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Desjarlais’ TN reelection is exactly what’s wrong with the GOP

Conservative Review

How much longer are we going to continue supporting immorality under the guise of fighting immorality?

Politics is downstream from culture. We are losing this country to a growing left-wing floor of support because of the destruction of civil society, family structure, and the basic values that created a free and prosperous country. As John Adams warned, only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.” In order to win back the country, we must win back the culture. Therefore, it goes without saying that those who represent the “conservative” party must live as conservatives, not just pretend to be conservative in order to win primaries and play the political game. 

In 2012, the Chattanooga Times Free Press revealed that then-freshman Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn (B, 84%) “supported his ex-wife’s decision to get two abortions before their marriage.” They also confirmed that DesJarlais, while married, “had sexual relationships with at least two patients, three coworkers and a drug representative while he was chief of staff at Grandview Medical Center in Jasper, Tenn.” One of the patients claimed that in 2000, DesJarlais pressured her to have an abortion. At the time, DesJarlais admitted in court “to pressuring the woman over the phone to get an abortion,” but contended that it was part of an elaborate plan to get the woman to admit she wasn’t pregnant. 

When I first saw this story four years ago, I never thought for a second that this man would run for reelection, and certainly, if he did choose to do so, he’d surely be defeated. After all, it’s only the Democrats who would use such a lifestyle as a resume enhancer, whereas our people would actually practice what they preach and banish this man from the party.

Whether DesJarlais has repented and reconnected with God in the ensuing decade is obviously between him and his creator. What is our business, however, is that we can’t nominate people like this to represent our pro family, pro-life views to a public and a new generation that is tired and cynical of frauds and hypocrites. Tennessee’s Fourth district is a staunch conservative area, yet at the time I made it clear that it would be worth losing the seat to the Democrats rather than support him. This golden calf of party politics and binary choices of ‘the evil of two lessers’ has its limits. It’s not only morally wrong to vote for someone like this to represent you, it is strategically dumb to have a man like this represent you. As I noted last month, this crisis of conscience is what has kept conservatives out of power for 28 years. Swing voters view Republicans as frauds.

Yet, in TN-4, Republican voters actually had a choice. Both in 2012 and 2014, there were primary challengers through which Republicans could have their cake and eat it too – get rid of a man who makes them look like frauds while keeping the seat. Knowing that he was in hot water, DesJarlais made sure to vote with conservatives on a regular basis. He lost his morals, but he understood that our own people have become so debased, all they care about is a voting record. He won the primary overwhelmingly in 2012, but eked out a mere 38-vote victory in 2014 against a better-funded challenger.

This year he was challenged by a Grant Starrett, a candidate with a lot of resources and a respect for the Constitution. I never met Starrett and haven’t examined him well, but I do know he worked for Jim DeMint and was endorsed by Mark Levin. What is also clear is that, when compared to a man who allegedly engaged in endless philandering and encouraged his mistress and ex-wife to get abortions on multiple occasions, even a moral RINO or a Democrat is a superior choice , not to mention a young conservative for a challenger.

DesJarlais won by a margin of 52-43 percent last night. He promised he “will always fight for Tennessee values and principles.” Which values are those, again?

Some are touting this as a great conservative triumph because DesJarlais was an early supporter of Trump. They insinuate that somehow Garrett was a fake conservative because he hadn’t lived in the district for long and had a lot of out-of-state funders. First, as someone heavily involved in primarying incumbents, I can tell you it’s almost impossible for a challenger to raise money inside the district. Second, if we are going to cheer an abortion-supporting philanderer over a clean conservative simply because DesJarlais supported Trump and Starrett recently moved to the district, we have lost sight of the entire goal of winning in the first place. Why are we here? What are we fighting for?

We have reached rock bottom as a movement. The golden calf of the two party system has corrupted our souls and has strategically ensured that pro-life and pro-family values are jettisoned from our political culture. As we’ve reported throughout the year, Republicans refuse to even touch pro-life, family values, or religious liberty issues. That is all because, for far too long, we have been suffice to support someone who “believes” in family values but embodies left-wing values – all for the failed circular logic of defeating the left-wing values that we are now confronted with today, which in itself is the legacy of this failed cycle. 

We will never recover as a movement, a party, and a nation until we slay the political animal inside of us and aspire to something greater than “at least my candidate is not a registered Democrat” and says the right things on the campaign trail.

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