If the GOP wins big in November, and then retreats into a “moderate” stance — pledging to work across the aisle with Democrats to advance the country; compromising in order to tweak some of the fundamental transformation that’s been dealt to us during the last eighteen months; playing nice with the radical left, who’ve added a quarter of a million new federal workers during the Obama regime — if the GOP is DOA with regard to fulfilling its stated and implied promises to turn around the unsustainable course the nation is on, then a third party will emerge. It will draw support from both mainline parties, but it will bleed deepest into the GOP.
Conservative discontent with George H.W. Bush’s “kinder, gentler” nonsense and his cave-in to tax increases — instead of continuing Reagan’s conservative record of achievement — led to Ross Perot and ultimately, two terms of Bill Clinton. Running moderate Bob Dole in 1996 reinforced the notion of the GOP as completely out-of-touch with its grassroots conservative base. Later in 2000, many conservatives, believing George W. Bush to be another incarnation of his moderate father, stayed home — a contributing factor to the debacle of hanging chads and seemingly endless recounts.
And though many activists railed against big government during the G.W. Bush years, it took the election of a far-left radical to rudely awaken the masses. The Tea Party Movement is an uprising of everyday Americans who want the principles of limited government, lower taxes and individual liberty restored. Taken at face value, the Republican Party Platform supports these concepts. Unfortunately, too many inside-the-Beltway, go-along-to-get-along RINOs, a la John McCain and Lindsey Graham (to name a few) — besotted with the perks of public life — have shown nothing but condescension and in many cases, contempt for the Republican base. G.W. Bush is also guilty of this, with his so-called “compassionate conservatism” (a complete oxymoron) and his deriding of the Minute Men as “vigilantes” and anti-amnesty Americans as people “who don’t want to do what’s right for America”.
And while grassroots conservatives — pushed to the edge over stimulus packages and the ever-growing tentacles of the federal government — are still willing to work within the two-party system in 2010, Cary warns:
If the GOP wins in November and betrays the voters again, then the gangly teenager will morph into an adult, into a political party, because there won’t be any other choice left.
Should Republicans be in a celebratory mood on the evening of November 2, they will do well to temper their joy with this sobering thought: Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, and we’re done with you.
As I prepare to cast my vote in the Florida Primary on August 24, and in the General Election this November, I pray I’ll be popping champagne corks with my fellow South Florida activists when the returns come in. But every candidate, whether in Florida or any other state in the union would be wise to remember that the grassroots has learned the hard way it’s not enough to simply elect people who promise to abide by Constitutional principles. And once they’re sworn in in January, we’ll be holding them accountable. As Cary says, “Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, and we’re done with you.”