These are times that try the soul of political parties and their most ardent supporters. The final days of any election are marked by frayed nerves and unjustifiable ridicule, and this year is no different. However, now is not the time for the ranks of the conservative movement to divide.
Since the advent of the Reagan Administration, the governing majority in this country has been comprised of Americans who cherish limited government, fiscal discipline, a strong national defense, and traditional moral values.
Supporters and advocates of these principles include former Majority Leader Dick Armey and Dr. James Dobson. Both men enjoy the deserved esteem of millions for their adherence to principle and personal integrity. And both have the right to emphasize those aspects of our movement nearest to their hearts.
But negative personal attacks have no place in public debate and no place in the conservative movement. It is simply wrong for the former majority leader to question the motives of a leader of Dr. Dobson’s character and integrity. It is simply wrong to refer to millions who cherish Dr. Dobson’s voice of moral clarity as a "gang of thugs" and "bullies."
For the cause of conservatism to prevail, in the near-term and the long-term, we must renew our commitment to the whole of the conservative agenda. And we must renew our commitment to the civility and mutual respect that the American people have come to expect from our leaders.
(Editor’s note: Dick Armey’s comments about James Dobson were printed in Ryan Sager’s book, "The Elephant in the Room." Armey’s recently wrote a commentary, "Christians and Big Government," addressing the issue.)