Those who don't know me well are sometimes surprised when I bristle at the notion that I'm a Republican. I even got into an argument at a fund-raiser for one particular conservative who was running as a Republican when I told a consultant working for my candidate that his party of was just like the Democrats in more ways than they differ. I really believed it at the time although I will admit I probably could have been more tactful in my comments to the consultant (who was graciously trying to help someone he might well have had problems relating to).
I may have quoted George Wallace, 3rd party candidate for President back in 1968, who famously said regarding the two major parties, "There's not a dime's worth of difference" between them. I may have said something more obnoxious. I really don't remember the exact exchange, just that the consultant was really irritated with me. As I told him and have told many since- I vote Republican (generally), but with varying degrees of enthusiasm.
So why bring this up now, you may be asking? Well let's travel down south to the Great State of Mississippi for a recap of the Republican Senate Primary between incumbent Senator Thad Cochran and his Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel. I don't wish to rehash the entire sordid campaign, however two issues scream out for comment: Pork and crossover voting.
Cochran promised during the final days of the campaign to continue to "bring home the bacon" for Mississippi as he has been doing for decades. He also mentioned his desire for a return to earmarks which had been put on hold since 2010. Earmarks are part of legislation that directs funds to be spent on certain projects. Cochran was champion of earmarks from 2008-2010 so his enthusiasm for this is understandable. The problem is, it's not in any way shape or form a Conservative position.
Then there is the Robocall. Calls apparently directed toward black Democrat voters charged that a McDaniel victory would hurt President Obama. Reports of thousands of crossover voters from Democrat areas may have resulted in the razor thin margin Cochran has built 24 hours after polls closed. There have been questions as to the legality of some of the crossover voters as well as charges of money being exchanged for votes.
What does this mean? Well, if victory is the only measure of success, the ends justify the means, right? Well not necessarily, at least from my vantage point. If getting rid of Harry Reid as Majority Leader of the Senate just means we replace him with guys who are basically no different, maybe we should stay with the Dems and leave liberalism in the hands of the experts. When Republicans are content with being part of the Washington elite and act like Democrat lite, why should we pretend we care?
Sarah Palin recently discussed the possibility of a 3rd party if Republicans continue to treat Conservatives as second class citizens. Courted when their votes are needed only to be treated like dirt whenever they try to effect real change, either in Congress or in a primary contest. Polls continue to show a significant plurality of voters agree with conservative positions on most issues. If the GOP doesn't wake up to this fact soon, they may find themselves the Whigs of the 21st Century.
Some days, I can't wait.