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Believe in Ideas, Not Politicians

Conservative social media is a very depressing place these days. It's not just all the people on the same side hurling hate at each other. It's the fragmenting of a once united movement into candidate partisan groups that circulate talking points and fight culture wars against 'outsiders'.

This isn't the Tea Party. It's little cults of personality around candidates. It's cultural groups forming around people, signaling insiders and outsiders, the righteous and the infidels.

This isn't about Trump. It's about all the candidates who have attracted passionate followings. Conservative social media these days often consists of these partisans having it out.

I don't know who the winner of all this is, but it isn't going to be the things we believe in.

What was great about the Tea Party was that it was skeptical about politicians. It said, support the policies we care about or we'll kick you out. Now it's support a candidate and excuse their policies.

This isn't about who we should support. It's about what we should support.

Every Republican presidential candidate has serious flaws on the major issues. Yes, every single one of them.

And that's normal. It's the way politics works. It's the way politicians work. (Running for political office means you're a politician, even if you haven't held political office before.) It's the way people work.

There are no perfect candidates. It's why the job of people like us is to hold politicians accountable instead of being their shills. That doesn't mean not voting. It doesn't mean not supporting a candidate.

It means supporting candidates realistically by putting ideas first and politicians second.

It means acknowledging that your favorite candidate has flaw X and pushing him to do better. It means supporting him or her because of their policies, not because he or she seems like the 'one'.

Passion is fine in romance, it's bad in politics. Politicians, unlike husbands and wives, always cheat. They're surrounded by advisers who have a lot more influence on them than you do. They have donors and companies and agendas orbiting around them. Their life is different than your life.

And if they win, their life will be so radically different than yours that they just won't understand.

We're not going to have a conservative revolution by electing the perfect candidate. Three elections full of disappointments should have shown that already. If we're going to have one of those, it will be because we have a movement of ideas that can't be hijacked by anyone with an angle.

I'm not asking you not to support candidate X. I loathe the idea of seeing Jeb Bush up on the podium with Hillary Clinton more than eating used rubber tires. But you might just want to consider the possibility that Jeb Bush's path to the nomination might be through your favorite candidate and that yelling all day at other conservatives does nothing except open a path for him to get there.

Romney won because there was no consensus conservative opposition candidate. It wasn't for lack of different potential candidates and their supporters yelling at each other and smearing each other. None of that yelling did anything except clear a path for Romney to the nomination. And then conservatives could self-righteously stay home while Obama grinned at another victory.

We don't need another replay of 2012.

If we put politicians first. We lose. If we put ideas first, then win or lose, we build a movement.

When we put ideas first, politicians compete to adopt them. That's what happened with opposition to ObamaCare. It's what happened with immigration.

Putting ideas first puts us in charge. Putting politicians first puts us right back where we started.

There's a big difference between supporting a politician and believing in a politician. Belief should be saved for ideas, not for people running for office. When you believe in a politician, you lose sight of the ideas we are fighting for. You stop asking questions and stop holding them accountable.

And then you get Hoped and Changed on.

No politician can save us. No politician will save us. Fighting for the right ideas just might.

It's fine to look back on a Ronald Reagan with rose colored glasses. Movements need ideal models and the best ones are out of office. It's dangerous to do that with people who are actually in power because it blinds us to their weaknesses and mistakes. It weakens our fight for what's right.

None of the candidates in this race is absolutely the 100 percent right one. Some of them may be close enough for government work. And your view and the view of the guy next to you may vary. The right way to tell is by looking at their track records and what they actually support in the cold light of day.

If we don't do that, if we make excuses for them, then they may get somewhere, but we never will.

If we want to change America, we have to change politicians instead of letting them change us. If we're not skeptical of the politicians we support, we will keep on being fooled, waking up to wonder why we were fooled and then going through the same cycle as many times as it takes.


  1. Taking the leap that our elections are still somewhat honest and not completely fixed from the get-go, I am looking with narrowed eyes at what the GOP hopefuls are actually saying. I understood from the beginning that support for Trump was a swing of the pendulum to the other extreme; a cry out from the silent majority who are sick to death of empty rhetoric, politics as usual and PC bull, but I figured he would finally implode.

