The State of the Conservative Union: Not Good

I know the fireworks are just starting in the Dem debate, but something far more pressing is occurring and that is the disarray of the Republican party.  I wanted to repost something I just posted over at Hot Air – it’s part of what I’ve been working on most of the day today – the post I’ve promised on Romney, McCain, and the state of the Republican party (or more importantly, conservatives).  I’ve edited and added some stuff to this post that I couldn’t do at HA, because it has already been posted.  Some of the points I made in the following post I made in my last one – and in the comments section of it, so sorry if parts seem repetitive.  I wrote this after reading some of the comments at HA and other blogs, message boards, conservative sites like NRO, and opinion pieces over the last week or so.

Like a lot of conservatives, I am torn this election, because I don’t like McCain. I’m not overjoyed with Romney either, and it’s always perplexed me that some of the same people who will wipe the floor in defense of Mitt Romney (like many of the pundits at National Review) will jump all over John McCain for flip flopping on an issue for political purposes. Yet, that is Mitt Romney’s stock and trade. He’s done it for over a decade. I think it was John Derbyshire who wrote over there recently that you didn’t know what Romney’s position was on an issue until you could see which crowd he was speaking in front of. But between Romney and McCain, I guess most of the NRO crowd somehow believes that Romney won’t flip flop again, whereas they think McCain will. It makes no sense, but whatever.

On the other hand, McCain’s performance in the debate last night was/is a case study on why conservatives can’t stand him – his arrogance and smugness, not to mention his cheap shots on Romney for his work in the private sector and his outright lies about Romney’s postion on timetables for Iraq, were some of the most offensive things I’ve seen from any campaign since the race for the nomination started early last year.  Shame.on.him.

I remember in 2004 how conservatives argued about the importance of getting out to vote, because we were in the middle of a war on Islamofascism, both in Iraq and elsewhere, and we needed to keep Republican leadership who understood what the cost of losing in Iraq would mean both in the short and long term, none of it good. Kerry would be a disaster, conservatives argued, because he’d be cutting and running out of Iraq as fast as he could, regardless of the consequences. Conservatives were already disatisfied with Bush on a number of issues – like immigration, the Farm Bill, his ‘alliance’ with Ted Kennedy on NCLB, etc, but conservatives knew it would be catastrophic to not vote in the 2004 elections, because we wanted our men and women in uniform to be able to come home with their heads held high, and for the sacrifices made by their fellow soldiers not to have been made in vain. Not only that, but America’s reputation as a defender of democracy was at risk if we cut and run, and we knew Iraq would turn into a genocidal bloodbath if we did so. So conservatives pushed on and said “stay the course” with their vote.

Not much has changed four years later, just the faces of those who want to represent our party in the general election. The top three – Mitt, McCain, and Huck, all know the value and importance of winning in Iraq, and not rolling back the progress we’ve made in the overall GWOT. We’re still in Iraq, more of our troops have been hurt and maimed, and many more have made the ultimate sacrifice – all for their country and the people who have stood by them and said "we will not forget you" since day 1. It has been, after all, a war worth fighting and one worth winning.

We’ve seen the progress in Iraq that has taken place in the last year, a progress that will continue only if we have a CIC who understands what the consequences of failure in Iraq and elsewhere are in the fight against Islamofascism. Also, let’s not forget this: Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have stated in so many words that genocide is not a reason to keep US troops in Iraq – that is an astounding display of ignorance and naivete coming from two people who want to be elected in a position that would see them be the driving force behind our foreign policy decisions and in control of our armed forces.

America has an obligation to finish what it started in Iraq, not leave it unfinished as we did in Vietnam (thanks to anti-war Democrats who still today have not learned their lesson on that front). We’ve already seen that with perseverance and determination, things can change for the better in Iraq, that we can succeed, and that one day our troops will be able to come home with their heads held high, knowing that not only were they coming home to a country that supports them, but a CIC who, when the chips were/are down on the floor, wanted them to win, too.

On the "principles" argument, one side says “I’m going to stand on conservative principle and sit out this election, because I’m fed up with not having more solid conservative options for a nominee, and I’m not going to settle anymore” while the other side is saying “I’m standing for the conservative principle of victory and honoring committments the US has made.” But in the end, this is not about who has the most or best principles, because we all have good principles. Each of us right now is either determining or have already determined which principles are more important. We do this every election cyle, and this one is no different.

No matter what my differences are with the candidates – whether we’re talking Mitt, McCain, or Huck – I would not hesitate for a second to pull the lever for any of them against whoever the Dem nominee is. They understand the importance of winning in Iraq, as well as the overall GWOT.

I’m not crazy about McCain’s position on Gitmo or ‘rights’ for terrorists, but on Iraq, he’s been consistent from day one (and was for the surge before it was popular to be for the surge) so I will give him credit for that, and hold my nose and vote for him come election time, should he be the nominee.

Our troops and their families have made so many sacrifices in this war, and all of it done in the name of keeping America safe and spreading democracy in a place where the iron fist of a dictator ruled for decades. I will never forget the first time I saw a purple finger, and read about the Iraqis who were defiantly going to the polls in spite of the possiblity that some Islamofascist thug or “insurgent” would try to make a martyr of himself at a polling station. I think about that, and then I read about people who have actually already decided to sit out an election here (or vote for a Dem candidate or write in another) in order to prove some type of point, and it saddens me a great deal, because the only point it will prove in the end is that the same America who said in 2004 that we shouldn’t rest until we’ve won in this war will sit back and allow someone into the WH who has no concept about what American honor is about, someone who will effectively make it so those same Iraqis won’t enjoy the right to go out and vote anymore because their country will be overrun by terrorists who want to make it a base for global jihad, someone whom our enemies will absolutely love.

The illegal immigration issue is an important one – I don’t deny that. And it will be an uphill climb on that issue should McCain be elected president. On Iraq, though, we’d have a strong ally in him. However, electing Obama or Clinton would be a lose/lose situation, because neither one of them give a rip about our border nor do they support the war in Iraq, and as a consequence everything our troops have sacrificed so much for will be in vain. I, for one, do not want that on my back. Hillary or Obama may win the election regardless, but it won’t be because I stayed at home, or wrote in another candidate’s name in protest. 

Related: The Anchoress urges us all to chill out a bit and take a deep breath.  (h/t: Instapundit)

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