If a ship is about to suffer massive destruction by sailing over Niagara Falls, why devote energy to scraping the barnacles off the bottom? There will be plenty of time for that once the ship is saved. Worrying about the barnacles before reversing course detracts from critical action. Enough said.
This rationale will anger some who feel that their important issue, be it homosexual marriage, abortion, illegal immigration, or Second Amendment rights, should never be anywhere except front and center. I sympathize with those sentiments, but as a pragmatist, I realize that if conservatives continue to be fragmented over issues on which there will never be unanimous agreement, they will never get the chance to address these issues down the road. Principles are important — but so are wisdom and savvy when building consensus with people with different principles.