Beware “If this, then that” conservatism

But the biggest problem with IFTT thinking is that it ignores the central truth about politics: Which is that you can only police your own side. Democrats didn’t care when Republicans criticized Bill Clinton for his improprieties. And they weren’t moved to push Al Franken out because Republicans freaked out about his behavior. And vice versa: Trent Lott didn’t leave his leadership post because Democrats were braying for his head. He left because Republicans were outraged.

Policing your own side used to be, if not exactly the norm, then a very real part of party politics. Both parties have tried very hard to abdicate this basic responsibility and the effect has been . . . well, just take a look at American political life.

Instead of yelling IFTT, conservatives should get back to the basics of policing their own movement if for no reason other than self-interest. Because the midterm elections were a good look at what happens when you don’t.

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