By Ryan S. Walters
In recent days, Mississippi Conservative Daily has taken a few shots hurled by the GOP Establishment. As a writer for MCD, I have also taken a few myself. There’s only one explanation: We must be striking a nerve!
I’ve taken a few flaming darts for comparing Thad Cochran’s “victory” this year to Lyndon Johnson’s Senate campaign in 1948, a piece one writer for National Review called “fascinating,” in the words of a mutual friend. And now it seems I’ve done something else offensive, or rather did something nearly 15 years ago.
In a column this afternoon on a worthless and not-worth-mentioning establishment blog, Frank Corder, a failed politician who lost a mayoral race so bad in Pascagoula that he could not even muster enough votes to get in a runoff in a five-man contest, yet who thinks he can give political advice to the likes of Senator Chris McDaniel, who gained nearly 60 percent of the Republican vote statewide, spoke out against third party crossover into the GOP. In his column, Corder attacked me for once belonging to the Reform Party.
He picked out three current third parties – Reform, Libertarian, and Constitution. These are the three most conservative third parties in existence, mind you, which seek to reform government, protect the liberties of the people, and uphold the Constitution. God forbid we should ever do any of that.
To sum up Corder’s argument in a nutshell: he believes third party conservatives who crossover and vote Republican are the devil and should stay out. In fact, he calls it a “plague.” But, on the other hand, I guess liberal Democrat crossover is good strategy, huh Frank? So you believe in a big tent, but one with the Democrats and not conservatives I take it?
This, ladies and gentlemen, shows you exactly how these establishment hacks think! They are far more liberal than they are conservative, no matter what they say about it.
After seeing Corder’s piece this afternoon (and based on several factors, I knew some sort of story about me was in the works), I wrestled over whether or not I should even respond. But I felt I must because there are several points that need correcting.
Yes I was a member of the Reform Party, as a supporter of Pat Buchanan in 2000. In fact, I supported him in 1992 and 1996 when he ran for the Republican nomination. And, though Pat is done with elective politics, if he did ever decide to climb back into the ring, I would support him again.
I don’t think anyone would argue against Pat Buchanan’s conservative credentials, except the Establishment GOP, and folks like Frank Corder, who wanted Buchanan out from that first day in 1992 when he took on President George H. W. Bush. For more on this story, see my MCD piece “The Republican Establishment’s 20-Year War on Conservatives.” (By the way, Frank, Pat Buchanan himself read my piece, loved it, and posted it on his own site!)
Corder points out that the Reform Party, on its website, states that it takes no stance on social issues like abortion and gay marriage, which is “something Republicans have readily championed, especially evangelicals.” This is true (except the part where Corder does not admit that the GOP has sought the evangelical vote, only to spurn their policies), but not when Buchanan headed the ticket. He has always been a very strong advocate of traditional values, which caused a big intraparty fight with the Perot folks, a battle we won by the way.
That party, the Buchanan Reform Party as it existed in 2000, was full of good, salt-of-the-earth citizens, many who were doctors, lawyers, wealthy businessmen, and other white-collar folks. I knew many of them and had the privilege of working with them that year. These were people who cared very deeply about their country. They were not unhinged fanatics with white sheets and hoods, or as portrayed by some establishment types, Fascists in jackboots!
I have never hid my Reform Party ties from anyone, which is why it’s on my personal website. Those of us who supported Buchanan believed then, as we do now, that the Republican Party is running away from true conservatism, which is why these conservative third parties exist in the first place. Anyone who can’t see that is either dumb or just doesn’t want to see it. Or they want the party to move left, which is the likely case.
And we, the supporters of Buchanan, were right about George W. Bush in 2000. I said then he was a liberal and he turned out to be one – $5 trillion in new debt, brand spanking new expensive entitlements, unending wars in the Middle East using a “light footprint” approach that is no different than the failed strategy in Vietnam (I’ve been to Vietnam five times so I do know a little bit about it), free trade that is hollowing out our industrial base and hurting American workers, open borders and an unending flood of illegal immigrants (remember, Bush tried twice to grant amnesty), the unconstitutional Patriot Act, an attempted “Security and Prosperity Partnership,” and the list could go on.
I, along with many others, believe in a true conservative ideology, principles handed down by the original conservative, Thomas Jefferson: Limited government, federalism, low taxes, fair trade, no national debt, sound money, free markets, strict adherence to the Constitution, accountability in government, and a non-interventionist foreign policy. Though they may talk this same game, the modern Republican Party, including Thad Cochran, does not believe in these same values.
Of my time in the Reform Party, Corder writes: “Walters may just have had his fill of never gaining any meaningful base to peddle his ideology or perhaps he saw an opportunity to jump on another bandwagon.”
The only bandwagon I have ever been on is the conservative one, and from the time I was a little boy I was learning about these values. That is why I supported Buchanan as early as 1992 and followed him into the Reform Party in 2000, as an effort to do something to stop the slide this nation is on. We could see the problem then. It’s just that the Republican Party Establishment cannot or will not.
It’s the same reason I supported Senator Chris McDaniel in his race for US Senate. Not just because we are good friends, but because he believes very deeply in this country and understands that we must make some serious changes in public policy to right our ship of state. And he, like other true conservatives, understand that conservatism works every time it’s put into practice.
And we have more than a “meaningful base,” Frank. Senator McDaniel beat Thad Cochran in the primary, when you said he would not get more than 40 percent of the vote. Boss Pete Perry said he wouldn’t get 20 percent and ole race-baiting Henry Barbour said he would get his head handed to him and deserve it. But in the runoff, Chris won 58 percent of the Republican vote. That’s a pretty meaningful base, wouldn’t you say? Perhaps you fellows should find a new line of work?
Judging from many recent polls, most Americans now understand that we are on a very bad path, and the Republican Party should be running away with this race but is not. People simply don’t trust it to do the right thing. And how could they?
Do you, Frank Corder, think the Republican Party, led by the Establishment, men like Thad Cochran, can put us on the right track again? The last time the GOP ran the show it didn’t go very well. See the before mentioned George W. Bush years! Even the party admits it messed up back then. And that’s why conservatives, those of us who want to fight leftist ideology at every turn, rather than compromise with it, remain upset at the GOP.
And calling us ugly names because of our ideology is not helpful at party building. Rather than taking swipes at us, you should be finding ways to broaden the base to include us, rather than bring in liberal Democrats who will never support you in November.
Like many conservatives, I consider myself a fighter and I greatly admire fighters, those who won’t back down from a challenge. Stand up for principle and you will find me in your corner. As a historian I look up to those who, throughout history, fought for principles against all odds, especially in the face of death – William Wallace, Wilberforce, our Founding Fathers, Churchill, and, of course, Grover Cleveland, to name a few.
Pat Buchanan is a fighter. Chris McDaniel is a fighter. We are not going to stop because of a few setbacks. We believe the country, as originally intended, is worth fighting for. We believe the Constitution is worth preserving. We believe life is sacred and should be protected. We believe that our economy should be based on the free market. We don’t believe politicians, and their cronies, should enrich themselves at our expense. And so on.
If you believe in these timeless principles, then the real question is why you are not with us? Either way, we will continue to fight for what we believe, in whatever avenue we can find. We are not going away. So get used to it, we are here to stay! And if things continue to deteriorate, and more and more Americans get fed up, and you establishment hacks continue to get in our way, well, you just might get run over!