By Scott Tibbs, January 1, 2009
I am a conservative Republican voter. I affiliate with the Republican Party because, while I share many of the Libertarian Party's beliefs, I recognize that the GOP is the most effective option for public policy to move in the direction of limited government. However, I hold no loyalty to the Republican Party itself and I hold no official position with the GOP. My principles are my motivation for being politically active, not support for any political party.
There will be times when certain Republicans will not support conservative principles. We've seen this in city and county government with former City Councilor David Sabbagh's sponsorship of the "gender identity" ordinance in 2005 and County Commissioner Joyce Poling's support of an expanded ban on smoking on "public places" in 2005. I was very critical of John McCain in last fall's Presidential campaign and I openly supported Libertarian candidate Bob Barr. When I believe it is necessary to criticize Republicans, party loyalty will not prevent me from doing so.
However, I will support good Republican candidates, as I did with Congressional candidate Mike Sodrel and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. If the Republican candidate is not acceptable, I will not hesitate to support the Libertarian Party's alternative, as I did last fall and in the race for state representative in District 60 in 2002. As I said above, I hold no loyalty to the Republican Party and will criticize Republican candidates or elected officials who deserve criticism.
This stance has made a few Republicans very unhappy with me over the years. I hear calls for "party unity" and I am urged to avoid criticizing Republicans. My New Year's resolution for 2009 is to automatically reject all of these complaints. Arguments for party loyalty or party "unity" will carry absolutely no credibility with me.
Many in the Republican Party talk about having a "big tent" party. The fact of the matter is that it is simply not possible to have a "big tent" without arguments and disagreements within the party. If we are going to have people in the GOP who strongly disagree on core issues, those disagreements will often be public. Asking people to silence their voices in the name of blind partisanship does no good to voters seeking a party that shares their values.
There is another reason why I reject arguments for "party unity", and that is the malcontents in the local GOP. While any political party will have malcontents, they have significantly ramped up their vile and despicable behavior over the last three years. I have seen malcontents hide behind fake names and spread malicious personal gossip about me, threaten me on several occasions, and bitterly attack certain Republican candidates on a deeply personal level. I have seen malcontents run to the Internet and tattle about the party chairman and certain Republican activists.
In the 2007 city elections, I played the good soldier. I not only refrained from criticizing the GOP candidate for Mayor, I actually endorsed David Sabbagh despite serious ideological differences with him. (In fairness to Sabbagh, I did believe he would be a significant improvement over the incumbent, Mark Kruzan.) Despite the fact that I embraced the "party unity" the malcontents claim to want, the malcontents continued to spread malicious personal gossip, bitterly attack me personally, and threaten me on several occasions.
Well, I am done trying to be "unified" with a bunch of malcontents who have nothing else in their empty lives but to spew hateful filth against anyone not in their clique. I recognize that the malcontents are just as much the enemy of the Republican Party as the Democrats are, and should be treated accordingly. It is simply not possible to be allies with people who are filled with hatred, any more than a rabbit can expect to get along with a Beagle. A Beagle isn't interested in getting along with a rabbit; a Beagle is interested in eating the rabbit.
One specific anonymous malcontent has said on several occasions that I should be "removed" from the Republican Party. How exactly does she expect to do that? Legally, there is no way to prevent me from voting in the Republican primaries, which publicly identifies me as a Republican.
But the malcontents are ultimately not interested in removing me from the party. They are interested in silencing me, by persuasion or by threats. The biggest and most consistent complaint by malcontents is my letters to the editor and (to a lesser extent) my Internet postings. This demonstrates why the malcontents are not "moderates" as they claim. Determination to silence views you disagree with is not a "moderate" position - it is the act of a bitter malcontent.
The malcontents can read this last paragraph very closely. I am not going anywhere. I am not going to be silent. I will continue to comment on political issues at the local, state and national level. I will continue to write letters to the editor and update this political blog. What you malcontents need to do is grow up and recognize that you will not get everything you want and that in a free society there will be opinions expressed that you do not agree with. If you do not like that, you are free to move to Communist China, Cuba, North Korea or Iran.