The Conservative Leadership Project: Principles vs. Pragmatism?


Contrary to conventional wisdom, it is not substantive disagreement on issues that threatens to engulf the Republican Party in open civil warfare. Nor has such disagreement led to the stillborn policy success of the conservative movement.

Rather, it is a distortion of the principles-versus-pragmatism debate that has the Right perpetually fighting with itself in ways the Left rarely does. But truth be told, no such tension between principles and pragmatism actually exists, and the standoff between entrenched GOP consultants/flaks/leaders and those of us in the conservative grassroots is based on a false choice.

If you really believe in your stated principles, the natural instinct is to contrive the most effective means possible to stand for and advance them. No sane person would knowingly and consistently construct a flawed means to pursue their convictions.

Recognizing this reality leads us to some uncomfortable conclusions, which is why we have concocted our own false choice of “the stupid party (Republicans) versus the evil party (Democrats).” Believing one’s leaders and associates to be idiots rather than treacherous is the lesser of two evils, I suppose, although the end result is the same nonetheless.
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