By Scott Tibbs, September 16, 2008
As conservatives, we often hear that we need to vote for the Republican candidate because the Democrat is such a terrible alternative. We hear this from races for City Council all the way up to the President, and everywhere in between. And while conservatives may agree that the Democrat in question is a terrible choice, conservatives need to ask themselves where they would draw the line. At what point would a conservative refuse, on principle, to vote for the Republican candidate for elective office?
Two decades ago, it was discovered that a homosexual prostitution ring was operating out of the home of U.S Representative Barney Frank. In addition, Frank is known to be quite far to the left on many economic and social issues. Taking the purely hypothetical position that Frank was the Republican nominee for President, would conservatives vote for him? What if Frank's Democratic opponent was farther to the left than Frank?
Obviously, this is an absurd scenario. But I chose Frank to make a point that I hope every conservative reading this article will agree with. If you are ideologically conservative, there is a line where you will refuse to vote Republican. There is a point beyond which the Republican candidate is simply not tolerable and not worthy of support. The question, at the end of the day, is where we draw that line.
Some would say that conservatives should simply vote their conscience and remain silent about Republicans who are either weak conservatives or openly opposed to many conservative principles. I obviously do not agree with that. Part of drawing that line is making it clear in a public forum why we will not support specific candidates and why certain issues (especially abortion) are absolutely critical if a Republican wants our support.
If conservatives (especially anti-abortion conservatives) are to be taken seriously by the Republican Party, the GOP needs to know that there is a line at which we cannot and will not support a Republican candidate. Obviously, that line differs from person to person and conservatives are going to disagree (sometimes passionately) over where to draw that line. But if there is no line at all, conservatives make themselves irrelevant.