I do not support the candidacy of John McCain. But I plan to vote for my party even if he is the nominee. I plan to attend my county convention in March (I was selected as a delegate to that event), and voice my position on the issues, on the candidates, and do my best to represent my neighbors who asked me to do that. Even if I do not continue to any other conventions after that, I will continue to voice these opinions, support the delegates that do go on, provide them input, and discuss the same issues here at The Conservative Reader as well.
Captain Ed  and I see this the same way. With regard to McCain’s comments at CPAC (particularly the line “But even in disagreement, especially in disagreement, I will seek the counsel of my fellow conservatives.”, which I know some of my conservative friends looked at cynically):
If conservatives hear that carefully, that is an invitation to the table. They should accept that invitation and start seeking to fill the seats. McCain will eventually have a need for advisers on a myriad of public policy issues, and we can test the offer by pushing for more conservative voices in that inner circle. McCain already got a head start in this regard by bringing Ted Olson and Steve Forbes onto his team, but especially on energy and immigration, we can press for more influence.
It seems that some conservatives are content to push away from the table before the main course. I know it’s not pleasant to accept that our primary agenda was not fully successful (that is, seating a “real” conservative in the Republican Presidential nomination, or more accurately, preventing a RINO from being nominated), but with every disappointment like this can come an opportunity to chart a new course as a party. And we can sit back and watch that course get charted by others, or we can be a part of it. I prefer to be a part of it. Is conservatism such a failure that it cannot influence a party that has a moderate as a leader? Is what we stand for so unimportant that we won’t fight for it when the battle is up hill? It seems to me that with a moderate at the helm, our party and country are in greater need of our help… why won’t we participate?
What I find ironic is that those whom I know care deeply about our country and want it to be successful are yet at this moment contemplating a course of sitting on the sidelines anticipating, even hoping for failure, and for what? A chance to say “I told you so”? What does that solve?
What then happens in 4 or 8 years? We start back where we were a few months ago. Shall we then happily point out how we were right and everyone else was wrong? Whom is that going to impress? Not too many. Mostly, we will end up building that much more contempt for conservatism, the ideology that just wants to prove a point.
We have a country that needs us, a party that needs us, and a leader asking us to come help. That sounds like a call worth answering.
And yet there stands one amongst us that we also do not call our own who sees the value in pressing on. Despite being the most behind in the polls and behind in delegates (of those still in the race), Ron Paul remains . I do not support this man. But I admire this about him, his tenacity to ensure that his message is heard, that his supporters have a voice, that he has the maximum impact on the party that he can have.
He also made a commitment to not pursue a third party candidacy, but to instead remain with the party and engage. There may be a lot of things I don’t like about Ron Paul, but he won’t stop trying to deliver his own message. He is cutting back on his staff, but he plans to finish the race. I’m glad he isn’t going to win, but I hope I can maintain the same level of commitment to my ideals as he has.
And if Ron’s at the table, he’s in a position to appear to represent conservative values… but he does not. We should be there to point that out.
I also appreciated Michelle Malkin’s thoughts …
Some on the Right advise their readers and listeners to vote Democrat or sit home. My advice is exactly the opposite: Get off the couch and walk the walk for conservative candidates and officeholders who need all the help they can get defending free markets, free minds, and secure borders-no matter who takes the White House in November.
Dissatisfied with the flawed crop of GOP candidates who lacked the energy, organizational skills, and ideological strength to carry the conservative banner and ignite your passions? Then pay attention to the next generation of Republican state legislators who do vote consistently to lower your taxes, uphold the sanctity of life, defend marriage, and cut government spending. Support their re-election bids. Reward them for standing with you instead of their Democrat opponents and the liberal media.
As I’ve said before , this is about more than just the Presidential election. The Republican Party is in difficult straits… I know this story is happening across the country. Democratic office holders are not being challenged. Republicans are retiring (some are just giving up, in my opinion), and leaving the door wide open for the Democrats to take more seats in the US House and Senate. Frankly, the country is listing to port and needs help. We need to do what we can to stimulate, support, encourage potential candidates to consider running. This is one of the key ways that our message can get in front of people… and we have a message not just of hope, but opportunity, growth, success, and our energies should be focused on bringing the maximum success to the process.
The current office holders will become more demoralized if we don’t work with them, work for them, help them see we care and support what they are doing.As Michelle says, let them know we’re here. Call them, write them, publicly endorse them. Support their campaigns. Even if a Republican is unopposed, be vocal and show your support.
Hat tip regarding Ed and Michelle’s comments: The Des Moines Register (Sunday print edition). Ron’s statement HT to memeorandum.