    Watching him closely now I see he mostly talks about his ‘lead’ in the polls and his ability to hammer down competition for sealing deals on sought after property, but when pressed for his ‘how are you going to deal with China and ISIS and the Economy and the Race issues and Women’s health, etc. etc. He replies that he has plans and no executive shares his strategy in a business deal.

    Right. But running a country is not the same as running a business. If he doesn’t understand that we’ve had seven years of a man running the country by executive order and it’s not working out so well for us then he doesn’t understand that the president works for the American people not the other way around. That’s the law. We don’t need a boss with plans he can’t/won’t share with us, we need a partner who is willing to pay attention to our collective opinions. After all, it’s our lives, our futures. America belongs to the people - or it used to.

  2. The evolution of the US into a totalitarian socialist state is irreversible, mainly because the Ruling Class and its minions in the schools and media strongly want it to happen.

  3. 1. Do the Republican groups labeled as conservative share enough core values to coalesce around one strong candidate for President , even for practical reasons?
    2. Who among the candidates really connects with conservative rank-and-file voters of any type?

    3. Is the current TV debate format going to improve someone's connection with the people or just knock all the the candidates down?

    4. Can we stop prima donna moderators, and TV news people in general, from trying to be the story themselves? In the wake of Watergate, journalist delusions of grandeur got out of hand.

  4. Anonymous12/8/15

    I keep getting lost in the direction of this article..don't support individuals but principles instead?? How do you elect a principle if you don't support and vote for an individual? As a conservative, Christian, blue-eyed gun totting American born in America. Other than Reagan I can't remember the last time I really had the option of voting my principles. If you don't have a candidate who supports your principles what do you do?

  5. It is all unfolding as I predicted earlier and elsewhere. When the droves of eGoP "candidates" started coming out of the cabinets like roaches when the lights go out I said they would form the circular firing squad as they had in the past. All the Left needs to do is make a small nudge here, a snide comment there followed by a small accusation the generate the firestorm.

    And here we are. We are so easily manipulated.

  6. Obviously you vote for an individual, but it's a question of putting ideas first or politicians first.

    No candidate is going to match up to the ideas. That's why it's important to put the ideas first and do the best you can with the candidate.

    Some people are putting the candidate over the ideas.

  7. Sultan Knish said:

    "And then you get Hoped and Changed on."

    I am so stealing that!

  8. Anonymous12/8/15

    As far as the fragmenting of the Right (AKA "divide and conquer"), "sundance" over at Conservative Treehouse/Last Refuge is MILES AHEAD of you.
    (I don't know it this site allows links, so please go there for articles such as, ' Transparently Predictable Political “Tripwires” ')

  9. Anonymous12/8/15

    After the GOP has been preaching to it's candidates they don't want another Todd Akins for the past 4 years they seem to be catering to every whim Mr. Trump expresses about fairness.

    They are in a lose/lose situation here because if Mr. Trump gets the nomination then women, Latino minorities and the establishment base will be allienated and stay home. His recent remarks only seem to cement the perception that the GOP is waging a "War on Women" and hate minorities. If he doesn't get the nomination then his base will stay home. From my numerous conversations with Trump supporters online his base isn't deep but seems to be built solely on the revenge factor. According to what I have read he hasn't even begun to set up state organizations which are necessary for his name to be on the ballot as a third party candidate so the leverage (or blackmail) angle is moot. Thus the lose/lose position the party is currently in.

    My question here is why invite him to any more debates unless they don't care about the damage his remarks are doing and that they are in damage control 24/7 ? Show your party members you mean what you say about making loose remarks and the country you won't tolerate adolescent idiotic statements from your candidates.

  10. D.D.Mao12/8/15

    Mr. Greenfield: Thank you once again for your wonderful insight on the issues.

    How do we vote on our Conservative principles and beliefs ? Check into the "Constitution Party" platform enclosed in the link below.


  11. There's no reason not to invite Trump to the debates, he is among other things the leading candidate now.

    If there were real debates, they would expose his weaknesses and strengths. Unfortunately we didn't get a real debate on FOX. And the current format caters to soundbites and applause lines.

    Not inviting Trump to the debates would confirm what his supporters already believe about the establishment and increase his support.

