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We frequently tell those who fail to recognize the importance of defending ourselves against radical Islam that “you may not be at war with radical Islam, but radical Islam is at war with you.” Yet many of us refuse to acknowledge a truth just as important but perhaps even more urgent: You may not be in a political war with the radical Left, but the radical Left is in a political war with you.
I openly concede that we have opponents who merely disagree with us on policy and fight us with ethical restraint, but almost none of them are in charge. Instead, the Democratic Party’s leadership and its supporting leftist organizations fall almost entirely under the direction of those who see us not as mere political opponents, but enemies. Whether or not you support gay marriage, if you pose any effective resistance to their overall agenda, you will be vilified. They care less about you being an actual racist than if you can be portrayed as one. It doesn’t matter if the GOP nominates Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Kasich, or drafts Jon Huntsman to run for president: the nominee will be torn apart and have his character assassinated with every underhanded tactic and rhetorical smear the media can possibly get away with. And yet, our response is much like the Left’s pathetic hopes to defeat Islamism by demonstrating how virtuous we are in comparison.
I understand the desire to not “go down to their level.” I also feel the pangs of conscience and dedication to truth and principle that constrain us. I’m aware of the danger of becoming too much like our enemies in our attempts to defeat them.
Nevertheless, among the truths and principles we should adhere to is the idea that no matter how “principled” you may be, your “principles” are rendered irrelevant if they stop you from effectively defending yourself, your loved ones, and ideals from those who reject the very notions of truth and principle. Moreover, if you refuse to acknowledge that you are at war with an enemy who has declared war on you, you will lose.
After Harry Reid lied on the Senate floor about Mitt Romney never having paid taxes, every GOP partisan should have should have dedicated themselves to destroying Reid, calling attention to his shady land deals and whatever else might have tarnished his reputation without being dishonest. That fact that only the most dedicated conservative newshounds know about his ethical violations proves that we failed.
When “Bush lied, people died” became a repeated mantra on the Left, the GOP released an excellent web ad pointing out how many Democrats had also believed Iraq had WMD’s. This ad should have been re-cut for television and aired repeatedly to ensure that millions of Americans actually saw it so often that Democrats were put on the defensive and forced to drop the accusation.
Instead, the accusation was countered only on talk radio and other forums for conservative audiences already inclined to support Bush. Whether Bush and Rove’s “strategy” stemmed from passive idiocy or some skewed nobility, the meme caught on, Iraq became political poison. My brothers in arms (I was in the Army at the time) were being killed by barbarians encouraged by a Senate Majority Leader who proclaimed that the war was already lost, and we elected a president who squandered their victory. The military gains and sacrifices abroad were rendered moot because we lost the public relations war here at home. The burgeoning democracy of Iraq is now home to the endless horrors of sex slavery and mass decapitations, but at least Bush “maintained the dignity of the office” and didn’t “get dragged down to the level” of his opponents.
While the Democrats’ court nominees routinely sail through confirmation, ours have been rejected or withdrawn multiple times. Republicans hope to sneak through conservatives, knowing full well that — if there’s too much indication that the nominee will rule the way we’d like — that Democrats will fight the nomination as hard as they can. Democrats nominate true progressives who consistently rule that way on the court because they know the GOP will cling to its high-minded ideals and confirm them regardless of their track record. Republicans therefore find themselves often nominating either unreliable squishes like O’Connor, Kennedy, and Roberts, or even leftists like Souter. Democrats harbor no such concerns about Ginsberg, Breyer, Sotomayor, or any of their other nominees.
Those who run America’s worst neighborhoods as their private, one-party fiefdoms repeatedly accuse us of holding African Americans down. In response, we give every indication we’re more afraid of being called racist than attacking Democrats and calling them out for the terrible damage they do to urban America. They burden our children and grandchildren with unfathomable levels of debt; we respond with wonkish proposals to cut taxes. We fail to make the Planned Parent videos the subject of more than a few Congressional hearings and then pat ourselves on the back for not being so “irresponsible” as to risk a government shutdown like the utter “disaster” that cost us two House seats in 1996 (not to mention the massive electoral gains after the last shutdown).
When Candy Crowley violated the rules of the debate she moderated to make Romney look like a fool, the GOP failed to inflict any penalties of consequence on either CNN or Crowley herself. She quietly apologized and kept her job. The GOP didn’t insist on any firings or boycotts, instead collectively shrugging its shoulders with a collective “Hope it never happens again.”
But it will. It will because when the Left hits below the belt, however loudly the talk radio hosts may scream about it, the response of our political leaders will be measured and dignified. We’ll whine about them being divisive and poisoning the tone of debate, but we’ll never make it hurt in such a way that whoever hit us feels as much pressure reigning down on them as the baker who refuses to provide a gay wedding cake.
I recognize that some of you may disagree with the tactics I mention above, and I’ll concede that there’s no guarantee that any specific tactic will succeed. Furthermore, I’ll grant that there are innumerable obstacles standing in our way. When we attack, they’ll respond, and sometimes they’ll win.
