Will Conservatives Get Along Again After the Pennsylvania Primary?
There have been some extremely heated exchanges between supporters of Dr. Mehmet Oz and supporters of Kathy Barnette. After Tuesday's primaries, will there be reconciliation?
Over the past week, I've had more hate mail from fellow conservatives than I've ever had in my life, and I'm not alone. Conservative show host and former Fox News host Todd Starnes told me tonight that he's never seen anything like it.
"I've never gotten this much hate from MAGA world before," he said.
Like Starnes, I am a Trump supporter. Like Starnes, I do not support Donald Trump's endorsement for U.S. Senate in the upcoming Pennsylvania primary, Dr. Mehmet Oz. For this, we're getting lambasted by fellow conservatives for being disloyal.
"What concerns me is that the definition of conservative seems to be evolving," he said. "Conservative used to define someone who wanted to limit big government, stop out-of-control spending, defend the unborn, support the Second Amendment and fight back against the sex and gender revolutionaries. But now, the definition of conservative seems to be 'someone who is electable.'
"If you are pro-abortion, anti-Second Amendment and you support radical gender reassignment surgery for minors, you are not a conservative."
I get it. There are those who have not been dissuaded by reports of Dr. Oz's leftist past which includes support for keeping Roe v. Wade, gun control, and puberty blockers for transgender children. All they see is President Trump's endorsement and assume that all is well in the Land of Oz. But I don't buy it, and apparently many other Republicans aren't buying it either as the latest polls show Dr. Oz in a three-way tie with Kathy Barnette and David McCormick.
Based on the responses I've received from recent viral Tweets and several articles in support of Barnette, I'm not sure many of Dr. Oz supporters really buy into him, either. Most can tell me why they don't like Barnette, but out of literally hundreds of comments, direct messages, and emails, I have yet to see a single one that attempts to make the case for Dr. Oz other than with two arguments. The first is the aforementioned Trump endorsement. Some have told me they don't know much about Dr. Oz but if Trump likes him that's enough for them. The other argument is that he's supposedly the most electable in a purple state, a claim that I also don't buy.
One prominent conservative who opposes Barnette is Greg Kelly from Newsmax. He ripped Barnette apart last week on his broadcasts and through social media. Here's a snippet from a recent post on Newsmax:
Kelly, host of "Greg Kelly Reports," showed several clips of Barnette to reinforce his suggestion the candidate was "woke" and not conservative. He added she was "unvetted by the press" because media members had been focused on GOP front-runners Dr. Mehmet Oz and David McCormick heading into Tuesday's primary.
"She sounds like, well, woke, liberal [former New York City] Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said that his son, who happened to be Black, faced racism everywhere he went," said Kelly, who then showed a video of Barnette speaking before a "Barnette for U.S. Congress" banner.
I reached out to Kelly for comment but he was unable to go on record. Nevertheless, the fact that we could have a civil discussion about our opposing views was still a good sign.
I'm not here to litigate on behalf of Barnette or against Dr. Oz or McCormick. I'm wondering if things will go back to normal after the primary. It's a serious question and a real concern. When it's just Republicans versus Democrats or conservatives vs RINOs, I don't really care if there's any reconciliation. It wouldn't matter if Chuck Schumer or Mitch McConnell knocked on my door and asked what would make me stop attacking them. My answer to both would be for them to retire. Then and only then could we be friends.
With fellow conservatives who support Dr. Oz, I am legitimately concerned about the repercussions of this mini-war that has been raging for about a week. For example, insults were passed back and forth between former acting-DNI Ric Grenell and me. I've always liked the guy but after some fairly brutal name-calling, do we make up after Tuesday? I reached out to Grenell via Twitter. If he replies, I'll add his response here.
"Every primary is a hard-fought contest," he said. "I hope that in the midst of this conservatives and America First populists will remember we all are on the same side, and to treat everyone fairly and truthfully. We all have a long road ahead to November."
That is hopefully the sentiment we will all fall back on after the primary. As Democrats have proven over the past 16 months, they are an existential threat. As much as I oppose RINO globalist Dr. Oz, I'd still rather see him in the Senate than any Democrat. That didn't used to be the case; a RINO was once just as bad as a Democrat in my book. But today, I may not like most of what Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski, or Susan Collins do with their Senate seats, but at least all of them voted against the radical abortion bill last week. With the Senate as tight as it is, all it would have taken is one of them to have allowed abortion up until birth to be codified.
When the dust settles from Tuesday's primaries, I hope the America First movement can unify and move forward regardless of who wins in Pennsylvania. Democrats are America's enemy from within and must be defeated in November.
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