Open Letter to Some Red State Readers
Today, I was looking over my Red State articles that looked at the 2010 Midterm elections state-by-state. I have to admit that I did not read many of the comments as they came in, but had the opportunity to recently. Part of that was because I was without a computer due to technical reasons for a while, but problem is now solved. So, would like to- several months after the fact- address some comments made by some readers who disagreed with me. It would be great to contact personally, but I will do it instead in an open forum. So just allow me this little bit of venting and such:
In response to by 9/26/10 article titled “House Races in New Jersey:An Update,” Laborunionreport, a commentator who I regularly follow on this site, incidentally, noted that Governor Chris Christie was not a supporter of the Second Amendment and, by inference, that he was not a true conservative. He also restated some remarks Christie made to Sean Hannity regarding gun control issues. Pilgrim stated that if the definition of a moderate was being mute on immigration, gun control, and abortion, then Christie was a moderate. The point of my article was that despite Christie’s rising star in the Republican Party, he had/has no Presidential aspirations in 2012. I would love to see a Christie-Obama debate, but it isn’t happening. Regardless, immigration policy is not that great of an issue in New Jersey to start with, so why should the Governor be forced into taking a position on the issue? True, there are illegal immigrants in New Jersey- many, in fact- but this is not Arizona, California, or Texas. Regarding his views on abortion, they ae clear. He is pro-life. He has stated that. That being said, he is also a pragmatist in a fairly liberal state. Is Christie going to really aggressively pursue a pro-life legislative agenda? If he does, it will be pragmatic tinkering at the edges. He realizes that the New Jersey legislature is Democratically-controlled. The same goes for gun control. If you read the exchange between Hannity and him, he states that- any efforts to roll back New Jersey’s ineffective Draconian gun control laws will be met with stiff resistance and, most likely, be a losing effort. In New Jersey, gun control, immigration policy, and abortion are simply not major issues. I hate to say that, being a New Jersey resident for 51 years of my life, but those are the facts. Submitting Christie to some de facto reader conservative litmus test misses the entire point.
In an article on 10/7/10 titled, “No Obama: North Carolina is Not Blue,” IJB stated that I was “ludicrous” to predict that Republicans would pick up the 2nd Congressional district and not the 7th or 8th. Furthermore, SE-779 said that I was wrong on predicting Democratic wins in the 7th, 8th, and 13th Districts. Well, the results are in: Renee Elmers, a Republican, unseated Bob Etheridge in the 2nd District AND Larry Kissell, Heath Schuler, and Brad Miller (all Democrats) were re-elected in the 7th, 8th, and 13th Districts respectively. Hence, my analysis is not all that “ludicrous” after all.
My article on 10/16/10 titled “Of Witchcraft and Masturbation: Who Would Have Thunk It?,” generated a lot of negative commentary. Maybe because I am from New Jersey and a pragmatist, I stated the facts as I saw them. For example, JadedbyPolitics took exception to my statements regarding William Buckley’s axiom that you field the most electable Republican/conservative. While Christine O’Donnell was Republican and certainly more conservative than Mike Castle, SHE WAS NOT ELECTABLE as the voters of Delaware decided. Let me ask a question: Who would you rather have representing Delaware in the Senate- Mike Castle or Chris Coons? Penguin2 suggested that I should have been offering support to O’Donnell while Scope accused me of dragging O’Donnell’s name through the mud. If I was a resident and voter of Delaware, I would have voted for O’Donnell in the general election because the other option was no option at all. As for dragging her name through the mud, Christine O’Donnell actually dragged her own name through the mud. VassarBushmills stated that I should be attacking the agenda of Chris Coons rather than attacking O’Donnell. Again, Mike Castle and Chris Coons were light years apart in policy, as was O’Donnell, but CASTLE WAS ELECTABLE, not O’Donnell. And unfortunately, it was Christine O’Donnell herself who drew the negative attention to herself. There is a problem- a real problem- when one of your first campaign commercials ends with the tag line: “I’m not a witch.” Given the shortened campaign due to their late primary, O’Donnell’s entire campaign was designed to define herself rather than attack Coons and his liberal agenda. It would have been great if she and others could have even reached that stage of attacking Coons, but that strategy was put down the day she won the nomination. My point is that principles are great and they are even better when they align with electoral victories. But, let’s get elected first because in a state like Delaware, that is the only way a Republican will get elected. As for the title of the article, well those were issues brought to light by…Christine O’Donnell. Those were her comments and it makes little difference if the liberal media put them out there or not.
In my October 23, 2010 article titled “Letting One Slip Away in Colorado, but Overall GOP Gains,” I was taken to task by Smokedaddy for being too negative and suggesting that I was underestimating Tom Tancredo’s chances of winning the Senate race. Texasgalt called me a “concern troll” and suggested that my analysis of the Colorado Senate race was off the mark. Really? I may have missed the news, but did Tom Tancredo win that election? Was my analysis “too negative?” The fact is that there were more electable, better qualified Republican candidates that could have and should have taken down the incumbent Democrat there. The fact that the Republicans picked up two seats in the House out of Colorado was and remains indicative proof that with the right candidate, Michael Bennett would have been defeated…handily! But, the point of the article was that the Colorado GOP shot themselves in the feet with the nomination of Maes and their inability to control Tancredo.
Finally, I suggested in my October 27, 2010 article “Taking Baby Steps in New York,” that the great Republican tidal wave in the House races were being overestimated in New York state. I anticipated at most three Republican wins. On the other hand, Skully corrected me and predicted 6-8 seat pick ups for the Republican Party. With this article, I admit to having egg on my face. In fact, six districts were flipped- the 13th, 19th, 20th, 29th, 24th, and 25th. All these, Skully correctly predicted. They were wrong on the 1st, 23rd, and 27th.
Free and open debate of views on any political website, whether they appeal to those on the left or the right, should be encouraged. Unfortunately, I do not see that here or elsewhere on many occasions. Instead, in response to postings that may not be in lockstep with the “conservative” or the “liberal” agenda on certain sites, the alternative views are often discarded out of hand. People are called “trolls” for not touting the party or website line, or even worse. Those actions do not foster free and open debate which often frames the issues and policy responses and principles going forth. Disagreement should be encouraged, but not disparagement. And this has to be done in an environment of pragmatism. While everyone here would love to see a “Republican” or “conservative” governance at all levels of politics, that will never be the reality. Leave the shouting down of alternative viewpoints to the likes of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. But in a website that is as influential as RedState.com, the free flow of political dialogue and a place for moderation is a must.