Stop it. All of it. Just stop.
It is truly amazing how we pay lip service to unity, then immediately turn around and try to tear each other apart. This gives aid and comfort to the enemy, and it stokes the mistrust that so characterizes our current political process.
The negative campaigning, the dirty tricks, the middle-of-the-night meetings that rewrite the rule book – does it matter? In the long run (meaning about six months from now), will any of this matter?
To some extent, of course it matters. We have to be able to work together to accomplish our common goals, and our recent primary certainly did not bring us any closer together, but we have lost our focus on those common goals that unite us. No two people have complete agreement on every issue -- how boring would that be? -- but I have witnessed people getting absolutely roasted over any minor deviation from an author's credo.
Have you looked at Facebook lately? I don't blame the Santorum folks for putting a positive spin on things, but the vitriol directed at the Romney campaign is out of place. And Romney people, until now I didn't know you could be a sore winner.
And how can there be a split on the Credentials Committee vote awarding the at-large delegates? It's arithmetic! There is a right answer!
One thing in particular that needs to change -- elected or paid GOP leadership, including our national committee people and all members of the state committee, should not be endorsing candidates in a contested primary. If you don't know why, look at the current controversy surrounding the Credentials Committee and the announced endorsements of the 4-2 majority. Call it what you want, but it taints the process. The Party should be the Party of all the candidates, ready to leap into action to support the winner of the primary, not divided by pre-primary endorsements that suggest the deck is stacked or that give the appearance of impropriety.
We are fond -- very fond -- of referring to Ronald Reagan, and the tug-of-war over his mantle is sometimes amusing to watch. But one thing Reagan did was to articulate his vision of America. Not a set of legislative priorities, but a vision of what this country means and could be. Then the voters came to that vision. As Reagan said in his famous 1974 "The Shining City Upon a Hill" speech:
Standing on the tiny deck of the Arabella in 1630 off the Massachusetts coast, John Winthrop said, “We will be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world.” * * *
Which of our candidates is describing this kind of vision of America? Which one of us is doing so? Has the polarization that grips the national political scene taken hold of the GOP here in the Enchanted Mitten?We cannot escape our destiny, nor should we try to do so. The leadership of the free world was thrust upon us two centuries ago in that little hall of Philadelphia. In the days following World War II, when the economic strength and power of America was all that stood between the world and the return to the dark ages, Pope Pius XII said, “The American people have a great genius for splendid and unselfish actions. Into the hands of America God has placed the destinies of an afflicted mankind.”We are indeed, and we are today, the last best hope of man on earth.
The good news is that this can all be fixed. Easily, in fact. It will take, however, an en masse commitment to truth, transparency, and togetherness. For one, the Credentials Committee should reconsider its recent vote, and the Santorum campaign should drop all challenges. There should be a voluntary 30-day moratorium on saying anything bad against any fellow Republican. Let's focus on the target-rich environment the Democrats have provided, okay?
And in the future, let's remember that things don't need to be rigged. Debate doesn't need to be shut down. We don't need to "get around" anyone. Our party is about fair, open, honest debate and an unswerving commitment to freedom.
Time to get back to basics, before it's too late.