Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Soapbox

First Principles
By Joe Shehan

Times are getting exciting! We are moving towards another electric campaign season where both parties are ready to do battle for our votes. Already some very interesting developments are coming out of both parties. Candidates that were thought as inevitable are now showing signs of weakness, and candidates that everyone thought were hopeless are gaining in the polls. Yet, what brings me to put pen to paper (or rather skin to keys) is the disturbing compromises of first principles being committed by many in the Conservative movement. Many Conservative leaders have in the opinion of this author compromised their beliefs for the sake of political expediency, and this is not right!

Two Conservative leaders that deserve much of our ire are Texas Governor Rick Perry, and Evangelical leader Pat Robertson. Both men have made many decision based on “first principles” and have stood by these principles under extreme persecution. Yet, when faced by the real chance of another Clinton presidency, both men put their support behind the candidate that right now shows he could beat Senator Clinton.

Several months ago, I wrote a column decrying the quick support of any candidate for political expediency. In the column I mentioned that until the primaries, caucuses and conventions are over we will not know for sure who the Democratic and Republican candidates will be. Because of this uncertainty, sticking to first principles is the only way to ensure that the candidate of our party is the best candidate for the job. Throwing our support behind a candidate too soon without doing the appropriate research could be dangerous for the country and our party.

So, what exactly are the “first principles” of the Conservative movement? Some of them are as follows:
1. A consistent pro-life stance where every life, born and unborn, is considered valuable
2. The government that governs least, governs best.
3. Taxes are a weight around the neck of our economy.
4. The family is the most important resource we have in this country, and it must be protected.
5. The governed must have the right to protect their life and property.
6. Immigration is important to the survival of a country, but only when it is legal.
7. Healthcare is important and should be kept functioning at the private level.
8. Defense is the government’s primary responsibility.

The support of anyone who does not have a consistent record of supporting these and others of our first principles is tough to swallow.

Pat Robertson’s support of Rudy Giuliani is confusing and frustrating at the same time. I am not saying the Rudy Giuliani is not a good candidate, or that he would make an awful president, but to see one of the leaders of the Conservative Christian movement back a candidate that is on record as being pro-choice and pro-civil unions, is disturbing. Now, I have not been one of Pat Robertson’s biggest fans, and I have often question many of his motives, but when it comes to the two aforementioned issues the Christian viewpoint is resolute. But in Rev. Robertson’s view, I guess they are a little more flexible when it comes to politics.

Governor Rick Perry is not any different. Again, in all honesty, I am not a huge fan of Governor Perry, but I do expect a man to be a man of convictions especially if he seeks to be my governor. Gov. Perry’s endorsement of Mayor Giuliani brings into question Gov. Perry’s views on Abortion, Gay Marriage, and Gun Rights.

To most Texans, gun ownership is a proud tradition handed down from father to son. Yet, Mayor Giuliani has shown some flexibility towards government regulations on handguns. In state who has now enacted the “Castle Law” (Your home is your castle and you can defend it at all costs) and a “No Retreat” law (You no longer have to attempt retreat, before brandishing your weapon in self defense) it helps to have a Governor who believes in protecting these right, and yet, it appears these principles are flexible for Gov. Perry when it comes to beating Senator Clinton.

I am all for rallying behind the candidate you believe best represents your positions, but when you begin to compromise your principles in order to “vote for a winner” you walk into a very dangerous area. Elected office is too important to vote for someone who will win. If you cast your vote behind a person for that reason, don’t get angry if that person passes laws you find morally repugnant.

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