasingly a life and death difference for American exceptionalism.


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