Principles over Party

Governor Chris Christie—who has commendably been a defender of fiscal responsibility in New Jersey—recently declared, “I think Delaware was a missed opportunity to have a really good U.S. Senator,” affirming that he was proud to have endorsed Mike Castle.

Former George W. Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson wrote in The Washington Post that unlike Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle, “Serious, mainstream Republican Senate candidates could have won in Delaware and Nevada.” He sarcastically added, “O’Donnell and Angle were gifts of Sen. Jim DeMint and Sarah Palin to their party.”

Christie and Gerson seem to have missed the mark ever so slightly … by about five-hundred feet.

O’Donnell wasn’t a “perfect” candidate—and I defy anyone to find someone who is—but she was definitely the only conservative running in the Delaware Senate race. One can’t help but ponder why any self-proclaimed conservative would have endorsed Castle, who has consistently received an F rating from the NRA and Gun Owners of America, a 0 from the National Right to Life, and a perfect 100% from Planned Parenthood and NARAL. He also earned a 43% from Club for Growth for 2009. In fact, as RedState pointed out in September, “In every year, Castle has had the most liberal voting record of any member of the 175+ Republican [CFG] caucus.”

One also can’t help but wonder who would fit into Gerson’s label of “serious, mainstream Republican Senate candidates.” Does he mean “serious” and “mainstream” as in pro-bailout, pro-abortion, pro-cap-and-tax, pro-amnesty “Republican” Lisa Murkowski? Last I checked, plenty of “serious, mainstream” Republicans helped get us into the economic and Constitution-bashing mess we’re in.

In his monologue on November 9, radio host and bestselling author Mark R. Levin offered some principled context: “Mike Castle would’ve been a disaster. He’s been a disaster. And now at least Delaware can work hard to find a candidate to defeat this guy Coons in two years and keep trying. You may not succeed, but you can keep trying. Arnold Schwarzenegger was a Republican Governor of California. He was a disaster. I mean, he ruled like a Democrat. This is the problem. You cannot advance core principles; you cannot take a fundamental stand against this kind of radicalism, if you’re all over the map and yet pretend not to be. And I’m discussing this because we have a long way to go. This battle’s gonna be very, very difficult within the Republican Party, within the conservative movement, and in the general society. And there are gonna be those who contribute to it and those who basically don’t.”

Levin added, “And so, what’s needed is perspective. [In] 1976 … Ronald Reagan was running against Gerald Ford. There were conservatives all over the country who were lining up behind Gerald Ford. ‘Reagan’s too extreme, Reagan is a B actor, Reagan is this, Reagan is that, he can’t win, he can’t win.’ He almost beat Ford.”

Levin continued, “He [Reagan] had no stomach for the Republican fraternity—and that’s what he’d call it, none. He had to overcome them in order to get the nomination and get elected as President. … When Reagan lost in ’76, the Republican establishment opposed him in 1980 again. They threw four, five candidates at him, including George H. W. Bush. It didn’t work. Almost worked, by the way, but it didn’t work. It didn’t work. These are the sort of battles we’re gonna have to continue to fight.”

What good do closet lefties disguised as Republicans—who ally themselves far more with the Left than with the Right—do for the Republican Party?

For way too long, labels have been revered over principles. The result was a Republican President, George W. Bush, whose embrace of TARP, auto bailouts, and government overreach in our educational system yielded a grassroots TEA Party movement that works tirelessly to right the wrongs of both the Left and the “serious, mainstream” Right.

Everyone loves to win, but not if it means compromising our principles for the sake of a label. Those aren’t wins. They are losses.

Although they won’t be headed to D.C., Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle, Ken Buck, and others are winners. They helped to revive conservatism in their states and throughout the country. And they taught many establishment big-shots a much-needed lesson: We won’t be sitting on the sidelines anymore while you run the show. Those days are over.

As we head towards 2012, principled conservatives will distinguish themselves from those who are content with business as usual. Keep an eye on potential Reaganesque candidates whom some establishment politicians and media voices will undoubtedly try to dismantle.

And unlike what the “great and powerful” establishment “wizards” of D.C. may tell you, do pay attention—and closely—to the dealings of Washington big guns behind the curtain.