Today, Parts 4,5, and 6.
Click here to see Parts 1, 2 and 3.
Fourth, Remember the Difference Between Republicans and Conservatives.
Conservatives look at the endorsements Mitt Romney has garnered from such establishment figures as former President George H.W. Bush and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and most importantly from business-as-usual Washington insiders, such as lobbyist Ed Gillespie, and they see advocates of positions they often opposed, not friends of the transformational agenda that won the Tea Party wave election of 2010.
Surveying Romney’s record and agenda, and most importantly the people he is likely to bring to Washington to implement his agenda, movement conservatives see little likelihood a Romney administration will differ from a Bush administration, or a McCain administration, or a Dole or Ford administration.
This is why conservatives remain so deeply skeptical of Mitt Romney’s candidacy for President. They look at his record as Governor of Massachusetts and the policies he espouses and see no commitment to the kind of transformational change the conservative movement has been working for the past 50 years to achieve.
Republican Party insiders still can’t come to grips with the reality that the rebellion of the small government constitutional conservatives of the Tea Party is as much a rejection of their stewardship of the government – the earmarks and massive spending and debt of the Bush years – as it is a rejection of Obamacare and Obamanomics.
Let’s be quite clear – there is a difference between Republicans and conservatives. The goal of the Republican political party is to elect its candidates to control the levers of government power. Conservatives should not get so swept-up in the Republican Party’s campaign for power, that they loose sight of the fact that the goal of the conservative movement is to hold the government to constitutional principles, no matter what political party is in power, and in the process rejuvenate our society and culture.
Fifth, Don’t Get Suckered into Supporting the Republican Party.
If the difference between conservatives and Republicans is based in the conservative movement’s commitment to holding the government to constitutional principles, no matter which Party is in power, then one of the most important things conservatives can do is to support organizations that are committed to that same goal.
This also means declining to support organizations, including the national, state and local Republican Parties if they are not committed to holding the government to constitutional principles.
The folly of conservatives supporting the Republican National Committee, and many state Republican Party committees was made readily apparent during the presidential primary. In state after state the establishment GOP did its best to thwart the will of the grassroots conservative voters by using its power to tip the scales toward Mitt Romney to the disadvantage of the conservative candidates in the race.
In the same vein the Republican National Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee have become virtual incumbent protection rackets – appearing to sell influence and access in return for donations to keep incumbent members of Congress in power.
Thanks in part to the ability of the new and alternative media, especially the internet, to empower grassroots activists it is now possible to bypass the establishment Republican Party. There are now dozens of sound organizations committed to constitutional conservative principles that are doing everything from training volunteers in grassroots campaign techniques to recruiting and training conservative candidates to run for Congress and their state legislatures.
Just because an organization has conservative in its name doesn’t mean the organization is actually conservative – especially if it is headquartered in Washington DC. Too many Washington-based organizations, even ones that began with the intention of fostering conservative government, have become part of the inside-the-Beltway Republican establishment.
Very often the best organizations to support are not the state parties and national committees, but the local groups; County Republican Committees and Tea Party organizations who share our values and are doing the hard work to elect conservative candidates to office up and down the ballot. By supporting these local organizations, which are always struggling to raise money, it is possible to know their leadership, know whether or not they share our values and determine whether they are accountable and effective.
During the Bush – Hastert – Frist years too many Washington-based policy organizations sold their souls for a few tickets to the White House Christmas party or a seat at the State of the Union Address. They failed in the real test of whether they were effective advocates of conservative policy – holding the government to constitutional principles, no matter which Party is in power.
Don’t get suckered into supporting the Republican Party’s incumbent protection racket. Donate only to small government constitutional conservative organizations and committees dedicated to holding the government to constitutional principles, no matter which Party is in power, and electing small government constitutional conservatives to office. Avoid establishment Republican-oriented organizations and Party committees that don’t hew to conservative principles, and work against conservative candidates and blindly support Republican incumbents even when they oppose conservative policies.
Sixth, It’s the Primaries, Stupid – Support Small Government, Constitutional Conservative Candidates
If 2012 is another big wave election, like 2010, but it sweeps into office the usual big-government, establishment Republicans, then we will have missed the opportunity of a lifetime.
Supporting small government, constitutional conservatives, no matter how far down the ballot they are is crucial to our long-term success, and running for any office, no matter how far down the ballot, is worthy of your efforts.
If constitutional conservatives are to govern America, we must not only elect a President and a Congress, but also city council members, school board members, state legislators, Secretaries of State, Lt. Governors, etc.
Of course, there are many good candidates already running who are with the Tea Party movement. However, the vast majority of positions on the ballot this year do not have small government constitutional conservatives running, and many will have incumbents who have not faced a contest in years.
We who want constitutional, small-government should be running candidates even when it appears they have little or no chance of victory. The mistake of assuming good candidates will emerge from the regular party process does not work most of the time because the establishment Republican Party has no real interest in the kind of transformational change sought by conservatives.
Do you really trust Party leaders like Mitch McConnell and John Boehner to build a Republican majority of small government constitutional conservatives? If we leave it to the national congressional and Party leadership to recruit the candidates we will end-up with a Congress just like them; incumbents such as Bob Bennett and establishment figures such as Charlie Crist, and Trey Grayson.
When making decisions about where to put their financial support, conservatives should remember that if the national Republican committees had their way, such now-stalwart conservative Senators as Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Mike Lee would never have been elected.
The only time we are guaranteed to lose is when we don’t compete. In today’s volatile political environment, no establishment candidate is truly safe. The American people want the chance to take out the big-government, establishment politicians; put your money and your hard work directly behind those candidates who are committed to small government, constitutional principles.