This Delaware primary has definitely gotten out of control Liberals have been talking about/predicting/hoping for a conservative crack up for a long long time. By the looks of things, this Delaware primary self destruction is the ONLY piece of good news that a liberal can point to. The events of the last week really are a dream come true for them, which means that could be a true nightmare for us. The hostility and resentment goes far outside the confines of O’Donnell v. Castle. Frankly, the heat about this primary is no longer about the candidates, and it hasn’t been about the candidates for the past several days.
I find myself confronted with anger against people who used to be my refuge in the storm, and that itself is troubling in many differnt ways. I listen to Rush daily because he cheers me up, gets me motivated, and inspires as sense of possibilities. Today, I had to turn the program off. Instead of being a source of renewal, it became a source of pain. That is a knock against me as well as knock against many of us who have engaged in this primary. Frankly, our patterns of discourse that served us fairly well in the past started breaking down a bit in earlier this season and came to full fledged disintgeration about a week ago.
In an effort to restablish some unity and to heal some wounds, I write this diary.
First and foremost, I hope that no matter who wins the DE primary, that we all support the winner. By support I mean vote for, and not spend time trashing until after the November election. It doesn’t mean you have to provide money to the campaign or even necessarily make affirmative statements about the campaign. Vote (if you live in Delaware) and refrain from any kind of slams. These are fairly easy to satisfy requirements, and I hope we can all agree on this. I write this having absolutely no idea how the voting is going.
Second, I would ask that neither side take cheap potshots at the political integrity or fidelity to conservative values of the other side. Most of us on this site agree that if Ronald Reagan could be secretly cloned and run in the primary as a candidate, we would vote for him. Since that isn’t an option, we have legitimate disagreements resulting from inferior options. Each of us gives some weight to candiate foibles as well as policy positions. However, different people weigh things differently.
Some Castle supporters called O’Donnell supporters stupid for betting on what appeared to be low probability candidacy. Such insults were not appropriate. Although I did not insult people on that particular train of thought, I know that I too hurled some insults at folks in ways that was shame on me. Frustration is not an excuse for shorthand. Saying “you are an idiot” is often just another way of saying “I am so frustrated that I can’t make you see this point of view that I will cut loose with a cheap blow.” I want to reiterate the apologies that I have already made and apologize to anyone else whom feels slighted by a sarcastic barb or gutter insult.
Similarly, I would ask that those in support of O’Donnell take care in the upcoming days (regardless of the outcome of the primary) to refrain from instinctivey calling Castle “supporters” as RINOs, establishment types, ruling class elites, snobs, etc.
I have never before been called in a RINO. Twice I voted for Steve Forbes for President even though he had no shot of winning. In 2008, I voted for Fred Thompson even though Fred wasn’t campaigning in Michigan. I even had the pleasure of appearing on a local news program being interviewed as to whom I voted for, and why. So I gave Fred a free tv spot in an election where he won about 1% of the vote.
I am no stranger to the long-shot candidate. Some long shots are better than others. I support the candidacies of Twomey, Rubio, Miller, Angle, Paul and others who would be classified as upstarts or young guns or tea party candidates.
My failure to get fully behind the O’Donnell candidacy was not based on her stated policy positions. Rather, it was based on my assessment of her capabilities as a candidate. I believe (and continue to believe) that her record has some glaring weaknesses that would make it difficult for her to be elected in Delaware. However, my failure to support her was never based on “liking” Castle or wanting anything less than full conservative in the Senate. If Rubio was from Delaware, I would have been all in.
People like me should not have to endure inaccurate labels such as RINO, ruling class elites or establishment Republicans. The irony of course is that those folks aren’t insulted by the label, but true conservatives are. To me, they are fighting words—and the results have been verbal fights that are simply not desirable to our shared goals.
The biggest source of frustration during this process for me has been the inability of many people (there are exceptions out there) to say hey, we disagree but I know you are fully onboard with the conservative movement. Calling people like me who have no connections to DC, no connections to any MSM outlet, and who live in the middle of flyover country–callings us RINOs or establishment DC types because of one primary is incredibly frustrating and more importantly, inaccurate.
So I humbly ask that when confronted with someone who disagrees with you about a candidate, don’t casually throw out labels like RINO or establishment Republican. Those are fighting words to us, and they only serve to instill futility and despair in our hearts. Being conservative is about the values you support, not the candidates you support. We can and do disagree on what the best way to approach political victory in this country. We should respect that differences are made in good faith, and should not go out of our way to create easily defeatable straw men arguments like “You must like cap & trade since you support Castle so strongly.”
I am a conservative. Feel free to disagree with me on anything, but please refrain from diminishing a lifetime of conservatism based on a single disagreement between two flawed candidates in the tiny state of Delaware.
Thank you for your time. JSobieski