I have been trying to put my finger on the source of my discomfort with members of my own political ideology on the conservative side. It is not only the divergence from Reaganism lead by talk radio hosts like Mark Levin. Nor is it the recent tendency for those on my side of the political circle to engender the tactic of marginalization enshrined in Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, the bible of committed Leftists. And while playing fast and loose with facts, not only about political opponents but those on our side, has been a recent strategy of some who call themselves conservative, it is not the totality of solicitude I have felt lately.
The real source of my frustration with members of my own political brethren is something I call one-issue-pathos. Many have become so focused on one issue that they have religified it to the point that it is the only factor present in their decision to support a candidate or not. Some of these issues include, but are not limited to, illegal immigration, presidential eligibility, the funding or defunding of Planned Parenthood, the Second Amendment (or any other one amendment they feel a candidate does not support), et al.
It is not just the rabid support for one issue over all others that concerns and chagrins me, but the metrics those suffering from one-issue-pathos use to arrive at their sometimes twisted conclusions about one candidate or another. Exemplary of the previous statement is how some have characterized Marco Rubio as an "open borders" advocate because of his work with the "gang of 8." This legislative subset was joined by the Florida Senator during his first years in that body, and the group's goal was to advance illegal immigration reform consistent with the political realities of having to obtain support from a Democrat-controlled Senate and White House.
Senator Rubio has for the record stated many times he is not for amnesty or open borders, but does support stronger border security and weeding out illegals. But his actual position does not mater to those suffering the affliction of one-issue-pathos. They just engage in two other tactics they learned from the Left, i.e. demonizing and marginalizing. By advancing a narrative that establishment members of the Party are Hitler-esque, they can then apply that label to anyone with whom they disagree on one issue or another. They further marginalize those who do not goose-step along with them by using the pejorative Rino (Republican in name only).
As the destruction of Reagan conservatism is carried out by those who claim the mantle of "true conservatives," those on the Left rub their hands together with glee over the success of the Alinsky conservatives, a success which has alluded those on the Left with the same goal. To clarify conservatism for those who have forgotten what it is, or who may have never know what it is in the first place; conservatives do not speak ill of their fellow Party members (Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment). They also consider someone on their side with whom they agree 70% of the time (also a major part of the Reagan ethos). A conservative accepts political realities and knows that half a loaf is better than no loaf when negotiating with political adversaries (a practice on which Ronald Reagan hung his political hat).
As we enter the meat of the 2016 presidential campaign, those who have become zealots for nihilism, would be well served to re-examine the conservatism they so boldly claim as their own. I am not sure what they are practicing, or to what good ends they think it will lead. But progress in politics is like progress on the football field; rarely does it come all at once, but is gotten a yard at a time, a first down at a time, and finally the ball is advanced over the goal line. There is no path to victory in one-issue-pathos.