  12. D.D.Mao12/8/15

    Let me clarify my above remarks concerning inviting Mr. Trump to further debates before Mr. Greenfield and I are both deluged with angry responses. First off I have no horse in this race so I'm not a hack for the GOP/RNC. In fact as you might have guessed by my second post I'm giving serious consideration to voting my principles and going Constitution Party.

    I was merely explaining the lose/lose position the party is being put in otherwise their rhetoric over the past 4 years makes them look hypocritical. I've been told in conversations "All we can do now is break the apple cart..." and "If Sasquatch or Pauly Shore ran they would get our same support." If you don't stand a snow balls chance of getting Trump supporters anyway why not take a principled stand?

    Nah ! that would never occur to the GOP.

  13. Trump supporters aren't aliens from another planet. A lot of them are just very unhappy at the GOP.

    Yes there are people who wouldn't vote conservative, but much of Trump's support is coming from the Republican base. It's why he's doing so well.

    People who are already angry at the GOP are not going to see banning Trump as a principled position. They're going to see it as the establishment controlling the outcome. Trump will look like a rebel taking on the system.

    Rinse, repeat.

    This has been going on for a few weeks with the same result.

  14. So you are saying it's a Trump Tower of Babel?

  15. Anonymous12/8/15

    In response to the Anonymous who wrote, " if Mr. Trump gets the nomination then women, Latino minorities and the establishment base will be allienated and stay home," you are wrong, wrong, so very wrong.

    I don't know if you're a concern troll playing with Identity Politics, but I'll take your points seriously.

    First of all, many hispanics are attracted to someone in the arena of politics who has and shows some b*lls. And, no, that's *not* anti-latino; it's an observation of cultures.

    Women? You think all or even most women enjoy being used as props, defining themselves primarily by their genitals?! YOU are the sexist, not I, nor are all those women who put priority on our country and the values espoused in our culture.

    Minorities...hmm...gee...that's a toughie. What you're actually saying is that YOU, know BETTER what is best for them. YA KNOW WHAT, buster?!? I'd say that makes YOU the ultimate racist. It sounds like you'd be happier if they "stayed on the Democrat Plantation."

    1. Anonymous15/8/15

      Fact is that Trump is polling better with Latinos than Mr. Hispania Jeb Bush is.

  16. Daniel, I of course agree with the fundamental of the article here, but unless you're specifically and only talking about the new addition to robot kind and the subsequent wars of the paulbots vs. the trumpbots, I believe now is the time to get partisan as all heck for a candidate.

    The reason is there is not one candidate who i would even begin to consider a conservative on the Republican ticket besides Ted Cruz, and he is literally perfect in saying and standing for with action everything I would want him to do. Out of all of them, he didn't turn into a leftist to show he was a nice right winger, and defends all the best positions.

    Furthermore, I am of the opinion that literally no other candidate is able to have anything close to a chance besides Ted Cruz or Hitlery Clinton.

  17. DDMao12/8/15

    It seems both the above post and Mr. Greenfield are obviously missing my point.

    First to Mr. Greenfield: The Republican party has already alienated the Trumpkins so the action I'm suggesting isn't aimed at them but the rest of the country who the Republican party has been attempting to win over the past 4 years. I know what their dissatisfaction is and I agree with them 100% but at this point there is nothing the party can do to win them back but simply contain the damage done by Trump to voters not yet decided. If they don't Republicans will have the rest of the country turned off and lose the rest of the country also.

    Outside of generalizations, personal opinion and name calling I don't see much in the second post that needs to be gone over. I don't think women or Latinos want people representing them that refers to them as "bimbo's" or refers to them in conjunction as "rapist and murderers". Nor does anyone think a Presidential candidate should crudely refer to a women as being on her cycle for the any reason. I don't know if you are a Trumpkin but I'll simply say that in regard to our opinion we should agree that we disagree on our views of how to win the Presidency. And just because someone disagrees with you grow up and leave the name calling out of it....it makes you sound so Donald Trump !

  18. Anonymous12/8/15

    It is easier to be angry about something than to find happiness. Progressives go out of their way to suppress feelings of happiness, but all politicians feed off of anger to a degree.

