The 11th Commandment
Some people are conservatives who happens to be Republicans. They believe in smaller government, lower taxes, personal responsibility, and basic economic freedom. These beliefs are still the fallout from the Reagan Revolution in the 1980’s.
It seems recently that some Republicans are scratching the surface of this philosophy without understanding the depth of Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment.
Reagan’s 11th Commandment declared: “Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican.” The funny part about this is that President Reagan didn’t say it first. History shows us that this is an embellished fable that overshadowed the real prophet from whose mouth these sacred words were spoken. It was never Ronald Reagan’s commandment at all.
The California race for governor in 1965, which was Mr. Reagan’s first race for public office, had many colorful figures in it. One of them was California State Republican Party chairman Gaylord B. Parkinson. It was Mr. Parkinson who issued this “11th Commandment” in the 1965 California race for governor.
Mr. Parkinson additionally cautioned all the Republican governor candidates: “Henceforth, if any Republican has a grievance against another, that grievance is not to be bared publicly.”
Fast forward to today. In today’s modern political climate among Republicans, are the Republican Party and the philosophy of conservatism still linked? The answer is both yes and no. Consider the following.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan was the first Republican nominee for governor to be re-elected since 1954. However, he distanced himself from the Republican Party in an April 2018 meeting with college students at Towson University during his re-election quest. At the event, a Towson faculty member introduced the governor and mentioned that he is a Republican many times. How did Governor Hogan respond to being called a Republican?
“Some of the things he said made me sound more partisan than I am. You said Republican this, Republican that. I’m the most bipartisan governor. I don’t even like to talk about parties.”
Governor Hogan added: “I’m a Republican, but I’m a pragmatic person looking for bipartisan solutions to problems facing our state, I’m a moderate, somewhere right of center. I find that where I am on most things is where most Marylanders are.” Governor Hogan was also reported by The Washington Post to have said to a crowd during his summer campaigning that “I went into it not as a Republican, but as close as you can get to an independent.”
The actions of Governor Hogan and other established politicians in the Maryland GOP begs a question. Does the 11th Commandment apply to those Republicans who don’t like their own party, or who only modestly endorse their party’s platform? Does the 11th Commandment apply to those Republicans who have embraced Democratic proposals such as paid sick leave and free community college for some students, and repeatedly played down their ties to the Republican Party?
What about the Republicans who are embarrassed by their base?
What about Republicans who cast aspersions on smaller government, lower taxes, or individual economic freedom?
What about Republicans whose only use for the Republican Party to obtain ballot access?
If the term Republican In Name Only (RINO) applies, is the sacred oath of silence meant to protect the RINO from scrutiny?
This position is not to be mistaken for ringing the dinner bell for those who would engage in unjust criticism. Quite the contrary. Some will view this as a “purist approach” that limits the size and scope of the Republican Party nationwide. Again, quite the contrary. The simplicity of applied conservative criticism of Republican candidates for elected office should be limited to official voting history or current issue positions.
Voting records can show perfect clarity in the differences between those who are RINO’s and those who aren’t. RINO Republican for ballot access and chase a dollar at any chance are seeking to further their personal ambition. Real Republicans are public servants who support a principled cause. RINO’s are very real and should never be afforded the protection of the enshrined 11th Commandment.
The 11th Commandment was never meant to protect those who may have broken the 9th Commandment, which states: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor,” when they call themselves Republican.
If a Republican candidate is running, or ran as a conservative when seeking an elected office, their voting record, or issue positions, should reflect as such when their display of governing is witnessed.