Written by Jamie Johnson
It is been said, “Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.” It has also been said, “Don’t use a shotgun when a rifle will do.”
Last Saturday, I was in the audience at the Marriott Wardman Hotel in Washington when syndicated radio talk show host and FOX News commentator Glenn Beck delivered his speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference.
As expected, it was a rousing, colorful, red-meat speech designed to fire up the crowd and appeal to conservatives in political exile and tea party patriots who are fed up with runaway spending, the growth of government, and the threats to our liberties.
The speech was dramatic. It was passionate. It was authentic. It was pure Beck. And the crowd ate it up. So did the national audience watching on C-SPAN and FOX News.
After the speech, fellow radio talk show host Bill Bennett, who had also addressed the CPAC audience earlier that day, praised Beck for his frankness and passion, but added an admonishment not to criticize all Republicans as purveyors of “Progressive Lite.”
The former Reagan education secretary and Bush 41 drug czar encouraged Beck to be more careful, more responsible, in his rhetoric, and to not throw out the proverbial baby with the bath water. In other words, Mike Pence and Tom Coburn are not the same kind of Republicans as Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins.
I agree with Dr. Bennett. In his invectives against the Republican Party losing its way, Beck failed to mention that there are many members of Congress who have not gone astray. They have remained solid. They arrived in Washington as conservatives, and they have stayed conservatives.
But conservatives do not make up the majority in the Republican caucuses on Capitol Hill. Moderates do, so they run the agenda. Its a numbers game. Although conservatives like Pence and Coburn work to advance a conservative agenda, they can only influence the process, not lead it. And therein lies the challenge, not for them, but for us.
Republican voters across the fifty states need to start electing conservatives over moderates in congressional primaries. Those who do stand for moral virtue, individual liberty, limited government, a free market, and national security need our support. And we should back them with our dollars and our voices.
Glenn Beck is frustrated. And we are, too. But in our frustration, we cannot forget the good, the praiseworthy, and the commendable work that many conservatives within the Republican Party are doing. And although frustration may produce passion in our speech, passion is no substitute for precision, especially when criticism is being thrown around.
At CPAC, Glenn Beck brought a shotgun with him… locked and loaded. And the crowd loved it. But a rifle would have been better, because it does not spray the innocent.
When criticizing Republicans, let’s use bullets, not buckshot.
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