On the website, in e-mails, and recent speeches, TFR hasn’t been bashful about calling out the Tax-and-Spenders infesting the Republican Party’s legislative delegation.

By their actions (stopping additional tax relief, preventing tax reform, sponsoring tax hikes, etc.), these Republican spendoholics are pushing grassroots conservatives and libertarians – the Republican base – into apathy. Their actions are driving the core constituency of the movement away from the polls.

To most voters, tax-and-spend Republicans are indistinguishable from tax-and-spend Democrats.

TFR has just had the bad taste to point this out, and then offer the only pragmatic solution possible: we as conservative voters (regardless of party) have to stop enabling bad behavior.

First, you and I have to keep our elected officials healthy – reminding them of our shared values before they have a chance to go astray.

Second, and this starts to make enablers uncomfortable, we must correct lawmakers when they vote poorly. They need to know when they have crossed the line, so they can be pulled back on the fiscal bandwagon.

As a last resort, there are times when voters, concerned about the future of our state’s economy, must be willing, for the health of the movement and the strength of Texas’ future, to vote from office those who are too far gone.

Understanding this are those who believe in limited government, low taxes, individual liberty, personal responsibility and the free market (essentially, the modern conservative platform); they are eager to hear that they can be part of the solution.

On the other hand, we find the spendoholics’ enablers. After I recently gave a speech, one man angrily told me that Republicans (federally) should be in the majority so his Republican congressman could “get us our spending.” He wasn’t bothered by bridges-to-nowhere, he just wanted the pork to have a Republican flavor. Pork, not ideas, was the preferred method to achieve political power. He apparently didn’t pay attention to the last election…

By the way, this guy was a Republican Party big-shot.

The purpose of government isn’t to spend money, but to protect life, defend liberty, and ensure an environment exists in which all can compete equally and pursue our happiness. Where government spends money, it must do so with demonstrable results.

When conservatives pursue political power for the sake of power, they fail; it ain’t in our ideological genes. When we pursue political power for the sake of ideas, we have a stronger chance at victory.

A commitment to good ideas trumps the ability to say “oink” every day.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."