Sunday, January 10, 2016

The purity test

"And who among us is 100% conservative on 100% of all issues? It sure is not me..."

One of the things that will drive me up the wall quicker than anything else, are purity tests. Now before I get started, let me first explain one thing. There has to be some kind of a yardstick which will differentiate a Republican from a Democrat. Without that, you end up with "Democrat Light" Republicans or more commonly known as "RINOs". That being said, I also don't like how we have parsed some of our own down to the smallest participle. And if some don't pass our "sniff test" down to the last degree, we throw them under the bus with great abandon.

I have taken more than one position in the past that some of my cohorts have questioned. For example, my wife and I love our state park system. We visit them often. And I have been questioned on that. "The state should not be in the business of subsidizing parks." Or, "The state should not be buying up private land to be used for parks." I would definitely flunk someone's purity test for feeling that way. And state parks are not the only issue I could be questioned on.

My question is simply this - what do we do with people who flunk the purity test? Your test, my test, or any test? Should we throw them out of the party? And then what happens to them? Do we want them to vote with the Democrats? Or just not vote? Hang on - here is how I feel about purity tests.

Ronald Reagan gave us the eleventh commandment for a damn good reason. He knew that publically "eating our own" would lead us down the wrong street. The street called defeat. The Democrats on the other hand, will rally around their most flawed candidate. Example? Look at Hillary. She is dirty on so many things, and yet many Democrats will plug their nose and support her anyway. And if we keep parsing each other, destroying each other, Hillary will be our next president.

I cringe just thinking about the Republican debate next week. I am hoping against hope that discussions will focus on policy differences between us and the Democrats. If it devolves into playground name calling between the Republicans again, I seriously will turn it off. It is too painful to watch. If I were a Democrat however, I would be loving it. I would be recording it, just saving it for the general.

I do have just a couple purity tests which I use on candidates. From any party. Do you love this great country? Will you love, honor and protect our Constitution? Do you believe in right sized and sustainable local, state and federal governments? There are other questions of course, but answer these three the right way and we are getting somewhere.

One final thing. We win elections by winning the debate. We can privately debate with each other and then publically debate with the opposition. But the debate must be cogent and polite. Telling someone they are as dumb as the day is long will win zero converts or friends. 

November is coming. It will be here before we know it. The other side has some big, big problems right now. The day could and should be ours to win. Let's not waste our ammo shooting each other beforehand. Time to win for a change.   

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