There's something about the hours before an all-night drive that leaves me restless and even a little excited, like a kid before a big trip. I should be sleeping,…and in a little while I will do just that. But for now, my eyes keep popping open like one of those little dolls my sister had years ago. You remember them, don't you? The eyes click open every time she is upright (the doll that is, not my sister). So I've carted the laptop into the truck stop restaurant, stuffed a "Grand Slam Breakfast" down my neck, and am now enjoying some fresh fruit and coffee while thinking about what every other trucker thinks about; Ideological Purity.
You should hear them on the CB these days:
"Man, these fuel prices are killing me! When the [deleted] are we gonna start drilling for our own [deleted] [deleted] [deleting deleted] oil?"
"Well driver, ol' what's his [deleted] from Texas wants to start drilling now, but he's pro-life and I hear tell he prays a lot, and he went and said something or other 'bout overhauling Social Security too."
"Well, I'm a [deleted] independent ya know, and that kind of [deletable] scares the biscuits-n-gravy outta me… so I'll stick with 4 bucks per [deleting] gallon of fuel. We independent voters would rather go out of business than have a religious guy in the White House."
Of course, that conversation is as fictional as shovel-ready jobs, but you wouldn't know it if you listen to those who fret that we may lose the independent vote if we nominate anyone other than a candidate whose principles appear to be planted firmly in the shifting breeze.
Now, I usually direct my fire at the left in general and President Obama in particular, since it is they who are taking a bulldozer to the country. I have little use for people who are ostensibly on the right, yet who spend their days making a name for themselves by taking pot shots at conservatives. It might get you a cozy gig on a network or a magazine, but if such an arrangement requires regular acts of polemical fratricide, I'd rather drive a truck. Besides which, I know of no instance in history where anyone won a war by shooting at his own side.
But I must admit that I'm growing less disposed to being lectured to on the perils of "ideological purity" and its deleterious effect on political independents who are even now executing a perfect stampede away from Barack Obama, a president who is to economic literacy what Bill Clinton was to the Ten Commandments. Even the term, "ideological purity," contains a sort of derisive assumption of irrationality, and after all, what independent minded person would want to associate with a fanatic? Is it an irrational act of "purity" to insist that at a time when the country is going over a financial cliff, that we ought to apply the brakes to spending as opposed to merely cruising over the cliff at a slower speed? When did moderation in pursuit of national suicide become a virtue worthy of the independent vote?
Are those conservatives who favor a return to constitutional governance guilty of ideological purity? Were the Founders purists too, and therefore to be disavowed? Should Patrick Henry have boldly staked his ground and said, "Give me liberty, or give me something else?" Are independents so put off by concepts like individual liberty, separation of powers, and enumerated powers that if Republicans nominate a candidate who takes his oath of fidelity to the Constitution seriously, it will send them running back to the economic wrecking ball known as the Obama Administration and its star-studded cast of authoritarian freaks?
On the contrary, independent voters spoke loudly last November and said that the whole redistributive approach to governance has gone over like a pregnant pole vaulter. Republicans swept not only the House of Representatives, but governorships, statehouses, and local offices as well. The left suffered an enormous and comprehensive rebuke which was reinforced just recently with the decisive reelection of Governor Jindal in my home state of Louisiana. Independents have experienced the unvarnished Utopia of the collectivist in recent years, and they now look for a powerful and decisive reversal. Virtually any one of the the candidates vying for the Republican nomination would be huge improvement over the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, which is why I respectfully submit that the independents are with us and will be heartened, not dissuaded, if we actually nominate a candidate who embraces the role of government as envisioned by the Founders. It's not ideological purity. It's Constitutionalism. We do the country a disservice if we abandon the bold colors Ronald Reagan spoke of and revert instead to weak pastels.