According to Lubbock’s Mudslide Media, state Senator Robert “Duncan suggested some of his fellow politicians have solicited votes in conservative parts of the state by attacking opponents as being “liberal,” rather than studying real issues. “We have dumbed down our elections,” he said. “It’s a race to say who’s the most conservative.”

image: Duncan

Sen. Robert Duncan

Actually it’s Duncan playing the dumbed-down populist in this case as shouting about factionalism, partisanship, or labels has been common since at least the 1820’s as the easy way to paper over an inability to win arguments and votes in a legislative body. Bluntly, it is the excuse of those who become less effective in office – they can’t get their way, or no longer wish to work as hard as they once did to do so, so it must be the fault of everyone else or of objectionable movements within the body politic.

More importantly, Duncan’s words are those of someone who doesn’t really understand conservatism in its current sense. Let’s put it this way: How can it be a negative to want to be the candidate who most supports Liberty and freedom for citizens? How is it bad to want to be the person who supports the least amount of government interfering in our families and businesses? How is it objectionable to stand for the idea that our fellow citizens can better govern their lives than can elected politicians and bureaucrats?

Duncan’s words are seductive to those who like him don’t fully understand what it means to be politically conservative. If you don’t well understand that being most conservative is being the most protective of individual liberty, constitutional republican government, and a self-governing populace then, the whole enterprise is cause for confusion.

Pratt on Texas

Robert Pratt has been active in Texas Republican politics since the Reagan re-elect in 1984. He has served as Lubbock County Republican chairman, and in 2006 founded the Pratt on Texas radio network, providing the news and commentary of Texas on both radio and podcast. Learn more at


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