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Join, or Die


I was going to title this diary “Let’s Get Together, Yeah Yeah Yeah” but I figured the allusion to “The Parent Trap” would a) date me, and b) be a little lame. So I went with something a little more macho – Benjamin Franklin’s political cartoon from 1754. The cartoon is much more appropriate for a serious topic – how do we “join” (or “get together”) to pursue the purpose of rebuilding our party and rebuild our conservative base?

“Politics is compromise” is a truism about how we must operate in the political realm. Ironically, this quote has been attributed to Paddy Ashdown, who led the Liberal Democrats in the United Kingdom for a decade. Despite Mr. Ashdown’s political proclivities, he was right. One cannot survive in politics without the ability to compromise. Blogger “thudfactor” (where I got the idea to use the Franklin cartoon) writes:

Of course our candidates are going to be compromises. Anyone electable is going to be an imperfect match. Whoever becomes president will have to appeal to a broad range of people, and that means her or she will have to compromise on issues you think are important, even those you think are of surpassing and critical importance. That’s just life in a country of 300 million people and nearly four million square miles.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Every political choice is a compromise. We must always sacrifice something to move closer to the goal. Even our old friend Fred D. Thompson would have been a compromise in some ways, if he had gone on to win the Presidency. I’ll leave it at that, for fear of taking the focus off of the matter at hand.


Why bring this up now? This past Monday morning, the RedState Directors posted a diary that described their endorsement of Ken Blackwell as Chairman of the Republican National Committee. NOTE: They endorsed Blackwell. Please keep that in mind. In the same diary, they also stated that if Blackwell does not gain the necessary votes in the first round of voting, Mike Duncan would be a good second choice. And this is where the consternation began. The comments section of that diary was an explosion of angst and anger at the Directors for their support of Duncan.

Please go back and read the Directors’ diary again – the entire thing, especially the three items noted below the fold. Note what they say about Mr. Duncan.

  • Mike Duncan did not arrive at the RNC until 2007“. He was President Bush’s choice. Do you really think that Duncan was going to cross the guy who put him in the Chairmanship? I doubt it.
  • the RNC did not function as it should have in 2008 had much more to do with the McCain campaign than anything the RNC did. It was the McCain campaign calling the shots and consuming the resources.” – Many here at RedState have beaten the stuffing out of McCain – before, during and after the campaign. He is/was not the kind of conservative that many of us prefer, nor is President Bush. McCain’s tacit “leadership” of the party during the campaign and his mavericky position on how the RNC operates (for example, McCain is complaining about how the RNC is dealing with Obama, post-election) surely had some impact on Duncan’s leadership.
  • it is a fact that Duncan, by and large, had to live with decisions made before he got there.” – Duncan appeared late in the game and inherited many decisions of the previous RNC leadership.
  • The RNC had in place and was ready to deploy the tools to innovate. Unfortunately, the McCain campaign opposed using the resources Duncan had committed.” – Note – there were actions underway, and McCain’s campaign interfered. Now Mr. Duncan may not be a technology genius, but we don’t need a web developer as Chairman. We need someone who can get candidates elected. See Erick’s prior article on this topic.

Before the RNC Chairmanship debate there was much discussion about the role of the RNC Chairman. The Chairman is NOT a policy maker. Mindy Finn, of rebuildtheparty.com, does a nice job describing the role of the chairman. Note the two things she mentions that are NOT a part of the job:

  1. Chief Policy Advisor for the Republican Party
  2. Chief Agenda Setter for the Republican Party

I think many of us are still stuck on the need for the Chairman to create policy and party agenda, and that simply isn’t their place. We may not get the ideal chairman for the RNC. We may have to settle for something less than what we desire. We may have to (gasp) compromise. That’s part of the game. But this is not a bad thing. In politics, those who compromise are often able to get things done. In my world of business, I have always somewhat despised managers, because they often “play politics.” But there’s a reason for this – they must work with others to get things done, and one usually doesn’t get to call all the shots…thus the need for compromise. In the case of the RNC Chairmanship, we may have to compromise to get something done. I guarantee you that the colonists were forced to compromise in order to “join.”

So, let’s return to the topic of “joining”. When Franklin published the cartoon “Join, or Die,” he was referring to the need for unity in the colonies so they could effectively fight the revolution against the British. In our case, we must unite and fight against the influence of the Left and their agents – the Democrats – that are about to be installed into office. We now have that same need for unity. We need to fight the right enemy – the Left and their socialist agenda. We do not need to fight ourselves.

Direct your ire against the Democrats, not against each other. Take action, don’t just moan about a lost cause, as I saw in this post tonight. Erick called for us to form the “RedState Army” and subsequently sent out a pointer to the list of 168 RNC members so we could support our candidate for chairman. We would like Redstate.com to be an agent for activism in the party – a way for us to not just vent, but to take action to accomplish our goals. One of the ways to be an activist is to take that list of RNC members and contact them and let them know who YOU support – not necessarily the Redstate Directors’ choice, but YOU – your choice.

One last note – K. Ryan James wrote a nice diary on Rebuildtheparty.com titled “The Chairman Debate: Go on and be pissed” In that article, James states:

My advice is to go on and be pissed. Be pissed at where we are at. Be pissed at how we have fallen. Be pissed if the powers-that-be dismiss the desires of local activists in favor of personal politics.

Be pissed, but be activist and be engaged.

(emphasis mine) Let’s not get so hung up on the “pissed” part and get a LOT more involved with the “activist” part.

Be activist. Be engaged. Join, or Die.

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