9.16.2003

PRINCIPLES OVER POLITICS

I find it curious that Hugh Hewitt, a so-called conservative, refers to Tom McClintock and his supporters in such a shrill manner. There is no question that Tom is more qualified and that his views are exactly what we as conservatives, hope more legislators hope for in a candidate. Conversely, there is no question that Arnold’s stances on a great many issues leave much room for conservatives to be skeptical. Additionally, there are serious and legitimate character questions about Arnold. (Trust me, some of the stuff out there will make people sick.)

McClintock has spent his career carrying the conservative banner in California. Arnold has spent a career lifting heavy things and making movies. And yet Hugh dismisses Tom as all that is wrong with the Republican Party. I’d say such is quite the opposite. Take away Arnold’s name id, and we would all be furious with him, his audacity at entering this race, and his boldness at shooing away conservatives altogether. McClintock is a hero to conservatives throughout California. He’s been the recipient of absolutely zero help from the Party establishment throughout the years, most recently in his 2002 campaign for State Controller when he was passed over for financial help, presumably because he was “too conservative to win,” despite the fact that the liberal San Francisco Chronicle had endorsed him simply as a matter of qualified vs. not, and he ended up losing by a mere 16,000 votes, just ½ vote per precinct.

Tom is the candidate conservatives nationwide should be clamoring for. He’s been unyielding in his support of the issues, uncompromising in the face of overwhelming opposition, unrelenting even in the face of Party pressure. He was THE one fighting Pete Wilson’s tax hikes in 1991. Tom has managed a voting record that’d make any conservative proud, been reelected time and time again in a swing district (a Democrat Target this coming election), and been a leader on the issues for years. And yet, despite all that, Hugh insists on mocking him and his supporters.

If the commentary was, “we love you Tom, but please take one for the team,” I could understand. But it’s not. It’s shrill, insulting, and mocking. And, oddly enough, it’s just that that makes it counterproductive. People are showing their true colors here. They’re showing that they do not put principles over politics, as the old YAF mantra goes, but rather the other way around. And people like that have never really been on Tom’s team.

The entirety of Hugh’s argument is that somehow the Party in and of itself, is worthwhile. Most people who label themselves “conservative” think otherwise. Tom definitely is a conservative first and a Republican second. He’s a movement guy, and the idea of moving aside so next year he can fight someone in his own Party trying to raise taxes just isn’t going to fly with him.

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