Who’s Behind the Mask?
Discussion over the last several days has focused on the implications of Karl Rove’s Conservative Victory Project, but if you think he and Steven Law are the only people in the Republican Party seeking the defeat of conservatism, you haven’t been paying attention. The conspirators are everywhere, and many of them don’t even realize their part in this insidious scheme. Knowing participants like Mitch McConnell and John Boehner are just the beginning. Realizing how deeply the Republican Party is infected, and considering how easily it has been corrupted and overwhelmed by a force of fifth-column Democrats in Republican clothing, you might wonder why we’d bother to save it at all. The stunning part of this conspiracy only becomes apparent once one recognizes the true source of their devious power, seeing the real force that has been arrayed against real conservatism on behalf of the Republican conspirators, because if you’re still a Republican, the identity of their true power brokers is staring us in the face each time we gaze into the mirror: The indispensable force upon which the various conspirators rely is ours, expressed in terms of all the times we did not walk away. It’s time to unmask and take our share of the blame.
We shouldn’t feign ignorance at the suggestion. You know it must be the case. Each and every time they have led us to electoral defeat, we’ve returned to them nevertheless. We could have walked away from them, and while we complain that it’s so hard to begin without them, the truth is that too often, Rove’s critique of our actions has been correct: He has said many time before and in many forms that we are the RINOs, because while he’s hustling campaign donations and concocting SuperPACs on behalf of the Republican Party, we’re nowhere to be seen. We show up on election day, but we leave the running of the party to him and those like him, who are charged with the legwork of making it come together according to some kind of strategy that we leave to them to formulate. Let me make this more clear: Rove believes we are the real RINOs because in his view, we’re only part-time participants, and we’ll consider walking away or staying home. He and his set are in the game all the time, without fail, and with relentless strategies, to which we are a party only when we’re expected to turn out and vote.
In all my years observing and participating in politics, I have seen instance after instance when the conservative grass-roots have become righteously enraged by some action or other of the party elite, forswearing further donations to the party apparatus, and going off on a pouting tantrum. I call it that, because the moment passions cool a few degrees, most come marching right back in to carry out the party’s bidding. In 2011, I heard the oaths and the promises, and made a few of them myself, about how I would not support another liberal or moderate Republican for President, but in 2012, despite the huffing and puffing, on election day, desperate to oust Obama, most of us (myself included) went rushing back in to try to prop Romney up and push him over the top. What do you suppose Karl Rove had expected us to do? Most of us complied with his plan right down the line. He wasn’t out to win, but merely to put on a good show to justify the massive expenditures.
Now I suppose it must be said that if it is a sign of insanity to do the same thing over and over again, expecting different results, so too must it be a sign of schizophrenia to behave in the first moment as if there is no going back, only to go back anyway. The only other way to describe such behavior is to suggest that we had been bluffing, and that the GOP establishment had called our bluff repeatedly. In the end, here we stand exposed, having made a holy spectacle of things, but in the end evincing none of the fiery resolve we had claimed at our initial offense. Is it any wonder that the GOP establishment marches over us at every turn? We keep letting them win, and in the end, supporting them, because we’re either too afraid or too lazy to strike out on our own.
There are those who will immediately chastise me, because as they will point out, building a new party cannot be done overnight, and cannot be done in time for the next congressional elections. That may or may not be true, but extenuating the matter will not improve our predicament. One of our laments in the face of leftist obstructionists to oil drilling who claim our goals will not be attained for a decades is that we never reap the benefits because we never begin. We point out rightly that if we had begun drilling when they first opposed it, we’d have acquired that new source of oil by now. The same thing can be said with respect to our talk about replacing the Republican Party. If we had begun years ago, we’d be done by now, but we always permit the lengthiness of the task and the attending difficulties dissuade us from commencing. We’re Americans, for goodness’ sake, and if we can decide to put a man on the moon inside one decade, ultimately completing it, and if we can decide to defeat the Soviet Union by out-producing and out-smarting them, and do so in a decade, surely we can likewise build a new party and toss the Roves and his ilk briskly to the curb in two or four years.
What then prohibits us? Yes, they have an open conspiracy against us. Yes, for all intents and purposes, they are in alliance with the Democrats. Yes, between those two elements, they all but own exclusive control of the media. So what? Look around. We outnumber them if only we’d have the good sense to realize it. They cannot put a single establishment candidate into office without our active participation and support. Cannot! The fact is that it is we who put the Republic in the name “Republican,” and it’s about damned time we act as though it’s ours to control. We must ditch them, or ditch the party, but either way, we must go no further down this path together with them, because they are leading us to a destination we cannot abide. Where will go? How will we get there? What must we do?
I haven’t any of the answers save one: We must separate or be stuck in this awful union in perpetuity, complicit conspirators in our own demise, losing election after election until there is no country and there is no way to make one from the ashes. We must separate ourselves from them or bear the stamp of the appraisal we will have earned by our alignment with them. Many people these last few days have made much of the Twitter hash-tag: #CrushRove. As bad as he is, and as malignant a force as we may take him to be within the Republican establishment, that entire concept possesses only so much power as our compliance and our votes lend to it. Every time you think of him and his white-boards full of scrawled propaganda on Fox News, remember that it is in large measure your willingness to serve his conspiracy that gives him the power to defeat you. It’s true that he is able to acquire large sums of cash in his efforts, but without the promise of ultimately delivering your votes by leaving you no alternative, Rove would be powerless, the money would dry up, and we would be finished with him.
We need to become better citizens, all of us, or pay an incredible price. This will demand of us not merely the swearing of oaths against a vague Republican establishment, but a commitment to seeing this through. For years, decades in fact, we have largely turned the operation of the Republican party over to those who haven’t our interests at heart, and who do not share our principles. If we are to do no more, we mustn’t complain when they run us to ruin. It is with our silence and compliance that they have purchased the power to decide who our candidates shall or shan’t be, and it is with the unchallenged ignorance of much of our flock that they have been able to persist. Conservatives mustn’t permit either any longer. I understand the reluctance of those few who would earnestly leave the Republican party behind, but have resolved that it’s their party, because I have felt much the same, but the fact is that given the activities of establishment Republicans for at least two decades, it hasn’t been our party for a long, long time.
We are fast approaching a time in American history when we will be judged for our diligence in speaking out truthfully on the state our union. When the collapse comes, as it almost certainly must, I will not be associated with the Republican party. It has been complicit in our national undoing, and conservatives who had worked so tirelessly against it shouldn’t be saddled with the blame, but their continuing association with a morally bankrupt party ensures that they too will be discredited in the ensuing debacle. It’s time then for me to commence, on my own if I must, but in its present form and under the current chief influences, or any like them, I am done at long last with the Republican party. If our founders could carve a rough-hewn nation out of the wilderness that had been the American continent, I should consider myself lucky to be an heir to their exertions, but I will not let their republic wither and die for my own lack of diligence. The only remaining alternative before us is to join the conspiracy against her by silent assent, surrendering to the bogeyman who will have been revealed: It was us all along.