The Republican party is a big tent. Conservatives, Libertarians, Moderates, and all sorts of parts of the spectrum. But we distinguish ourselves as being conservative relative to Democrats-we are the Right of center party. Nevertheless, many conservatives don’t feel comfortable being in the same party as some other Republicans (including, I confess, myself at times). Moderates like John McCain, who was the party’s failed nominee for President this last election, don’t stand for what they believe. I disagree with McCain all the time. And if I had been able to vote, I probably wouldn’t have been mature enough to resist the intense urge to snub him. But I have had time to mature and reflect on the reality of the situation, that would have been a mistake (an irrelevant mistake, but who knows how many people made the same mistake, in aggregate making a difference?). Party unity is something that is too important to sacrifice over the issue of intellectual purity. I am by no means moderate, but I applaud all the House and most of the Senate Republicans for standing up to the stimulus and Obama, including McCain and his “boyfriend” Lindsey Grahamnesty. They have official earned their party identification (watch, I’ll be screaming at them and calling them RINOs within a year. Shame on me ;)) which is good because the party needs all the friends it can get these days.
But just because I’m encouraging you to embrace the moderates doesn’t mean that I want you accept moderatism. We must communicate, make the argument, duke it out amongst ourselves from time to time. We must distinguish ourselves from the Big Government Republicans, the “Choice” Republicans, the Populist Republicans, the Creationist Republicans, the Open Borders/Amnesty Republicans. We are conservatives, and we must make ourselves visible within the party. And our party must have a coherent message captioned “These are the beliefs that most of us mostly agree with most of the time” and that central message must be conservative. Don’t kick someone out over one little thing. I don’t know what a Republican is, but I know it when I see it-we range, and must range, from far right to half right, and it is difficult at the margins to tell who belongs. The answer is that anyone who wants to belong does. I don’t have to like all Republicans, but I am obligated, I believe, to support them when they are correct.