"Quo vadis," conservatives? It's the ancient, apocryphal question the apostle Peter asked Jesus while fleeing persecution in Rome. Where are you going? Where do we go from here?
The contest for the GOP presidential nomination is over. The conservative movement is not. Sen. John McCain's campaign resurrection and Super Tuesday victory leave a diverse group on the Right—from the libertarian Club for Growth to First Amendment defenders to immigration enforcement proponents—dispirited. But the failure to nominate a true Republican unifier does not spell ideological defeat.
On Wednesday, wielding his olive branch like a schoolmarm's ruler, Sen. McCain told conservatives to "calm down." My advice is exactly the opposite: Get fired up.
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.
Look at Barack Obama. Four years ago, he was in the Illiniois legislature. Now, he's on the cusp of the presidency.
If you can't stomach John McCain, channel your support and energies to Republicans who do represent your values and who have treated the conservative base as allies instead of enemies. There are a new generation of combat veterans running for office who haven't made a career of trashing the base. Check out staunch economic, social, and national security conservative congressional candidates like Iraq/Afghanistan veteran Eric Egland in California's fourth district. Check out the Vets for Freedom (vetsforfreedom.org) group for their endorsements.
Opposed to the amnesty bill? Republican Sens. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, and John Cornyn of Texas all fought the McCain-Kennedy-Graham-Martinez-Bush open-borders disaster. All of those Senators are up for re-election this year. Send them some money. Then send a few more bucks to the enforcement proponents on the House side as well.