One of the blogosphere’s brightest voices, Hugh Hewitt, has written a book, as many of you know. It’s titled, “If It’s Not Close, They Can’t Cheat: Crushing the Democrats in Every Election and Why Your Life Depends on It”.
I haven’t read the book yet, but Patterico has, and he has reviewed it over at his blog. I mention this, because Patterico has issued a challenge related to this book. He wants to get some discussion going among people he calls “inflexible conservatives” or “principled Republicans,” who, like him, put principle before party. See his explanation here.
Evidently, in the book (and he certainly asserts this on his blog), Hugh Hewitt says that “winning majorities means sacrificing a blind allegiance to idealism, in favor of a political philosophy of principled pragmatism — with the emphasis on pragmatism.” Many conservatives disagree with this, unwilling to set principle aside in order to win elections as a majority party. I have to admit that this is something that I, as an elected Republican, struggle with often. Even though I’m a public representative of the Republican Party, I consider myself a “Buckley conservative” (to coin a phrase) first and foremost, and sometimes those aren’t compatible.
In order to get a discussion going among these “inflexible conservatives,” Patterico has offered to send a free book to those who disagree with Hugh’s claims, in what Patterico is calling “The Great Hugh Hewitt Book Giveaway.” The idea is to confront these conservatives with Hugh’s pragmatic approach, and see what the reaction is when the two meet.
I think it’s a great idea, and I think it’s a discussion we need to have in the conservative movement. In fact, I’m one of the conservatives who is going to receive a book from Patterico. I’d encourage everyone to watch the discussion over there, and continue the discussion here and on other conservative blogs. Now that we are part of a coalition of a true majority party, we need to decide the best strategy to get conservative ideals implemented. This is part of that essential conversation.
UPDATE: Check out this post by Patterico. It’s a preview of the discussion we’re going to be having, and in which I hope all of you participate.