By Alyssa Lafage | Convictions of Faith
Before I begin, I want to remind my fellow conservatives that there has yet to be a perfect Republican or a perfect conservative. Each and every person we have elected to represent us has been flawed, and has let us down. The letdowns typically come in one of two forms –or a combination of the two. One is compromise; what seemed like a good faith attempt by our guy (or gal – for you PC police out there) to work with the other side of the aisle, but what all too often ends up resulting in advancing a Democrat plan.
Naturally, after watching this happen time and time again, we have become suspect of those who talk of compromise and bipartisanship. The second letdown usually comes when someone we thought we agreed with, disagrees with us on an issue. Most times the disagreement has more to do with tactics than whether or not we agree on the ideal outcome. None the less, we all to often use this as a reason to separate ourselves from the person, question their motives, scrutinize their every word and to top it off, call them a RINO – even when they agree with us on 80% of other issues.
We can not afford to continue on like this. So let me first address the issue of compromise.
Obviously, not all compromise is good, whether it be among Republicans or when reaching across the aisle. We should not compromise on our principles but we should be able to compromise on tactics.
For example, Chris Christie has been able to work with the Democrats in New Jersey and compromise with them in order to ‘get things done’ – as they say in Trenton. The very nature of compromise is that each side gives in order to get. During his 122nd town hall meeting yesterday, the governor talked about one of his most recent bipartisan compromise deals in which he worked with Democrats to address the issue of property taxes. The deal included Cap 2.0 and the arbitration cap, which has resulted in the lowest property tax growth our state has seen in twenty years.
Was this an ideal deal? If you ask me, the answer is no. But is it representative of positive progress? Yes. There are a million ways to split hairs on what would have been the ideal deal but in reality, my fellow New Jerseyans elected a Republican Governor and a Democrat Senate so the voters clearly expect some type of compromise.
When it comes to disagreements on the issues among those in our party, I think we conservatives need to do what we do best: refer to Reagan for guidance. One of the things he believed in was the concept of the 80/20 rule. He said,
“The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally — not a 20 percent traitor.”
This wisdom of Ronald Reagan has somehow been lost. We are quick to write people off who disagree with us on one or two issues and fail to realize we have an ally in that same person on a majority of other issues. I can say “we” because in the past, I was one of those people who were quick to make such judgments.
I was angry with Marco Rubio for months after he joined the “gang of eight” on immigration reform. I didn’t want to trust another word that came out of his mouth after he aligned himself with the likes of Chuck Schumer. But what I’ve come to realize is that it doesn’t make much sense to alienate otherwise good people from the party over a disagreement on one or two issues.
Do I still disagree with what Marco Rubio attempted to do on immigration? Absolutely. But do I consider him a traitor and never to be trusted again? No.
We can not afford to let a couple issues divide us to a point where we have constant fighting or distrust within the party. And we certainly can not continue to write off people who attempt to compromise with the other side simply because we are not willing to.