Nevertheless, whatever the merits of any specific technique or tactic, what matters is that we lack a sufficiently aggressive mindset. With the exceptions of Newt Gingrich (for a short time), George W. Bush immediately after 9/11, and Sarah Palin, since Reagan we’ve not had a single national party chairman, president, vice president, nominee, speaker of the house, or senate leader candidate who has demonstrated to his followers that he is determined to win. Instead, we’re perpetually told to be patient as our national debt reaches $19 trillion, traditional values disintegrate, and our border remains unsecured. We take Jeremiah Wright and Obama’s college transcripts off the table before campaigns even begin while complaining about unfair attacks on our character instead of attacking their character more virulently in return.
In international conflicts, we recognize the value of deterrence and that it’s ludicrous to tell to the enemy what you won’t do. Domestically, however, we rush to the microphone to assure Speaker Pelosi that we won’t threaten a government shutdown no matter what, somehow reaching the absurd conclusion that if we’re reasonable with Democrats that they’ll be reasonable with us.
We’re correct when we criticize the divisiveness of Obama’s rhetoric. However, when we fail to acknowledge that it actually works we’re rendering ourselves impotent against it. Indeed, we should live in a world in which people patiently and soberly reflect on the views of various candidates as they rationally determine who to vote for. Unfortunately, we don’t. Instead, people fall for idiocies like the Life of Julia and believe Romney was a “vulture capitalist” because they heard a lot of people say he was. We run campaigns geared for the American people as they should be, they run campaigns aimed at how they are. Thus, it’s no surprise who runs the real Washington.
Not unlike the Leftist who thinks the Iranian mullahs will respond to reason because the leaders of Denmark and Spain all seem so reasonable, we find it difficult to believe that vast swaths of the country are actually swayed by “The eighties called: They want their foreign policy back” because we’re so reasonable ourselves. For the simple reason that we’re not as interested in power as Democrats, we fail to see both how power-hungry and ruthless they really are and how effective ruthlessness can actually be. We may be fine with boring, but the American public isn’t. Yes, our talk show hosts and some of the commentariat gets it. Does Paul Ryan?
Like most conservatives, I’d rather stick to the issues and not get personal. I’d prefer to reason with people to vote Republican because they understand why they should, instead of whether or not our guy wins the “beer test” or has better one-liners. I wish that people wrote off all those commercials about how heartlessly Mitt Romney treated his employees, that we could treat our opponents as nice-but-misguided and still consistently win, that they’d cringe like I do at the thought of a president violating the Constitution.
But they don’t. Not only is far too much of the American public ignorant of the beauty of our constitutional checks and balances or the importance of Western civilization and values, our opponents vigorously and effectively use such ignorance to their advantage. We’re fighting opponents who may presently fail to deprive us of our livelihoods, throw us in prison, and overturn every liberty protected by the Bill of Rights (including ban Ricochet), but they’ll do all of this and more without a moment’s hesitation the moment they can get away with it.
For the Left are the true warriors in this cultural Civil War, we’re George McClellan, always waiting for that perfect future day that never comes. They’re the guerillas, battling on every front, pressing every advantage in the media, schools and universities, pop culture, and Senate rules; we’re the redcoats marching in perfect formation, sneering at the barbarians who consistently violate the “rules of war” as they overrun our cities, take over our culture, and not only violate specific standards of decency, violate the very notion of decency itself.
We may think that allowing this to happen somehow preserves morality and justice, but it doesn’t. You can’t “poison political discourse” that’s already saturated with cyanide. Instead, you’ve got to make those who pour the poison drink from the wells they’ve polluted. Yes, we’re correct to dislike these techniques, but the best way to stop such tactics from becoming our predominant mode of political discourse is to use them with precision against those who use them indiscriminately. The very fact that we’re hesitant to use them proves we are in fact better than our opponents who use them with glee.
Because we have actual ethical standards that transcend political agendas, there are — and will be — ways in which we’re constrained that the Left is not. Nevertheless, there’s room for us to become more aggressive without surrendering all our values. Is it really immoral to assassinate the character of character assassins, to launch spurious John Doe investigations against people who launch them against us, or pressure a company to fire a leftist who pressured another company to fire a gay marriage opponent?
I recognize the importance of ideals, but to everything there is a season, and this season is getting desperate. Our national debt alone should be cause for alarm on the part of our political leaders, yet they seem as cautious, passive, and risk-averse as they were a decade ago. We understand the intransigence of our international enemies, yet assume we can reason away Black Lives Matter activists who shut down interstate highways. Instead, Black Lives Matter sees us as being every bit as unreasonable as Black Lives Matter actually is.
Enough with the high road. Enough with remaining reserved and reasonable like Mitch McConnell, and Paul Ryan. Enough with run good clean campaigns like Romney’s, McCain’s, and Dole’s. Enough with patting ourselves on the back for how honest and noble we are and not “lowering ourself to their level.”
Enough with ignoring our $19 trillion national debt and porous borders. Enough with paying for Planned Parenthood with our money. Enough with the rape and pillage sweeping across the Middle East. Enough with the IRS and other government agencies being used as weapons against ordinary Americans. Enough with the strangulation of small business, the American Dream, and the bakers and photographers having their livelihoods destroyed for not participating in ceremonies they oppose. Enough with being so scared of getting called on a foul that we never make a play.
Just like George McClellan only needed a little more time to defeat the South, we just need a few more Senate seats and then we’ll start changing things, right? On the other hand, McClellan ran for President on a platform of a “negotiated peace” with the South, indicating that perhaps he didn’t really want to win, either.