(Chuck Muth) – Conservative Republican candidates wear Ronald Reagan as a badge of honor. Moderate Republicans use him as a shield.
Conservatives embrace Reagan’s “government is the problem, not
the solution” philosophy. Moderates hide behind his 11th
Commandment – “Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican”
– to duck criticism of bad votes.
In case you’ve missed it, there’s a national wave building of
viable conservative candidates mounting GOP primary challenges
against incumbent moderates, including right here in Nevada. And the
threat is so serious that Gumby Republicans are again using
Reagan’s 11th Commandment to discourage and discredit such
Sorry, but that dog won’t hunt.
First and foremost, recall that Reagan himself mounted a conservative
challenge to a sitting incumbent moderate, President Jerry Ford, in
the 1976 Republican primary.
As such, conservatives such as Lisa Krasner, who is challenging
moderate Republican Assemblyman Randy Kirner in Reno, and
conservative Carl Bunce, who is challenging Republican Sen.
“Moderate Mike” Roberson in Las Vegas, aren’t violating a
Reagan principle; they’re following his example!
Furthermore, moderates have regularly twisted and perverted the
meaning of the 11th Commandment for years, to the point that Reagan
biographer Craig Shirley felt compelled to ink a column for Politico
in 2011 to clear up the “misunderstanding and misinformation
“The 11th Commandment was created in 1966 by Gaylord Parkinson, the
Golden State’s Republican Party chairman,” Shirley wrote.
“After the bloodbath in the 1964 California primary between Arizona
Sen. Barry Goldwater and New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, Parkinson
was trying to put the party back together.
“The commandment never meant that one Republican could not
criticize the policies or philosophies of another Republican. It
meant only that one could or should not engage in personal attacks on
So if Ms. Krasner were to refer to Assemblyman Kirner as an amiable
dunce or Mr. Bunce were to say that Sen. Roberson’s beard makes him
look like a teenage werewolf, those would be clear violations of the
However, should both conservative challengers accurately point out
that the incumbent moderates have been serial tax hikers in violation
of the official Nevada Republican Party platform, that’s fair game.
And of course no discussion of how moderates try to hide behind the
11th Commandment would be complete without noting the complete
hypocrisy of said moderates when the shoe is on the other foot.
Indeed, when a moderate challenges an incumbent conservative in a GOP
primary, personal attacks such as “extremist,” “nutjob,”
“wacko,” “radical,” “religious kook” and worse are
regularly tossed about with reckless abandon.
So buck up, conservatives. The next time some Gumby Republican
criticizes you for criticizing or running against them, simply ask
yourself one question…WWRRD? What would Ronald Reagan do?
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(Mr. Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a conservative grassroots
advocacy organization. He can be reached at www.MuthsTruths.com)