Reagan’s 11th Commandment: Does it hold up in 2022?
If you’ve read my past articles on RVIVR, then you might have asked yourself why I criticize the Right more than I criticize the Left. A fair question indeed. In fact, over half of my articles so far on RVIVR have been highly critical of “Mainstream” Conservatives and Establishment Republicans. However, there’s a method behind my madness here. I criticize other Right-wingers and Republicans for a good reason.
My approach might be foreign to many of the readers of RVIVR. If you consistently follow mainstream conservative news outlets like Fox News or Daily Wire, then you probably won’t see this approach in practice. You’re likely accustomed to the common trope of a conservative pundit attacking the Left about [insert a contemporary political issue/story] on his weekday AM talk radio show.
Growing up in the 2010s, I remember watching Bill O’Reilly grilling President Obama on The O’Reilly Factor and Ben Shapiro “owning SJW snowflakes” video compilations on YouTube. I was accustomed to this strain of conservatism—which focused almost exclusively on complaining about Liberals. Until the Trump revolution in 2015, I never knew how criticizing other Republicans/conservatives could be a useful tool.
That’s where Reagan’s “11th Commandment” comes in. Decades ago, Ronald Reagan famously came up with the now-called 11th Commandment when he ran for Governor of California in 1966. Here is Reagan’s “11th commandment:”
“Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.”
This rule became the golden standard for conservative, Republican politics in the decades after Reagan coined the phrase. We were all supposed to rally around the Republican Establishment’s preferred presidential candidate every four years … no matter how terrible the candidate was—think of John McCain in 2008 or George HW Bush in 1992.
With all due respect to President Reagan, I disagree with the notion that we cannot criticize our fellow conservatives/Republicans.
Why might you ask? Well, I point you to the example of George W Bush.
Simply put, Bush Republicanism is the direct result of not criticizing fellow conservatives/Republicans. Conservative voters get Socially-liberal/moderate, Corporatist, Globalist Republicans like George Bush when we aren’t allowed to criticize our “fellow Republicans”.
When Bush decided to invade Iraq in 2003, the flagship “conservative” magazine National Review published a now-infamous column titled “Unpatriotic Conservatives”. Here is the closing paragraph from this article:
“War is a great clarifier. It forces people to take sides. The paleoconservatives have chosen — and the rest of us must choose too. In a time of danger, they have turned their backs on their country. Now we turn our backs on them.”
To sum up this National Review column, Bush Republican writers at National Review were unhappy that a small group of dissenting conservatives writers (a.k.a. “paleoconservatives”)—such as Pat Buchanan, Sam Francis, and Paul Gottfried—did not agree with Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq. These Bush Republicans believed that criticizing Bush’s decision amounted to “a lack of patriotism”. Certainly, the state of Republican/conservative politics in the early 2000s was dismal to say the least.
And the direction these self-anointed patriots led America in has been, let’s face it, not a good one. The monumental task of digging out from the damage the globalist/”compassionate conservative” agenda has done to the GOP brand isn’t complete, and it took bringing in a ringer like Trump who has endured more dirty-tricks opposition than anyone in American history (any normal person would have become disinterested long ago, and yet still he fights) just to shake the party into a direction most of its members can live with.
So yes, there’s a time and place for criticizing our fellow Republicans. I criticize on my side because I want to Make America Great Again. I cannot—in good faith—stand idly by while Republicans allow the radical transformation of American society through mass immigration, secularism, and globalist trade policies. Which is what Bush Republicanism stands for, or at least has no interest in standing against.
Why isn’t Liz Cheney accused of violating Reagan’s 11th Commandment? And what would Reagan think of her?
We cannot continue to allow America-Last Republicans to enable the destruction of the Traditional American Society. If it bothers Establishment Republicans that I criticize America-Last RINOs, then so be it. America-Last Neo-cons like Cheney, Dan Crenshaw, Mitch McConnell, Nikki Haley, Lindsey Graham, and the rest of the RINO gang deserve the utmost contempt.
We need to hold weak-willed, treacherous RINOs accountable. We need a better class of authentically conservative, America First Republicans on our side. We need to Make America Great Again!