The defeat of Ron Johnson for a leadership post in the Senate should serve as a wakeup call to conservatives. Despite our hard work during the 2010 elections, we have not done enough to elect conservative warriors to Congress.
Too many people assume that we have successfully flushed the Senate of liberal Republicans, with the exception of a few senators from the northeast. The truth is just the opposite. With the exception of a few fighters such as DeMint, Paul, Lee, Toomey, Johnson, Rubio, and a handful of others, we have no one who is willing to fight day and night to reverse the inexorable tide of statism.
While there are only a handful of true RINOs, members who consistently vote with Democrats, the lion's share of the conference is satisfied to merely support Mitch McConnell's uninspiring incrementalism to nowhere. Even though some of our most intrepid conservatives were elected as part the 2010 freshman class, we also elected a new crop of McConnell benchwarmers such as Boozman, Hoeven, and Portman. While we were focused on the high-profile intra-party fights in blue and purple states, we ceded precious ground in solid red states.
To be clear, the mainstream of the Republican conference, the McConnell loyalists, are not RINOs. We may even assume that they intuitively understand that free-market conservatism is what is best for the country. However, they are not fighters. They don't wake up every morning and promise to dedicate themselves to the advancement of constitutional conservative principles. They wake up in the morning and determine the best way to play it safe and continue being....just another Republican senator. Either they simply lack the mettle to fight for their convictions or they believe that their convictions are political liabilities.
In a perfect world – one without truculent adversaries who are hell-bent on imposing socialism – these people, who constitute the majority of the Republican conference in both houses, would be sufficient to preserve the Republic. But we do not live in such a world. Our world is a world where liberals use every means at their disposal to advance their irremediable agenda. They leave nothing on the table. In such a world, you can't bring a Lamar Alexander to a Chuck Schumer fight.
We can continue electing more people like Burr, Chambliss, Corker, Isackson, and Johanns, and Wicker, but we will never succeed in eradicating the inane cycle of government dependency and elected tyranny. The results of the past few election cycles are on vivid display for anyone who follows congressional affairs. The election of one Jim DeMint is worth more than 20 of these inanimate, lifelong benchwarmers. We all know which ones have been fighting hard to keep their campaign promises and which ones have remained stealth senators following the rudderless lead of Senator McConnell. I would imagine that the Blunt-Johnson election vote fell largely along the lines of these two camps.
There is not much we can do about the presidential election. The field is pretty intractable, and it looks like our best chance is with candidates that are less than reliable on issues that matter most to conservatives. To that end, we must double down on our efforts to elect conservatives, and most importantly, conservative fighters, to the 113th Congress.
All too often, our efforts to elect conservative outsiders are impugned as purist purges of a big-tent party. We are accused of targeting and removing upstanding members from their seats. What our detractors fail to realize is that these seats do not belong to the members as defacto lifelong coronations. At every election, these Republicans must stand before Republican voters and articulate why they are best suited to represent their constituents. They must explain to Republican voters why they will fight the hardest for Republican values, in order to deserve their party’s nomination. There is clearly a lot of dead wood in both houses, particularly in deep red states and districts, where voters would find their Republican representatives deficient in keeping their promises.
Here is the question we must ask our elected officials: are you using Republican values as a vehicle to project power or are you using power as a vehicle to project Republican values?
Is your Republican senator and representative fighting for Republican values?