Pharisees and Sadducees of the GOP
Every Republican knows another Republican who agrees with them on 99% of the issues, yet will attack them relentlessly over the 1% of issues they disagree upon. Instead of uniting against the left, these busybodies waste countless hours criticizing other Republicans. They will frequently do it under the ruse of being the “true conservatives,” claiming that anyone who does not agree with them is not conservative enough. Yet the 1% of issues they disagree with others on are often arbitrarily decided and not legitimate issues. Mitt Romney was criticized for being too moderate of a Republican presidential candidate, yet he ran the most conservative campaign as the Republican nominee for president we have seen since Ronald Reagan.
These “true conservatives” will tear apart other conservatives not on the issues, but on personality and connections. In Arizona, anyone who is perceived to get along with moderate Republican Senator John McCain and his ardent supporters is attacked for being a moderate themselves. McCain bullies his way around politics and most Republicans are afraid of him and his supporters, only seeking his endorsement to stay out of his crosshairs.
Sadly, this infighting results in Republicans losing races they should not have. Vernon Parker, a black Republican and former Mayor of Paradise Valley in Arizona, ran for Congress in Arizona’s new Congressional district nine last year against Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, a self-avowed bisexual who once received the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers’ Vladimir I. Lenin award for being the most far left member of the Arizona State Legislature. Several relatively unknown Republicans ran against Parker in the primary, claiming to be more conservative than him.
The “true conservatives” held two things against Parker. The first was that he had benefited from affirmative action as a small business owner many years ago. While affirmative action is not something conservatives agree with, just because someone is a recipient of it does not mean they support it. Conservatives disagree with many of the government created redistributionist tax breaks in the IRS code, but they still take advantage of them when doing their taxes. While I was working on the Arizona Civil Rights Initiative to ban affirmative action, one of the staffers told me they saw nothing wrong with any of us benefiting from affirmative action should an opportunity arise.
The other thing the “true conservatives” held against Parker is that he was listed as endorsing McCain for Senate in 2010. The McCain machine plays fast and loose with how it obtains endorsements, and will put down the name of anyone who was simply a delegate to the Republican convention as an endorser. When J.D. Hayworth entered the race to run against McCain for Senate, Parker attempted to remove the endorsement, but the McCain machine turned a deaf ear – even after Parker showed up at a J.D. Hayworth for Senate fundraiser!
Consequently, the “true conservatives” did little to help Parker in the general election. There was little activity in the blogosphere and social media by conservatives supporting him. The only Republican candidate in the race with name recognition, he had the best chance of any Republican in the slightly Democratic-leaning district. Parker is a charismatic, genuinely principled conservative who rose from the ghettos of Los Angeles to serve in high-level posts under both Presidents Bush. He lost the race by only 4%.
That wasn’t the only Arizona Congressional race Republicans lost due to purists. Republicans went from holding five out of eight Arizona Congressional seats down to only four of nine. In two of those races, the Republican candidates had very close races but were snubbed by “true conservatives.” Martha McSally, America’s first female fighter pilot, lost her race against former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ chief of staff Ron Barber by an incredibly close 49.9% to 50.1%. Iraqi war veteran Jonathan Paton lost to Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick by 3%.
The losing Republican Congressional candidates were all pro-life, pro-gun, and are considered more conservative than McCain. Paton ran in a Democratic-leaning district, which became even more heavily Democratic with a 9-point voter registration edge after the seat was redistricted last year. Even so, because he was the strongest candidate coming out of the Republican primary, his race was viewed as a tossup going into the general election.
The “true conservatives” hold Republican candidates to a standard that few could live up to. They expect Republican candidates to go beyond adherence to the party platform, and follow their dictates about who they may and may not associate with. They hold any minor indiscretion in a political candidate’s past against him or her, even if that candidate has since become more conservative over the years. Heaven help us if that candidate has a spouse who ever contributed to an odd cause or candidate!
The “true conservatives” want Republican political candidates to make far out public statements on the issues and denounce other Republicans. Yet that kind of talk is what ultimately causes Republicans to lose races. The left and its allies in the complicit liberal media have figured out how to successfully ridicule and portray Republicans who make brash statements as extremists.
As long as a Republican candidate has conservative principles, he or she should not be required to commit political suicide by pleasing a few “true conservatives” with statements better left to talk show hosts. Ann Coulter can get away with making shocking political statements, but former Virginia Governor George Allen, former Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, and former Indiana Congressman Richard Mourdock cannot.
Using the standards of the “true conservatives” today, Ronald Reagan would have never secured the Republican Party nomination. Reagan used to be a Democrat and signed the most liberal abortion rights bill in the country after becoming Governor of California. He also signed a bill making community college education virtually free. As president, he never cut social spending. Yet he is looked up to by “true conservatives” as their number one hero.
The so-called “true conservatives” hold Republican candidates to a standard that virtually no one but Jesus could adhere to. Oh wait, the Pharisees and Sadducees didn’t think even Jesus lived up to high enough standards.:
Rachel Alexander is the editor of Intellectual Conservative. She is a senior editor at The Stream, and is a regular contributor to Townhall, the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research, and The Christian Post, and provides weekend news items for Right Wing News. She frequently appears on TV and news radio as a conservative commentator. She is a recovering attorney and former gun magazine editor. She previously served as a former Assistant Attorney General for the State of Arizona, corporate attorney for Go Daddy Software, and Special Assistant/Deputy County Attorney for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. As co-president of the UW Political Science Honor Society, she obtained degrees in Political Science and History from the University of Washington, followed by a law degree from Boston College and the University of Arizona. She was ranked by Right Wing News as one of the 50 Best Conservative Columnists from 2011-2016.