Lonegan: GOPers who push "moderation" while cutting deals with Dems are an existential threat to our party.
An important and timely message from the father of New Jersey's conservative movement:
You all know me.
No matter what you think of me, you all know where I stand on the issues. Some of you might accuse me of being too unwavering, unwilling to compromise, but nobody has ever doubted where I'm coming from.
As we watch the Christie era in the rear-view mirror, we need to decide on what kind of party we intend to be. We need to chart a course for the road ahead.
That's very easy for someone like me. The course is free market conservatism, defending freedom at home, and our interests abroad. It is the message of our Republican Party Platform. Simple enough. If you call yourself a Republican, you should value Republican principles.
Unfortunately, that is not who is leading the Republican Party in Bergen County these days. There are too many who look to cut deals with the Democrats -- and not for idealistic policy aims -- but for their personal benefit. Their vision of the Republican Party is a defeatist one, where they seek to benefit from the crumbs swept from the Democrat table. The policies they advocate consist of slavishly mimicking a watered down version of the Democrats' own post-Western, post-Christian, anti-Freedom agenda.
You've probably heard it around the county, and around the state, that a conservative cannot win -- anything. The fact is that the only Republican to win statewide office in over twenty years was both Pro-Life and Pro-Second Amendment. The fact is that those Republicans who get the most votes in New Jersey are consistently the most conservative. The liberal wannabe Republicans can't turnout their base and those they want to convince have someone better to vote for -- a Democrat.
This "moderate" nonsense is like a religion with some of our so-called "leaders" -- those who practice the Janus-faced religion of being all things to all voters. Even though every study and every poll shows that they will not convince a Democrat to vote Republican in this starkly divisive climate, they hold true to the faith that turning-off a dozen conservatives is worth every liberal vote they pick-up.
The way forward is clear for 2018: Maximum Republican and conservative turnout. A full effort.
Of course, there are some within our party who are working against this. Some who are personally enmeshed with the Democrats. It's happening in other parts of the state as well. Democrats are playing in our primary. In every congressional battleground in the state, there is a former Democrat running as a Republican or a liberal Republican with Democrat-ties claiming to be a conservative. Every one.
They are there for one reason: To make us spend money so we won't have it to hit the Democrats in the General Election. Here in Bergen County, I am facing an opponent who was described by the Bergen Record as the "right hand man" to Democrat Sheriff Michael Saudino. Let's not forget that it was Saudino's feud with the Republican County Executive that lost us control of our county. Saudino, followed that up by joining Hillary Clinton and Josh Gottheimer on a ticket that crushed the BCRO. Through it all, my opponent remained employed by Sheriff Saudino, as his trusted consigliore, and actually started his campaign while still on the Democrat's payroll.
Now we all know where Sheriff Saudino stands on this election. He's backing fellow Democrat Josh Gottheimer for re-election this year. So are Mayors Harry Shortway of Vernon and Harry Shortway of Midland Park. They held an event for my opponent at their family bar in Passaic County. Did you follow that? They are endorsing Democrat Josh Gottheimer in the General Election but held an event to help my opponent in the Republican primary. Meanwhile, in a neighboring district, the insider-backed "Republican" candidate wouldn't tell a room full of Republicans how he voted for President in 2008 (Obama vs. McCain), 2012 (Obama vs. Romney), or 2016 (Clinton vs. Trump). And like my opponent, this fellow seems to be allergic to voting in a Republican primary.
Our party faces an existential threat from those who cut deals with Democrats and then preach the religion of "moderation" while pushing fake Republican candidates on us. We must resist them, whether they are well-meaning and stupid or slick and treacherous. It is time to use the Republican Party Platform and our conservative principles as the measure by which we judge our candidates. If some of our so-called "leaders" don't like that platform or our principles, they are free to leave the party and start their own. I, for one, am sick and tired of being dictated to by a small group of professional political "leaders" who are totally out of touch with the thoughts and views of most Republicans. It is time for them to go.
A party that knows what it is about, is a party that can convince people to get involved, contribute, and win. This holds true up and down our ticket. The message of lower taxes, less government, and individual freedom is a winning one. The Democrats' warmed-over socialism, leavened with coarse identity politics has, in the end, always lost.
Thank you for your time and I hope I will have your support to secure our primary in June and defeat the Democrats in November. If you have any insights you would like to share with me, please feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.