In a recent Chronicle editorial titled Far-right strategy, the Editorial Board praises House Speaker John Boehner for defying tea party conservatives to get a budget deal passed, they minimize Sen. Cruz’s impact on the nation, asserting that he is at “5 percent and sinking in Republican presidential polls,” and finally they take a shot at me, arguing that “Harris County Republican heavyweights are defying their party chairman, a six-term incumbent, and throwing their weight – and their money – behind a challenger who seems less inclined to focus on divisive social issues.” These examples are then used to formulate the following conclusion: “These are signs that Republicans in Texas and elsewhere are beginning to reassess their absolute fealty to the absolutists among them…” They further conclude that we are not listening and “continue to run campaigns that cater to the zealots.”
Zealot is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals.” If by zealot they mean one who is uncompromising in their commitment to the life of the unborn-count me in. If a zealot is one who believes in the sanctity of marriage, sign me up. If these zealots are committed to securing our borders, I’m on board. And if this band of zealots are fanatics when it comes to requiring government to live within its means, then consider me a card-carrying member of the zealots.
The Board clearly believes that the key to future electoral success is to run from social issues and only embrace roads, schools, water, and other non-social issues, stating that they “look forward to the day when GOP candidates feel strong enough to doff the wrestler’s pose, exit the ring and reintroduce themselves to the folks outside the arena.” The Board seems to forget that the principles of us zealots are embodied in the Republican Party platform. And the last time I checked, the person most opposed to we zealots, President Barack Obama, lost Texas by 17 points.
Unlike the Board, whose “hope is that the GOP candidates who emerge from the March primary, particularly the statewide candidates, execute that proverbial pivot [to the left] most general-election candidates attempt when they have a credible opponent,” I don’t believe you should say one thing in a primary and another after you become the nominee. Isn’t that just political pandering and a reflection of one who has no core values? Compromising on your principles is not a virtue. Surrendering your core beliefs is not something to be proud of. Sacrificing your values on the altar of political correctness is not a winning strategy.
The Board goes on to state, “we hope they’re forced to talk about issues that matter to Texans in their everyday lives. Ideas and policy positions need to be discussed, challenged, debated.” Life, marriage, immigration, debt, and numerous other issues the Board would have us ignore, are important, relevant, and matter to voters. I hope our Republican candidates will use Sen. Cruz (who won Texas and Harris County by a large margin) as a model and deliver on the campaign promises they make. I trust that our Republican candidates will embrace, not ignore social issues. Finally, I pray our Republican candidates will be fanatical and uncompromising when it comes to their core values, beliefs, and principles. I look forward to seeing more elected officials join us band of zealots.