The Buckley Rule: Vote for the Most Conservative, Viable Candidate

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I have my preferences. I have policy preferences. I have ideological policy preferences. And when I become confident that somebody is worth getting behind, I do. But, boy, it takes a lot. (interruption) What quote is misunderstood? No, no. Snerdley is saying the Buckley quote’s misunderstood because he thinks people sometimes think it means throwing your vote away. It means the exact opposite of throwing your vote away.

Buckley was a conservative. Conservatism first, Republicanism second. But it doesn’t do any good — we’re running against liberals. It doesn’t do any good to commit suicide by supporting somebody that doesn’t have a prayer of winning, for single issue purity. That’s what Buckley was saying. (interruption) Well, yeah, one of the most glaring examples of this, I’ll give you an example. Alan Cranston, senator California, way back. I mean, he already looked like a cadaver, but he’s running for reelection. It has to be ’86 ’cause I left there in ’88, so it has to be ’86. And he’s opposed by a moderate Republican by the name of Ed Zschau. Ed Zschau, San Francisco.

There was no way the guy’s conservative, but he was a Republican. He didn’t get a lot of Republican support outside San Francisco, outside of moderate GOP circles because he wasn’t sufficiently conservative. So Cranston wins. And if Zschau had been in the Senate, it’s not automatic, but it’s possible Bork would have been confirmed. It would have been so big to get rid of Alan Cranston. It would have been huge. And that’s the kind of thing that Buckley was talking about.

There are two things you want to do in an election. You want to elect your people, but you want to stop them, too. Now, if you get to do both at the same time, you’re really in fat city. Sometimes you only get a chance to choose one of those things. But that’s aside from the fact that, nothing against elected officials, but especially if I don’t know them and I don’t talk to ’em every day, if they can go off the reservation one day after getting my support, it’s just not useful, as they say, and it isn’t helpful. And back in ’88 I told myself, “I’m gonna be around longer than most of them,” and I think that’s been proven true. Not all, but some. And it was a recognition of what this is and what it isn’t in terms of a radio show versus a political operation.

But, Mark, back to your dilemma here. I know that there are a lot of conservatives that are not happy with Eric Cantor and so forth. If you like this guy, if you like his opponent and you’re looking for me to endorse, I’m not gonna do that. But I’m not gonna tell you not to. The whole point of this show is to create as large an informed, educated, participating citizenry as possible. Then you go do what you think your best shot is.



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