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Are calls for "party unity" divisive?

By Scott Tibbs, January 27, 2007

The following scenario is for Republicans:

Imagine for a moment that Barney Frank moves to the Ninth District of Indiana, somehow manages to win the 2008 Republican primary election, and will face off against Baron Hill the following November for Hill's seat in Congress. As a Republican, would you support Barney Frank (who is even farther to the Left than Baron Hill) because he is a Republican? What if, instead of Barney Frank, the GOP candidate is a rabid racist, anti-Semite, and Holocaust denier? If you would not support this man, why not? Where do you draw the line?

Once we establish that there is a line where you would not support a Republican candidate, then the only ting that remains is to haggle over where that line should be drawn.

A common topic at the Friday Lunch Bunch (a group fo conservative activists who have been meeting for years) is unity within the Republican Party, and how we must all be on the same page to defeat the Democrats. Yesterday, my friend Bud Bernitt repeated his often-stated position that he will not support David Sabbagh for Mayor. Others disagreed, stating that Sabbagh would be a far better Mayor than Mark Kruzan.

I hold the same position that Bud does. I will not vote for David Sabbagh in the primary or the general election. I will not vote for Mark Kruzan either, so I am hoping that the Libertarian Party finds someone to run for Mayor. Otherwise, I will write my own name in. (No, I will not run for Mayor. I am not yet that far into insanity.)

Some have taken this disagreement as a sign of "poor leadership" by Monroe County Republican Party chairman Franklin Andrew. I could not disagree more. The fact that some conservatives will not be voting for Sabbagh is not a reflection on Andrew, but rather because David Sabbagh does not share our core values on fundamental moral, cultural and political issues. The chairman of the local Republican Party should not be expected to silence dissent, especially since Republican elected officials will disagree with each other on issues.

It was David Sabbagh, after all, who sponsored the amendment to add "gender identity" to the city's Human Rights Ordinance. (See previous articles from April 13, April 19, April 20, May 26 of last year.) David Sabbagh has voted to give taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood for eight consecutive years. David Sabbagh also voted for the ordinance to ban smoking in public places.

It is my opinion that these calls for party unity actually serve to weaken party unity. By attempting to browbeat someone into supporting all Republican candidates, those who desire party unity only serve to create resentment and divide the party further. There are people in the Republican Party who I will not support in bids for elective office. I'm certain that there are Republicans who would not support me if I run for elective office again in the future.

The answer, in my opinion, is to look for places we are unified rather than fret about where we are not. I will not support David Sabbagh, and I will continue to publicly criticize him when I believe that criticism is warranted. Trying to convince me to support Sabbagh is a waste of time, but I will support people like Jeff Ellington, Herb Kilmer, and Marty Hawk. If you're looking for party unity, you already have it with those three people.