I was at a holiday event the other day. Almost exclusively political activists, Republican party folks. And we were discussing the NHGOP. The state Republican party meeting is almost upon us. So, Republicans in New Hampshire, all snug in their beds, have visions of platform changes dancing in their heads. Rules changes. New leadership. New fundraising. There’s nothing wrong with new.
All in the name of…something. And what about that?
I summed it up succinctly when I said, “I’m not here to support Republicans, I’m here to support their principles.” Not just “even when they won’t.” Especially, when they don’t.
This rubs some Republicans the wrong way. It’s usually, the same “some” as the some who ignored the principles in the first place. There may have been a few at the party. I hope they heard me when I said it.
Because why have them? The principles.
Why have a constitution if it doesn’t mean anything? Why go to all the trouble of marketing candidates registered to your party if they have no intention of following the ideas you set to paper? The words mean something or they don’t. And if these words don’t mean anything to you why should any of the other words (including yours) mean anything to me?
Changing the meaning to suit your purposes is no different. So why bother?
The go-to answer when discussing Republicans who can’t agree on everything is Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment. The 80% rule. If you are with us 8 times out of 10, it’s good enough. Not a bad rule. Nobody’s perfect. People make mistakes. Laws are often complex with little traps laid in them — eight out of tens not bad.
What about 7.8 times out of ten? Another two tenths. Seventy-eight votes out of one-hundred.
If that’s okay what about the guy who clocks in at 7.6 or 7.5 out of ten?
How About a Pizza Analogy?
If you’ve never been in the pizza delivery business (or any delivery business), you might not get this but bear with me. Time, money, logistics, cost of labor, guarantees, product quality, all play a role in deciding where a delivery area ends. But it does end. It has too. You can’t deliver everywhere. But the people the next street over can see your drivers bringing food to their neighbors.
Why can’t you include us? Maybe you do. Then the street after them starts calling. It never stops even though you must. Service or quality takes a hit. Maybe operating costs rise. You can’t run your business as efficiently. Your product or your brand suffers.
Similarly, if you are an organization with a mission statement how far can you allow your representatives to deviate before it’s just a page on your website with words that have no meaning? A wordy-looking wall decoration someone has to dust now and again at the corporate office.
You are going to piss somebody off. No matter what you do, someone is going to be unhappy. You have to make someone unhappy.
So, do it on principle.
At least then you’ll have something to stand on which is more than they can say.