Fact No. 1 is to realize a political party isn’t a church nor a cult but a mechanism to get diverse people who share some things in common to work toward a common position of power that none could achieve on their own. Fact No. 2 is that unless you can convert your principles into actual policies, standing upon them does no one a favor. If you believe in your principles but can’t convert others, you are not an asset. If you antagonize them, you and your principles are a real liability, and perhaps you should shut the hell up.

Fact No. 2 is that because no coalition big enough to win power can ever be pure or completely united, and no pure wing or segment can be big enough to win or rule on its own, it is in everyone’s interest to cherish the mavericks. Each party needs members who vote with them sometimes. Conservatives dreamed of the day they could rid themselves of the Snowes, Lugars and Castles; that day has come, and they and their party are weaker than ever. Many conservatives would kill now to have those seats back.