Over at Townhall, Bruce Bialosky delivers a heartfelt plea for fellow conservatives to “Stop Beating Up on Mitt“:
You may not agree with everything he says or stands for, but think of a person with whom you do. Romney will be fiscally responsible and restore the integrity of the United States around the world. He will honor our friends, not our enemies. Other candidates might be able to do these things, but few have both the Reaganesque smile and the steely spine to back it up.
Whether or not Mitt Romney is your favorite candidate he would make a wonderful President. So stop picking on him.
Bruce, I admire your effort, but Mitt fans should beware — it’s only just begun. As the primaries get closer — and voters start paying close attention — at least some of Mitt’s primary opponents (and their media allies) will talk in near-hysterical tones about the consequences of nominating Mitt Romney. Expect to hear the term “RINO” bandied about endlessly. They’ll accuse him of everything from being pro-abortion to selling out to environmentalists to ushering in the zombie apocalypse with RomneyCare. Attack ads will fly and tempers will flare.
But if he can weather the storm (and I believe that he will), then you will see virtually all of those very same hysterical opponents join hands with him and train their (considerable) rhetorical ammunition on Barack Obama. The party will unify, and we’ll march together into the general election.
What should we do when the campaign season gets crazy? First, stay sane. Republican primary campaigns aren’t won through hysterics but through polite passion — civilized intensity that attracts the millions of mothers and fathers who work hard at their jobs, shuttle their kids to ballgames, and are repelled by unhinged rhetoric and apocalyptic tones. Realize that Internet comment boards are perhaps the least representative public forums on the planet, and they draw disproportionate numbers of unhinged trolls (except for our EFM comment boards, which are models of civil, enlightened discourse).
Second, make the case. Make the case to your friends and neighbors and — yes — on the Internet. Be the voice of reason and the roaming fact-checker. Mitt is fiscally conservative. His record is fiscally conservative. He’s pro-life. His record is pro-life. He’s strong on defense and won’t let political correctness trump security. In short, he has a record you can be proud of.
Being civilized doesn’t mean that you’re a doormat. Fight fire with reason, never back down, and maintain a thick skin. Because — after Mitt wins — the very guy that called him a RINO will be donating money to Mitt and lighting up the Internet on his behalf.
That’s just how the system works.