Tony Blankley

Last week's column urging conservatives to vote in November ("No Thanks, We're Stupid") brought forth a cataract of e-mails. Initially they ran about 6-1 disagreeing with me. By Friday, when the floodtide had subsided to a trickle, the disapproval level had reduced to about 3-2. Clearly, I didn't quite make the sale.

Most of the responses fell into three large categories: 1) There's not a dime's worth of difference between the Rinocrats and Democans, 2) like children, congressmen have to be punished when they misbehave (by letting them lose), or they won't learn their lesson and will become spoiled brats, and, 3) I'm simply not going to vote for politicians who are corrupt and haven't kept their policy promises.

The remainder of the responses pointed out either: 4) I was a hypocrite because a few weeks earlier I had called for Hastert to resign ("Republican Integrity"), and now I was calling for voters to hold their noses and vote Republican, or 5) perhaps I had ended my snit with Hastert and was back on the reservation.

Of the three major responses, the weakest is the Rinocrat charge that there is not a dime's worth of difference. I won't repeat in detail the arguments about Pelosi, taxes, national security, impeachment, etc., as they have been made constantly -- and cogently -- by Republicans and many conservatives for the last month.

But there are demonstrable differences, which is why most of us, most of the time, chose the lesser rather than the greater evil. I would only argue, e.g. that for those conservatives (such as me) who want secure borders and no amnesty, the House Republican majority is the only group of politicians who will be able to block that next year -- if they are a majority. And that is a positive good -- not a lesser evil.

The second argument -- parental discipline is needed for congressmen -- is, I think, an unuseful metaphor. If you don't discipline your children, they are likely to grow up spoiled; if you do discipline them, they have to stay home and learn their lesson -- and are then likely to grow up much better.

But if you discipline a congressional majority, it just disappears. The surviving minority is just as likely to learn from the punishment that they should behave more like the Democrat winners. That is where the me-too Republicans of the 1940s through 1970s came from. After FDR, there weren't enough conservative voters around, so Republican congressmen became more liberal in an effort to get re-elected. That didn't begin to change until Reagan in 1980.

Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

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