Sunday, November 7, 2010

Perseverance and Principles

In an insightful Wall Street Journal article, Senator Jim DeMint welcomed Washington's newest conservatives. Senator DeMint warned them to change Washington, rather than letting Washington change them. He called for the new senators to be persevering and principled.

But perseverance and principles can be difficult to hold on to in office. Floridians know this, having been confused by Governor Charlie Crist, who campaigned hard in 2006 as a solid conservative. Chain-gang Charlie, even. In office, however, he blew where the political winds seemed to take him. Those winds filled his sails, taking him into the senate race and ultimately to his newfound independent status. Those winds dwindled, however, in recent months.

All over the country, voters were looking for strong leadership in these midterm elections. Even many Democrats were looking for mightier voices, as President Obama began to look weak. In Florida, the story was no different. Floridians have roundly rejected the current status quo in favor of a bold conservative approach. They did not elect an entire Cabinet of conservatives--rejecting moderate choices along the way--for more of the same. They did not preside over the coronation ceremony of tea party's crown prince as a senator in order to tone down partisanship. They did not elect Republicans as seven of eight new representatives to the U.S. House so that they could broker compromise.

Florida's new political leadership should heed Senator DeMint's advice and consider the reasons they were elected. They must understand the need for perseverance and principles while in office. There won't be a second chance.