By Veronica Vera -
I am writing this in response to an OpEd entitled Principled vs. Pettiness by Terri Koyne. It’s important to note that I do not know and have never (to my recollection) met Terri.
I actually believe I would fit very nicely into Terri’s category of “Platform Republican." I too am a social and fiscal conservative. I too believe in smaller government, sanctity of life, traditional marriage, lower taxes, personal responsibility, and a strong national defense.
And as a side note, I happen to oppose the use of the term “RINO," as it has come to be used to describe anyone who is less conservative than you are.
Terri is right – there is a distinct difference between being principled and being petty. But there is also a third option that is dismissed outright – practicality.
The rationale that if you refuse to vote for the Republican candidate in the general election you are, by default, voting for his/her opponent is not silly. It’s strategic. One of the biggest problems that many of my far right comrades have is the inability to think strategically. And that, right there, is exactly why we don’t ever win. We’re too busy playing checkers when we should be playing chess.
That’s right; I said it. I want to win. If we aren’t doing any of this to win, then how can we ever expect to break the democrat stranglehold on Illinois? If someone wants to be disappointed in me because I want to win that’s fine; I’m pretty disappointed in them because they don’t. You see, if we don’t win, then what is all this for?
I’d make the same argument to any moderate Republican who did not vote for Brady in 2010 because he was too conservative.
When Scott Brown won his election in Massachusetts, he did it because the people in his state understood the math and were hoping to stop Obamacare. It didn’t matter that he wasn’t liberal enough for that state. When moderates and independents (and even some petty Republicans) didn’t vote for Brady in the last gubernatorial election, Republicans lost ground in the redistricting battle – consequently our districts were redrawn and we lost Republican representation from Illinois (Dold, Walsh, Schilling, Manzullo).
When Republicans lose during a general election, it’s not just the moderate ones that lose, or just the conservative ones – it’s all of us. We lose together. So how about instead of losing together, we find a way to win together.
You want to be principled? Good. Be principled – get your butt out there and vote in the primary elections. Be activists and campaign hard for the candidate(s) out there that hold your values. That is what primary elections are for, and that is what they are about.
General elections are about winning. Something we as Republicans have failed to do in Illinois. They are about taking our ground back, little by little if need be, and building up a Republican majority in our state leadership.
I don’t think we should compromise our values and our principles, but I do think that we need to stop seeing the next move on the checkerboard and start seeing the next five moves of a strategic chess game.
Veronica Vera is a strategic media and political consultant.