The Tennessee CrisisI do not often like to use the thoughts of other bloggers as the basis for my own entry, but Rob Huddleston's post-election thoughts mirror what a lot of us are thinking right now, in the wake of a Primary that hurt and scarred conservatives and everything we believe in and hold dear. Was the nomination of Bob Corker a slap in the face to conservatives from the voters of Tennessee? No-it was not, because Corker and his people (Haslams) bought name recognition, and then they bought TV time months ahead of the other two candidates. This was not done because Corker's election strategy was superior to Ed Bryant, it was done because Corker had more money than Hilleary and Bryant combined.
When this race began, not many knew who Bob Corker was north of Chattanooga. Mr. Haslam put up huge signs outside Pilot stores, and Corker's campaign bought huge bulk mailings to increase name recognition-then came the TV and radio ads. Corker spent his money convincing people who didn't hear from the other candidates for months that he was a conservative. If something is pounded into your head long enough, you will believe it.
Rob Huddleston said:
Finally, there is conservatism in Tennessee. Where does it go from here? It certainly is an ideology in trouble.
It is so much in trouble that Bob Corker spent the better part of his campaign trying to convince people that he is a conservative. Conservatism is so horribly in trouble in Tennessee that every election cycle, gubernatorial candidates from both parties try to act like they are one, and Senators and Senate candidates magically become one overnight. That isn't an ideology in trouble, that is an ideology that is a majority view that politicians feel obliged to begrudgingly acknowledge.
The problem is not that the ideology is in trouble, it is that people assume that because people say "I am a conservative," that they are as they say. The trouble is that most people are not as we are-most people are simply uninformed.
When we lose elections because of the lies and fraudulent behavior of the phony "conservatives," or worse, lose to open leftists, it is easy to give up the fight and to lose hope. It would not be a stretch for any of us to say "we can never compete with Haslam oil money and the Baker/Frist wing of the Party." We cannot give up the fight, however, we must keep on fighting for the conservative cause for no other logical reason but that it is the right thing to do.
In the winter of 1777-1778, George Washington encamped his Continental Army at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. It had not been a good year for the Patriot cause. The British had won victory after victory, and had by that point taken most of the major cities in America for the Crown. In addition, the Brits were quite successful in cutting off Continental supply lines, starving the American Army of food and keeping warm clothes from them. The Valley Forge encampment was a sesspool of disease and starvation, and dissertion was occuring at such a high rate that Washington wondered whether he would have enough men to mount a spring campaign-and considering conditions, you could scarcely blame the men who left.
It was into this setting that a man who was often known for fits of mental incompetence, Thomas Paine, wrote a little pamphlet called The Crisis. Despite Paine's often irratic behavior, his little pamphlet so clearly laid out the choice between fighting on or surrender that Washington read it to his troops aloud, ordering that they assemble in the snow in the freezing weather to hear it. After hearing The Crisis, the vast majority of soldiers stayed and fought on, and it would still take six long years for the war to formally come to an end-but the end was victory and independence.
Perhaps a few words from The Crisis apply to Tennessee conservatives after Thursday's Primary:
THESE are the times that try men's souls.
The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.
Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated.
If we fight on, one day we will win the battle and the war. Our children and our children's children will remember that we were thinking of them and the kind of Tennessee and America we would give them. If we fight on, they will remember that we refused to give up the fight, and if we are not called "heroes," we shall all be worthy of the name.
We will know who is committed in the end because these will be the dear ones who fight on for the sake of justice in the face of defeat.