I think one of the great problems we have in the Republican Party is that we don't encourage you to be nasty. We encourage you to be neat, obedient, loyal and faithful and all those Boy Scout words, which would be great around a campfire but are lousy in politics. -- Newt Gingrich
The former Republican Speaker off the House, the first to hold the office in over forty years, was by many metrics no boy scout. Extramarital dalliances ruined his first two marriages. He failed to foster the necessary strong consensus to maintain the House Republican majority after four years in the Speakership. To this day, there are conservative activists and pundits who have no respect for him, and view a self-affirming opportunist out to further his ambitions, whether everyone else agrees or not.
|Boy Scouts in Hong Kong, China (|
Yet on the issue of politics, Gingrich identified a key problem plaguing conservatives and the Republican Party as a whole. He typified the new combative approach needed to bring the federal government back under control, a method needed now more than ever. The previous minority Republican leader in the House of Representatives, Robert Michel of Illinois, embraced a nice-guy persona which allowed him to pass bills. Gingrich was combative, and wanted Republicans to take back the House and engineer real reforms. Gingrich attracted conservatives throughout the caucus, and working with them and the American People, they achieved a Republican Revolution in 1994, one which exploited Democratic weakness, dysfunction, and corruption.
If politicians want to win, they have to win the majority. Michel was interested in passing laws, laws unmoored from ideological purity or respect for the United States Constitution create bloated government less security, more instability. Values require vetting, and if one side wants to remove those values, the other side must be prepared for fight for them.
We don't need Boy Scouts in politics right now. No offense to Robert Michel, who indeed witnessed warfare in the army, but a clash of ideologies is raging in Washington, and We the People need representatives willing to fight and win for our side.
No offense to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, himself an Eagle Scout and community leader of great distinction, but at the national level, he was not making the grade. He refused to cut his teeth and split some lips in the blood sport of national Presidential primary process. Nice just does not get the job done. When Donald Trump was picking fights with everyone, including his prospective Democratic challengers, Walker was busy fighting with his prior views and establishing his present platform.
The fight and vigor he showed as Governor – and continues to demonstrate -- against the labor unions in Wisconsin did not play out in the national field. It’s unfortunate because that resolute leadership is exactly what this country needs right now, and more than ever.
We don’t need an apprentice in the White House, Walker had chided Trump in the second GOP debate. Walker was right. However, we don’t need a boy scout either. We need mercenaries in Washington, soldiers for the conservative cause of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, who will not just give their time and resources for the mission, but ensure that the most virulent opponents to these truths will lose their lives, too.
|Newt Gingrich (Gage Skidmore)|
Conservatives must accept this reality. The American political process is an adjudication of power, in which one side wins, and another loses. Politics is the only zero-sum game. There will be a loser at the end of the contest. Yet unlike the UFC epic battle between Rhonda Rousey and Holly Holm, the consequences of these losses will last for generations. In liberal democracy, the loser can collect support, raise funds, and fight again. However, even today the process for individual contest and promotion of ideas faces unprecedented attacks and limitations. Reporters find the doors slammed in their faces, or they get shown the door before they can report on anything. City and county residents unhappy with their local leaders meet against entrenched interests interested in frustrating the political process, raising the costs and time constraints for those seeking to run for elected office.
The progress of our nation should stand on easing the entrance of new people promoting our foundational ideas, rather than permitting elite elements to pick and choose who runs and stays in office.
The fight for our country, for our values is about so much more than just accomplishing the best with the people we are working with. It’s about more than tolerating difficult co-workers or unwieldy team mates to reach our goals.
The fight for life, for liberty, for the American way, the prized values of American culture rest on recognizing that these fights must be fought and won, and the losing side must think twice before every challenging them again.
We need to combat fire with fire, not sing around the campfires. We need to punch back twice as hard, and win, not playfully box with the shadows while the darkness of oppression, ignorance, and tyranny overtakes the land.
No more Boy Scouts politics, conservatives. Let’s fight and win!