Principles, Practicality And Compromise.. Lessons From The 2012 General Election

ballot-boxBy George Noga


A principle is a fundamental, primary and general truth or doctrine. Practicality is understanding objective reality and adapting to it. Compromise is the art of being practical while still adhering to principle.

It is clear some compromise is needed for those of us on the center-right in America. We should not sacrifice the good on the altar of the perfect. The good news is that this is possible without abandoning principle. Following are but three things we should do that can lead to victory in the future.

“Democrats want total government domination; Republicans merely want government to grow and our liberties to yield at a slower pace.”

I don’t much like either political party although I must recognize there is a clear difference. Democrats want government to dominate everything in our lives, liberty be damned. Republicans merely want government to grow and our liberties to yield at a slower pace. They both are leading us to perdition but Democrats unmistakably are the greater evil.

First Compromise – Avoid Primary Election Suicide

The senate is Democratic 55-45. Republicans would have a majority if only they were practical. In their 2010 landslide they forfeited a certain seat in the primary (Delaware) and a clearly winnable seat (Nevada) by nominating a bad candidate. In 2012 they gave away Indiana by defeating a sure winner in the primary. Republicans then pulled off the near impossible feat of losing in Missouri and North Dakota.

Had the GOP simply picked the low hanging fruit in these states, they would have 50 seats. The 51st seat should have come in my summer home state of Montana where the Libertarian Party candidate got 6.5% of the vote; had this gone to the Republican he would have won with 52%. Believe me, I understand all the arguments but fail to see the principle in forfeiting 6 certain senate seats and ceding control of that body.

Second Compromise – Immigration

Immigration is a critical issue where we can and should win the rapidly growing Hispanic vote. Firstoff, Hispanics already are stealth Republicans, only they don’t yet vote that way. They are religious, embody family values, work hard and believe in the American dream. We need to take the lead in offering them a pathway to legal status and, in some cases such as military service, citizenship. I don’t see this as unprincipled.

In any event, we are not going to deport them nor will they self deport. We still can couple this policy with securing the borders and denying legal status to and deporting criminals and other undesirables. We should become the champions of Hispanics already in America via enlightened immigration policy while simultaneously appealing to their religion, family values and work ethic. This is a no brainer.

Third Compromise – Social Issues

I know this is radioactive but please bear with me. We are needlessly alienating voters with positions on gay rights and abortion. We steadfastly should continue to define marriage as between one man and one woman; otherwise however, we should avoid going out of our way to offend this cohort. The issue here isn’t just GLBT but the entire youth vote. Young folks today (straight as much as gay) can’t identify with our positions which appear punitive. I don’t see this as a compromise as we always have believed in treating everyone with dignity.

Republicans lost the unmarried female vote by 20 points due to needless rhetoric about overturning Roe v. Wade. Consider that “Roe” never will be overturned even if we have all the Supreme Court appointments for the next generation. More importantly, we should not want to have it overturned. If Roe were not the law of the land, legal decisions on abortion would revert to the state level and, rest assured, nearly all states would legalize it – some with even more grotesque provisions than at present. Abortion existed before Roe and it always will.

“We must continue aggressively to advocate against abortion and for life such that abortion becomes a rare event in America. However, we also must understand and recognize it will not be legally abolished. “

One half of a correct (as well as practical) policy is graciously to concede that a woman’s right to an abortion is respected and will not be repealed. We can stand firmly on principle about infanticide incident to botched abortions, gender selection and other horrors. The point is this: by such a stance we are conceding absolutely nothing; we are losing this battle badly and it is  unwinnable.

However, the second half of our abortion policy should be aggressively to advocate and to support life over abortion in all cases such that abortion becomes a rare event in America.  This is a battle we can win and are winning as polls show a strong and increasing majority that opposes abortion and supports life. We can and must continue to advocate against abortion and for life, but as outlined herein. It is a principled and winning argument.

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