Thursday, October 30, 2014

REAGAN: Angry conservative birds must flock together

By MICHAEL REAGAN, Making Sense | 5/21/2014

Stop listening to so much conservative talk radio.

Take a break. Watch a cartoon. Go to a ballgame.

Stop listening to so much conservative talk radio.

Take a break. Watch a cartoon. Go to a ballgame.

Do anything else for a while but think, talk or argue about politics.

Do what I do and listen to country music instead. I guarantee you won’t be so angry all the time.

That’s what I told a bunch of rile-up conservatives the other day when I ran into them at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

I think I really shocked them when I said I rarely listen to talk radio.

What? You don’t listen to Sean or Rush or Levin every day?

Nope. Nope. And nope. They’re all great radio guys, great conservatives.

But I used to work in conservative talk radio. I didn’t listen to talk radio every day then and still don’t for the same reason I bet most country musicians don’t listen to country radio.

Don’t get me wrong. Conservative talk radio is great. But all you hear are angry callers. The only people I hear enjoying themselves are the hosts.

But these days it can be dangerous for Republicans because all you hear is conservatives picking fights with each other over who they want to run for president in 2016.

It’s become a bitter internal Twitter debate between Tea Party conservatives, economic conservatives, social conservatives, libertarians, hawks, doves and who knows how many others.

Everybody else’s favorite conservative candidate for 2016 is branded as a loser, a part-time conservative, a pretender to the legacy of Ronald Reagan.

Rubio’s soft on immigration. Paul is a dove who supports moderates. Cruz is too rash and too radical to win.

The problem is too many conservatives are spending their days looking for the bad in each other instead of looking for the good. No wonder we have so many angry people in our party.

Remember what’s on my father’s gravestone? — “I know in my heart that man is good.”

That’s something conservative Republicans should keep in mind this fall and especially in 2016.

All this factional infighting and ideological hair-splitting is dangerous for the future of the GOP — if it has one after 2016.

Instead of knocking Rand Paul as an isolationist or a traitor to the Tea Party cause because he came out in support of a nominee picked by the party, give him a break.

And give him some credit for focusing on the most important prize at hand — putting the GOP back in charge of the U.S. Senate this fall.

The bottom line is we’re all conservatives. We’re not the enemy. The liberals are.

We need to end the intramural squabbling that is tearing the Republican Party’s Big Tent to shreds in the fight to prove who’s the purest conservative of them all.

For 2016 the GOP has to get its primary act together and conservatives of all factions have to come together to agree — early on — which horse they want to run in the White House Derby.

Otherwise, in two years we’ll be looking at a choice not between Hillary and the second coming of Ronald Reagan, but between Hillary and the second coming of Mitt Romney.

Michael Reagan, the elder son of the late President Ronald Reagan, is a syndicated columnist. Email him at reagan@caglecartoons.com

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