Incompetent Conservative Dissidents

by LAWRENCE SELLIN, PHD April 17, 2012

Despair Inc., offers parodies of inspirational posters designed for pessimists, underachievers, and the chronically unsuccessful. 

One is called "Incompetence," which defines the word as "when you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there's no end to what you can't do."

There is indeed despair within the conservative community about Mitt Romney as the probable Republican Presidential candidate, who they see as not truly representing their conservative values.

Conservative dissidents clamor either to "do something" or to do nothing.

The "do nothings" largely consist of those, now timid Reagan Republicans, who want the Party to move in their direction, but are hesitant to buck the now liberal Republican establishment, which might exile them to the blogosphere or have their names scratched off the list of possible political appointees in a newly minted Romney Administration.

Like the Republican establishment, the "do nothings" focus exclusively on winning, getting Obama out. They do not expend much intellectual energy considering core principles or, for that matter, strict adherence to the Constitution and the rule of law.

Not surprisingly, they, together with the Republican establishment, consider Ron Paul a reckless demagogue and a threat both to electoral victory and to their control of the Republican Party.

The "do nothings" will invariably brand any Republican proposing views contrary to theirs as someone who wants to "re-elect Obama". It is a pejorative not unlike the left's use of the word "racist" or "extremist." It is a ploy lacking intellectual rigor and used simply to disarm and silence any opposition.

The "do nothings" have not only succumbed to the scare tactics employed by the Republican establishment, which center on the utter horror of a second Obama Administration, but they are now enthusiastically using that technique on others.

The "do nothings" believe that loyalty to the establishment provides the best chance of a Republican victory and will, sometime after the 2012 election, unveil a magical opportunity for a Reagan Renaissance.

Good luck with that.

The "do something" conservatives are mainly sincere, but politically inexperienced and largely unorganized Constitutionalists and Tea Party veterans, who oppose what they see as the cynicism and corruption of the Republican establishment.

They are indeed doing something. They believe that the more people "do something," the better. Unfortunately, effectiveness appears to be less of a consideration.

As a result, the Republican establishment remains unaffected and its operatives are, in fact, pleased that the "do somethings" are letting off steam in ways that do not disturb their election plans in any way.

The "do somethings" do not understand that the Republican establishment is not interested in being educated or persuaded.  So, by simply doubling previous efforts, there is no limit to what the "do somethings" can't accomplish.

What the Republican establishment does understand is leverage.

Our vote is the one thing we have that they want. It is a weapon that every American can wield either by giving it or withholding it.

If Republicans lose in 2012, it will be due more to their own complacency than to any particular Democrat campaign strategy. In this election the magnitude of Republican stay-at-home voters may shock the establishment.

Americans can wield their vote to demand that, this time, there are no surprises or hidden agenda and that the candidates of both parties are fully vetted before the election.

Authentic representative government does not happen spontaneously nor is it sustained without vigilance.

If you disagree with the direction of the political parties, their platforms or the backgrounds and experience of their candidates, it is within your power to change them.

Make the politicians earn our vote. Make them accountable. It is our government, not theirs.

Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired colonel with 29 years of service in the US Army Reserve and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq. Colonel Sellin is the author of "Restoring the Republic: Arguments for a Second American Revolution ". He receives email at

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