Division Without Purpose

“Why am I a moderate?”

I ask myself this question every day. Ideologically, I’m more conservative than the “moderate” moniker usually allows. While issues like immigration and the death penalty certainly push me toward the middle, tax policy, spending, government regulation, abortion, and gay marriage ensure my loyalty to the Republican Party. So why do I call myself a moderate? Upon learning that Ted Cruz (R-TX) planned to “filibuster” a bill he supports, the answer finally hit me: common sense.

In political terms, being a moderate demands more than a certain set of beliefs. It demands an extra-ideological mindset, a mindset that glorifies compromise rather than purity. It is for this reason that I consider myself a moderate. I glorify working together and getting things done, not “toeing the party line.” In fact, I consider ideological purity a weakness. If you are not strong enough to break the mold and work with “the other side,” you are not fit to lead. Good leaders unite, bad leaders divide.

The Republican Party is filled with bad leaders. Members vilify one another for not being conservative enough and pass bills they know will never become law. Last week was no different, as the House passed yet another a bill defunding Obamacare. The bill, which I support in principle, is DOA in the Senate and has no chance of becoming law.

The problem with this picture is that the House passed it anyway. Why? To make a point? Considering it’s already voted 42 times to “defund or undermine” Obamacare, there’s no point left to make. So why? Why did the House vote to defund Obamacare when it knows full well that the Senate will reject the proposal?

To be honest, I have no idea. This entire process has been an utter waste of Congressional resources and an abject embarrassment for the Republican Party. Mark my words: If the GOP shuts down the federal government and holds the nation for ransom, the American people will not return a conservative majority to either branch of Congress.

The Republican Party is playing with fire. Controlled by uncompromising ideologues (Ted Cruz), the party is edging closer and closer to the flame. At this time, the GOP would do well to remember the words of Abraham Lincoln: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

My friends, the GOP is tearing our house down. Though I remain as conservative as ever, I believe my party is making a fatal error. We’re headed toward a cliff and the Republican Party is at the wheel. I can only hope the driver slams on the brakes before we go over the edge.

Days like this remind me why I claim the “moderate” mantle. I’m a conservative, proud of my country and proud of its people. I want lower taxes, less spending, and less government, but I also want a government that functions, one that works to slam on the brakes instead of the gas.

As Congress approaches its September 30th deadline, I urge the Republican Party to work with the Democrats. Get the spending cuts we desperately need; fight hard for our principles. But don’t hold the American people for ransom. Don’t fight battles you can’t win. Don’t divide our house for nothing.