    The superficial bond of solidarity is the only thing the majority of politicians can offer. Clever ones try to make themselves "personable" and "real" and Trump and Sanders are leading the polls for that reason alone. Make no mistake, it is impossible for them to understand you because they do not know you, and the majority do not hold the interest of their voters at heart. You are just a statistic to them.

    They are legally supposed to be our servants, but the majority of Americans have let them play on our emotions and through that they have become the masters.

  19. Anonymous12/8/15

    The ancient Romans had a wonderful idea for keeping those they bargained with to uphold their ends of the bargain. The Romans held family members and other valuable persons hostage to ensure commitments were honored. It may be that as America descends further from civility, we will resurrect that custom for our candidates who succeed to high office in the future. It's one way to make sure they stop stabbing us in our backs.

    1. Anonymous15/8/15

      If what we have now is "civility", give me ancient Rome.

  20. Anonymous13/8/15

    If it comes down to Chris Christie or Shillariah, I won't be voting, I don't see one scintilla of difference betwixt them WRT being izlamic collaborators.

  21. Y. Ben-David13/8/15

    Could someone explain to me why the grass-roots Tea Party people seemed to have a lot of energy and played a significant role in the Republican victory in the House of Representatives and gains in the Senate in the 2010 Congressional elections, but just two years later they bombed out and a tepid "me-too" like Romney got the nomination ("me-too" as in "I accept the Democrats agenda...I will just administer it more efficiently" just like Tom Dewey's disaster in 1948).
    Daniel or someone...do you have an explanation?

  22. Anonymous13/8/15

    Fools rush in... Trump is doing what needs to be done---laying an axe to some of the sacred cows of leftism. If his actions let a little light and air into our public discourse and encourage other, better, politicians to find their spines, great. For that alone, he deserves my eternal thanks.

    Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. ~ Hebrews 13:2.

  23. Anonymous13/8/15

    "Daniel or someone...do you have an explanation?"

    The NSA. I suspect many of the Republican leaders we counted on to hold up the traditional conservative side are being overtly blackmailed, or have NSA surveillance dangling over their heads. It's the only thing that could possibly explain their sudden 180-degree about-face. Sounds unbelievable, but I believe it's true. We should not put anything past the communists in the White House.

    1. Anonymous15/8/15

      It is quite strange to me that the Republicans we so euphorically elected in 2014 did absolutely nothing to fulfill our expectations. They folded to Obama on every single goal we sent them to Washington to achieve.

      I understand that we have a bought and paid for one-party system, but even shills will make a stand on one or two symbolic issues to support their pretense of being an active opposition. This time, nothing. Obama is well known to be a control freak who frequently takes things too far. Maybe he's gone sufficiently overboard this time to finally give away the game?

  24. Romney didn't just win the nomination due to his campaigning. There were a lot of dirty tricks going on during the primary process.

    For instance, in the Virginia primaries, there were originally supposed to be 6 candidates on the ballot. Until someone filed a lawsuit and got the courts to rule on a technicality and force all but Romney and Ron Paul from the ballot.

    Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, John Huntsman and Rick Santorum (any of whom I would have preferred to Romney and Paul) were forced off the ballot. See also http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/13/politics/virginia-gop-primary-ballot/

    I, as a Virginia voter, never had a chance to support anybody good because the choice was taken away from me by an activist judge, and I have no doubt in my mind that it was the Romney campaign, with financing from the RNC that started the ball rolling.

    I have no doubt that the same shenanigans will be going on this time. The RNC will use all of its dirty tricks to make sure Jeb gets the nomination, and if this means paying judges to force all the conservatives from the ballot, then that's just what they'll do. And the Left won't complain because they know a box of hair with a "D" after its name could defeat Jeb in the general election.

  25. Anonymous13/8/15

    Well, yes, agreed, but I don't follow politics much, pretty much whatever hits instapundit,but I havent seen any writing on the candidates with respect to there positions. I'd like to see that in writing with appropriate support. So in short on the number 1 conservative blog-news aggregator I've seen not one write up laying out the positions let alone comparing them, and I visit the site daily.

    The voters will focus on what the media focuses on -- it a failure of the independent media to maintain focus that is to blame. I've love your writing but you don't need to lecture the voter on this. You need to lecture the conservative opinion makers to start writing about the issues. Because all I know is that I don't like Trump and that Scott Walker did some impressive things at personal risk that went against the grain.

