Hello everyone. I’m kind of the Jim Anchower of Redstate after the past year, because it’s really been a long time since I’ve rapped at ya, and it’s because I’ve been up to my ass in alligators in a swamp I didn’t want to wade in.
In the past year, one of the most important things that I’ve come to understand is perseverance. Things hit you unexpectedly: first the economy, then the election, and then sometimes the personal relationships you have, and there are other surprises on top of those. Strange lapses of judgment that wouldn’t normally have happened, for instance. And then the worry that accrues when you have to consider all of that. It’s good enough to write a book about, but the main thing that I want to tell everyone here is simple: your perseverance is inspiring, and I’ve missed it, and I’m glad to see it’s still here. It’s about having been through tough times together and emerging from that time with a much stronger and sharper sense of yourself.
The Republican Party is a kind-of disorganized bunch these days, and that makes sense considering the massive drubbing it took at the polls in the last election cycle. That shouldn’t stop people from realizing that after having suffered the defeat, they still have much more in common than they do that separates them. Most of the landscape is similar: we still have the FiCons and the SoCons and the DefCons and the NatCons, but one thing we should all remember to get rid of are the Ron Paul Acolytes. I think William F. Buckley would have gone after them himself, and with his inestimable wit, if he hadn’t passed away, because they’re truly funny right up until the moment they’re horrific. And I know because I met some of them.
When we think about the future of the party and especially our electoral chances in 2010 I think we’re going to be in much better shape than we were in 2008, but only if the party can get rid of its spoiled brats. We’ve got far too many people on the Republican ticket who still truthfully act and think as though they’re from New York City. They’re not, they’re from Washington, and that’s even worse.
Most of all we need people in this party who can keep a level perspective and maintain their sharp criticism, and articulate policies that Americans agree with because they *need* them, not because they want them. Conservatism is not an easy discipline: it’s not and never has been a matter of getting what you want, all the time — our best tradition is making sure that people will always be able to fight for what they need, and those things are found in the Constitution. There’s a certain ascetic presence about it, and also a kind of un-funniness that I lacked when I previously commented here. But some of that was a legacy of having spent too many years on the other side of the Ditch.
I want to wish everyone on Redstate something that I’ve learned in the past six months: the courage to follow through with their convictions and to face whatever comes. There are people here whose character has left me astounded, and still humbles me, because of what they’ve been willing to do on my behalf, someone they barely knew, because of some little things I scribbled here and observed from time to time. I want people here to know that I will never forget that, and neither will my family.
So help me honor their grace and please do what I say: persevere. Disagree forcefully but not malevolently. Take care of your own and the people you love. Keep the faith, and keep this community strong. Forgive each other, and always, always use the truth as your most important guide. I’ll be here helping to make us all proud in the coming months.