More Thoughts on Reagan’s 11th Commandment

( – promoted by Cool Cal)

We’ve come to the tail end of a lengthy comment thread on a post entitled “What Ever Happened to Reagan’s 11th Commandment?” posted by Sharilee Worthington, the Republican State Committeewman from the Second Worcester District — the subject matter of that discussion had to do with a candidate’s compliance, or lack thereof, with campaign finance laws.

I am prompted to raise the theme of Reagan’s 11th Commandment again in light of Ms. Worthington’s advocacy at Worcester County Freedom Trail in favor of blanking the Presidential ballot if John McCain is the Republican nominee.

In her post entitled “Skip President, But Do Vote,” Shari says this:

Worcester activist, Desiree, and I have been chit-chatting about Romney, McCain, and the sad state of the Republican Party. I’m hearing from a lot of people who are going to sit out the Presidential election. I can certainly understand as that’s my plan, too.

In light of this apparent contradiction, I thought a review of this “11th Commandment” notion was a good idea.

The idea that “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican” was actually the invention of Gaylord Parkinson, who was the Chairman of the California Republican Party when Ronald Reagan was first running for Governor in 1966. It came about as a result of a bitter primary race in which the moderates and conservatives of the party were at ideological war, and the moderate candidate was attacking Reagan.

So now 42 years later, the shoe is on the other foot, and some conservatives (such as Shari) apparently feel that it is necessary to advocate that the (presumptive) standard-bearer of the Party be shunned because he is not conservative enough (actually, it seems that Shari is one of those who believes Ann Coulter‘s claim that Hillary is more conservative than McCain – a claim that, like its proponent, is demonstrably nuts, frankly).

There are certainly legitimate reasons for pure conservatives to be less than enamored with John McCain. That he is “a liberal” is just not among them.

When I tried to point out to Shari that I thought it was the responsibility of a state committee member to get behind the party nominee, I got this from her, and then I got this from one “Wes”:

Any Republican who has either been so intellectually lazy or otherwise willingly misinformed by the MSM or GOP leaders as to McCain’s alleged status as a true conservative are doing a tremendous disservice to our party.

In the first place, I made no argument regarding McCain’s “status as a true conservative,” and I think my point all along has been that I don’t really care if he is a “true conservative” (whatever that means — certainly different things to different people), but that he is conservative enough to warrant our support.

Now, I admit that when I saw Wes’s comment suggesting that I was “intellectually lazy” or “willingly misinformed,” I had to laugh. After all, it was intellectually lazy to ascribe to me the notion that I was accepting “McCain’s status as a true conservative” when I had never suggested that. What it also reveals is that Wes (and apparently Shari) are among those remaining Republicans here in Massachusetts who think that only “true conservatives” can be true Republicans. Big problem there.

Now I do not take the pejoratives “intellectually lazy” or “willingly misinformed” lightly (I’m not sure the latter isn’t a paradox– for the intellectually lazy, see here). So I replied — simply to point out that there are credentialed, credible conservatives willing to stand up for the man — with this:

“intellectually lazy?”

“willingly misinformed?”

For those too busy to follow the links, the former is a WSJ piece on McCain’s fiscal record in Congress (including the proper context behind his vote against the Bush tax cut) and the latter is Michael Reagan’s opinion in Human Events (that liberal rag) that his father would be out campaigning for McCain.

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