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.

About wavemaker

  • Karl Marx

    If Mike Reagan says his dad would be supporting John McCain what more do the talkmasters need to know? Do we need to go back and ask What is a Republican? Can we do so without calling anyone with “deviant” position on abortion, gay rights and foreign policy a RINO? Can we disagree with our nominees. John McCain is the best man for the job. He might even help get conservatives elected to Congress and may in states like MA to the state legislature.  

  • That’s the big question, it appears. Republicans need to be conservative on more than one or two issues. No, they don’t need to be conservative on all issues to make me happy. Hey, I was supporting Romney.

    But McCain causes me much concern. See my post re NRO Contributor Mark Levin’s problems with a number of the big policy matters McCain has gotten involved in:


  • Linda Rapoza

    Though I have a boatload of problems with McCain, I’m not prepared to burn my own house down to make a point. I want him to sweat it out. I want him to come to realize what he created by dumping on the base of his own party. I want him to worry about his chances in November because of the people who are threatening to “blank” him. I want him to lie awake at night thinking of ways to make it up to us. Yes, that’s right! I’m a conservative who believes that actions have consequences! It’s going to be a long lonely summer for the angry squirrel. Instead of gathering provisions for the hard times, he was busy poking his fingers in our eyes. He needs our vote now? Let him earn it!

  • Let us not forget McCain snubbed C PAC last time now he needs us let him sweat

  • Ihave nothing but respect for Bush and McCain but lets face it they would not be my first choice is it so wrong to want more!!!!!!When do we stop moving left?

  • Yellow Cake?

    Sounds like a way to stifle honest dissent.  It sounds like the GOP wants people to forgo personal integrity and value party loyalty over loyalty to country and fellow citizens.

    The image is befitting of the totalitarianism wing of the GOP and sounds a lot like Mao in China. If you guys want to squash the “GOP as Fascist” rap that you guys have been getting lately, perhaps you should encourage diversity of thought and value intellectualism.

    One problem you guys have is, in fact, intellectual laziness. The same politics by simple sound bite  machine created by Rove that worked in obfuscating and smearing the Democrats the last 8 years has in part been turned on McCain. I’ve seen so many GOP types reduce the man’s entire career down to “McAmnesty”. Rather than grappling with the nuances of a smart, accomplished Senator and tortured Navy officer, they’d rather just see the black and white they’ve been conditioned to see the Democrats in. The split is a monster created by the party apparatus itself.  

  • You aren’t breaking the commandment, but you are dinging its spirit.

    You willfully (I say willfully, because this is the second time you have done this) ignoring the bulk of Shari’s post.

    She wrote one sentance speculating about blanking the ballot right after Super Tuesday – and gave voice to a thought that many had, born of disappointment.  BUT.  The entire rest of the post was dedicated to telling people not to turn away from the party if thier guy wasn’t the nominee, but to instead work on other races they could feel more enthusiastic about – Augustus in her case.  THAT is urging people to suppor the GOP, and finding a way to make lemonade.

    This angels-dancing-on-the-head-of-a-pin gig is tiresome.  Are you for the spirit or the regulations?

  • People will show up and pull the lever for him. If not, they’re culpable for making the country worse if Obama or Hillary wins.

    Second of all, I really don’t get the whole Republicans: A Party divided thing. Last I checked, we FOUND our Presidential nominee and the Democrats are arguing over what’s more important: genitals or skin color. Ay yay yay.