Conservative. Republican. TWO DIFFERENT THINGS.

In 2014, US Senate candidate Thom Tillis told us how he was going to really stick it to Obama when he got to Washington.  (Funny, looking back at that now, I guess he was talking about how he was going to pucker-up extra hard when kissing the now-ex-president’s posterior.  )

The John Locke Foundation has long tried to paint itself as the voice of conservatism in North Carolina.  Yet, its most prominent public faces have been out there calling for very un-conservative things like: more government spending, state-installed GPS trackers on private cars, crossing the aisle to “get things done”, and teaming up with Planned Parenthood and Chris Fitzsimon to “fix” redistricting. 

In the General Assembly, you’ve got a ton of folks calling themselves conservative while they lustily push for more subsidies for the solar energy industry and cheer more money being thrown at public education.

I hate to break it to you.  But conservative and Republican are, in many cases, mutually exclusive terms. For the longest time, the Democrat Party was THE conservative party in the country and in our state.  The Republican Party got a foothold in North Carolina just prior to the outbreak of The Civil War among folks in western NC who weren’t thrilled with the idea of secession.

Since that time, the GOP in NC was mainly restricted to cliques in Charlotte and Greensboro.  They got their congressmen elected there, and got some local elected officials, but were never players at the state level.  

There was actually very little difference between the two parties.  The Democrats were more in number, so they always won the big races. (In the epic Hoover-Rosevelt race at the dawn of The Great Depression, there really wasn’t a dime’s worth of difference between FDR and Herbert Hoover.  Same case for 1948’s Dewey vs. Truman epic.) 

Things started to change when the McGovernites took over the Democrat Party.  (You know, the direct ancestors of those fools you see wrecking the streets of DC as we speak.)  Conservative-thinking Democrats had no place to go.  The feckless NCGOP didn’t really stand for anything, and they had no numbers to make a difference. 

But Barry Goldwater came about at the national level — saying a lot of things people at the grassroots had been dying to hear from their leaders.  Then, Richard Nixon came about in 1968 and 1972 — bringing more of that tough talk.  I

In 1976 and 1980, Helms and his team successfully led an effort to put North Carolina into Ronald Reagan’s WIN column.

A light should have gone off in every Republican head at that time.  Party registration numbers don’t mean squat if you’re preaching — and acting on — a message people want to hear.  The onset of the Helms era actually made it cool to vote Republican — and even register Republican.

Helms got 30 years in the Senate — retiring in 2002 — all while standing firm on an uncompromising conservative platform.  

Since he’s been gone, the party has forgotten all of the lessons of the Helms and Reagan era.  Sure, they don’t mind voters continuing to vote for the party of Helms and Reagan.  Plenty of NCGOP candidates will step out there and mouth words similar to what Reagan or Helms would have said.

But they get into office, and start talking nonsense about “finding common ground,” “crossing the aisle,” and “getting things done.”  Hitler, Castro, Stalin Mussolini, Tojo, and Mao ALL GOT THINGS DONE. (Need I say more?) 

If you campaign on a message, and you get elected to office on that message, you have every right in the world to plow full steam ahead on getting that platform enacted.  You’re simply honoring your contract with your voters.  Am I right?

This kind of talk freaks out GOPe types.  Here’s the former chairman of the Mecklenburg GOP, of all places, doing just that:

Nope, Gideon Moore.  If I get elected to the NC House on a conservative platform, and I happen to collect a veto-proof majority of folks there who also ran on a conservative platform, I think it’s safe to say that my friends and I will be calling the shots for the next two years.  We have a mandate.  The big government nonsense preached by the other side lost.  Wait, Gideon was not done: 

Spoken like a true attorney.  Lawyers are trained to huddle up, hammer out a deal, and then all go out for steaks, scotch and cigars (billed to somebody else, of course).  Why cut a deal with somebody who got clobbered in the last election and doesn’t have the numbers to do diddly in the House chamber?   

The minority is welcome to come over and help us pass our conservative solutions. Or they can go back to their spots in the far corner of the chamber and resume the pouting.