    The debate should be boycotted, I didn't watch it but when I saw partial transcripts of what was being asked I knew that those promoters are in good need of a kick in the pants.

  26. Anonymous13/8/15

    TO Y. Ben-David:
    it happened for political reasons you clearly do not understand and has NOTHING to do with the Tea Party. Give it a rest, bubula.

    Look at Conservative Treehouse's explanation of the "divide and conquer" techniques of the RNC and Chamber of Commerce...for both 2012 and 2016. Split up the "conservative " votes among enough candidates and the mushy moderate RINO is guaranteed to win...TO LOSE.

    Does it matter IN THE LEAST if !Jeb! or Hillary were elected?
    F*** NO. (think duck)

    Go over to the site and start with looking for an article called, ' Transparently Predictable Political “Tripwires” '.

  27. Anonymous13/8/15

    Well said, Knish!

  28. I disagree strongly with the poster insulting DG and then accusing him of calling names. Trump supporters can be won back, give them a candidate with real principles like Cruz. He's twice as charismatic as that wacko, Trump just has the joe biden appeal of old loon.

  29. Anonymous13/8/15

    Our politicians represent the people who put them in office, until the lame and shallow proletariat changes, the politicians will remain lame and shallow too.


  30. You can't change America, it's naive to believe that you can. And the Republicans are a lost cause, they may not be as bad as the Iranian mullahs supporting Democrats, but so what? Why compare yourselves to the very worst of humanity, and the very worst Jew-haters besides (who just lack the honesty of Iran and Hamas and Hezbollah etc.)?

    Republicans and their supporters are not really any more serious than their opponents, and never have been. After all Bush Jr. was president for two terms and he was a disaster, a moron, sure not evil like Obama, but still a know-nothing dhimmi and a cretin. Politics in America is a circus, a spectacle, a joke, hence Trump who panders to all that. People who support Trump are impressed by spectacle and bluster, why pander to them or try win them over? The fake two party system in America is just that, a choice between two parties who have more in common than not, including narcissistic egoism, debating minor or side-issues, whilst the real big things are ignored. Is there a single Republican candidate calling for defunding the UN, ending aid to despots, stopping legal Muslim immigration, doing something about even recognizing that America is actually overpopulated? So many other things. No of course not. Excuse me while I yawn at this incredible naive belief that Republicans can save America, even as like Democrats they destroy it.

  31. It's always a pleasure to follow the "Sultan".
    Mark Levin, the "Great One" has suggested following the Conservative review website. It really does a good job in keeping the track record of politicians.
    Consider checking it.

  32. Regarding the earlier comment about the Tea Party losing its vigor:
    1. They suffer from poor leadership (including leaders with private agendas) or non-leadership in some places.
    2. The IRS effort to snuff them out had the intended chilling effect in some cases.

  33. Anonymous14/8/15

    Ditto RE: Frederico's recommendation of Conservative Review. It is an unbelievably informative site.

    I'll abandon Trump just as soon as one of the other candidates finds his courage on immigration and other establishment failings. Like some others here, I would like to see Cruz win and I donate monthly to his campaign.

    It is otherwise -=way=- too early for all the hand-wringing and name-calling. As @Anonymous keeps stridently repeating, divide-and-conquer is intended to clear the path for the RINO. Anyone with a nervous bladder so early in the race is an unwitting Jeb! voter. Let the process run for awhile and have courage.


  34. At what point do rational people check out of this nonsense and move to East Asia?

  35. "I'll abandon Trump just as soon as one of the other candidates finds his courage on immigration and other establishment failings."

    So great Marco Rubio has his courage, they both are for amnesty. Or did him expressing anger at illegal immigrants make u not take him seriously when he said he wants anmesty? He's also a pure democrat, 0% conservative: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8e1BeCfEO04

  36. "Maybe he's gone sufficiently overboard this time to finally give away the game? "

    Not the first time I've heard "if Obama does more damage, maybe we'll do something then". Unless you're saying "we gotta stop him before he does more bad things", you're not gonna do anything, no matter what happens.

    BTW, if prez Osama invades Israel, he gets the third term he keeps trying to get.

  37. This is the real Trump https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=tZ6qqKXIEoI


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