It is a testament to the power of ideas. A recognition that the voter base of the Republican Party -- those loyal souls who come out in primaries -- are solidly conservative on SOCIAL issues, solidly PRO-LIFE.
Despite all the nonsense spouted by the GOP establishment about big tents and new technology it is MESSAGE that decides who self-describe as members of a party and who show up on election day. And so long as the NJGOP uses the word "Republican" in its title, that message is a NATIONAL one. It does not flow from 150 West State Street in Trenton, but rather it exists in the national ether -- in the brain impulses of every sentient being with a reaction, one way or the other, to the word "Republican".
The job of state and local leaders is to find a way to sell it. You don't get to remake the brand.
A case in point: John McCann.
The cabal of local operators who were part of the deal that resulted in the McCann candidacy were out and about last summer telling anyone who would listen that Steve Lonegan was TOO CONSERVATIVE. In particular, they targeted those pesky social issues, like abortion, which they claimed were "holding us (the NJGOP) back" and preventing them from winning.
Look, the only Republican candidate to win statewide in New Jersey since 1997 was both solidly Pro-Life and Pro-Second Amendment. Now we're not saying that Chris Christie wanted to be. We're not saying that he liked it. What we're saying is that he knew better than to not to be anything but a social conservative. That is what "Republican" means, dummy. You can't wash it off.
Argue until you are blue in the face but you are stuck with it. All a Republican gets when he or she sucks up to the opposition or its allies is their justifiable contempt and the anger of people who would otherwise turnout out for you because they have been, once again, betrayed. Keep doing what you are doing and you are on a one way course to extinction.
So the people who brought you John McCann have put their candidate out there for nine months -- since before McCann left the employ of that pro-Sanctuary State darling, the Democrat Sheriff of Bergen County, the hand of hands... Mikey Saudino. And in all that time, John McCann has preached a message of how "moderate" he was on abortion.
Oh, he'd tell some crowds that he was "Pro-Choice" but most of the time he'd say things like how he was "personally opposed" to abortion and a "moderate" on "abortion rights". After all, this is the same guy who predicated his 2002 campaign for Congress against conservatives Scott Garrett and Gerry Cardinale on his view that they were both "too conservative" on social issues to win a General Election. McCann is the same candidate who called himself an "Arlen Specter Republican" a few years before Specter ended his career as an Obama Democrat.
Now, over the last ten days, voters in the 5th congressional district have been receiving mailers claiming that John McCann is a Pro-Life conservative. And not only that, McCann now claims to believe that "life begins at conception".
Yep, it is late in the campaign. McCann wants to have a shot at winning. McCann did a poll and it became obvious that not even having the party "line" in over 70% of the district was going to save him. Social conservatism trumps county party lines. Needs must.
Sure enough... the light bulb went on and with it the recognition that you need to be a social conservative to have a chance at attracting a great many Republican voters -- whether you are running in the primary or the General Election. Take a look at these mailers...
Of course, this is John McCann and being who he is, he's not going to play it straight. In McCann's not-quite-right brain, he probably believes that avoiding the word "Pro-Life" provides him with an out if he should win the primary and face Democrat Josh Gottheimer in November.
No. It's not going to work that way.
First, McCann is a Republican. For most people, that makes him Pro-Life whether he is or he isn't. All he does by squawking about it is to piss-off people who might have voted for him because they are Pro-Life.
If you believe in abortion, a pro-abortion Democrat is always better than a pro-abortion Republican, because a pro-abortion Democrat votes for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker. End of story.
Second, McCann is now on record as claiming that he believes a human life is ended if it is interfered with at any time from conception onwards. For a start, he should check with his wife, an OB-GYN doctor in New York City, to see if any of the offices or hospitals she's been affiliated with hand-out the morning after pill.
How does he think he can walk that back?
Will he tell voters that yes, he believes that human life begins at conception but that he also believes in women's rights to abortion? That will make him a worse monster than any pro-abortion Democrat because at least they dispute that they are taking a life. McCann will end up saying that it is human life but that he doesn't mind if it is being exterminated. That's quite a place to be.
But these are the kinds of conundrums Republicans place themselves in when they refuse to live up to the values and principles of the political party to which they freely affiliate themselves. Instead of honesty... you get people like John McCann.