Most people were probably surprised last week when I came out with my first column and took aim at Republicans. Well, get used to it! Yes, I am writing for the Iowa Republican. Yes, I love the principles of the Republican party. In fact, I love it enough to criticize it. Truly caring about someone or something means you are willing to look them in the face and hold them accountable. A true friend will love you enough to hurt you. A phony friend will always tell you what you want to hear.
While I was running for congress this past year, I ran into a long-lost friend who is several years older than me, and much wiser. He’s been around the block a few times when it comes to politics and I’d support him in anything he would do. Even though I had not talked to him in over 20 years, we both had the love of Republican ideals and have communicated on and off since I ran into him.
I’ve criticized Senator Grassley a couple of times in those conversations. Like a true friend, he called me out on it. Then I told him if he didn’t like what I was saying, he certainly would not like my first article in The Iowa Republican. This truly concerned him. He is worried about my future in the party and my relevance if I criticize the most popular person in the Party in Iowa. My response was to thank him, as I knew the spirit with which he offered the criticism. He knows I am not going to hurt Senator Grassley, as he is virtually unbeatable by Conlin. No, he was worried about me hurting my own political future. I am honored that he would care enough to say something.
He pointed out that politics is a marathon, and I am viewing it as a sprint. His point was that I could slowly build a political career if I wanted to. I greatly respect this person, but I disagree, in fact, I could not disagree more for two reasons. First, while we need some long-term employees within government, I don’t believe that for politicians it should be a lifetime career. In Michigan, John Dingell has represented the same district since 1955. His Dad represented the district for the 22 years before him. That is 77 straight years that one district has been represented by a father and son. Does anyone really think a representative of 20 years, let alone 55 years really knows how the private sector operates?
Second, while politics is a marathon the progressives are in the last 0.2 miles of the marathon (a marathon is 26.2 miles) and they are sprinting to the finish line. If they reach the finish line while we worry about being liked, we will regret it for the rest of our lives. We have far too many Republican politicians who can’t see the forest through the trees. They are diligently fighting their little battles against the Democrats, winning some and losing others all the while, the progressives are nudging (stole the word nudge from Cass Sunstein, Obama’s socialist regulatory czar) the country to a point of no return.
It is kind of like several people arguing over the nutritional value of a meal. One side is saying there is too much protein and the other says there are too many carbs. We fight back and forth and eventually compromise on the content of the meal. What we forget is the meal is for a death row inmate. The nutritional value really doesn’t matter. Right now, we are arguing about a bunch of minutia instead of understanding that all the little battles are designed by the left to make us miss their ultimate goal of a complete destruction of everything that makes America great.
So, I could honestly not care less about my own political future. I will call out the Republican Party until I am no longer allowed to write for The Iowa Republican, or until the party meets its ideals. That starts with us, the voters. We must hold Republicans accountable. If we, their friends, won’t, then who will?
So, this week, I’d like to share with you what I thought was a true low point in my own campaign. It was close to the primary and several people were gathered at a farm in Eastern Iowa. Some of the state wide candidates were there including candidates for governor. Most of my opponents and I were also there. We mixed it up a bit which was great. We do have different ideas and it was important that we share those ideas. Then, an unopposed legislative leader took the stage. He proceeded to angrily denounce anyone who might not fully support the nominee no matter who it was. With fire in his voice, he preached party, party, party. I can live with a raw party speech. What I wish I’d have heard at least once out of his mouth is the importance of our core principles as Republicans. We saw what happened in Pennsylvania when party trumped principle. Republicans in the name of party elected Arlen Specter who clearly was not a believer in the ideals of the Republican Party.
Those who put party above principle do harm to both.
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