May 23 2008

The Fight Over The Future Of Conservatism And The GOP Is On

See Update Below

Well, it started back in 2006 when Bush nominated ex-democrat (wasn’t Reagan an ex-dem?) Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court and the far right went ape.  The far right rose up again on Dubai Ports World’s selection to run some US docks.  Even though the UAE, home of DPW, hosts the largest US naval port in the Middle East, some felt those Ayrabs were too much of a threat to be allied to have majority ownership (no dock hands of course) in a company that loads and unloads ships.  The ignorance on how things work demonstrated at the time was stunning – and ugly.

Then came a real issue, a national issue.  Then came comprehensive immigration reform and the far right went ballistic and called all who disagree with them traitors, un-American and worse.  Compounding their disgusting behavior towards political allies (acting like Sadrists to Maliki’s Shiites) they basically started lying to themselves and America about what was in the bill, what was the utility of existing laws, and equating all immigrants with the few bad apples all populations have.  In the irony of all ironies the bad apples they held up as examples of the evils of immigration were the very ones they insured would stay around as they stopped a bill that would deport criminals!  Great thinking there.

Now that issue is back because all those who opposed comprehensive immigration reform have fallen by the wayside since 2006 and 2007.   The standard bearer of the hard line crowd on immigration, Tom Tancredo, lost his bid for President and his seat in Congress.  Many others followed his example and the one left standing is John McCain.  McCain, like Bush and many other republican conservatives (as opposed to ‘true’ conservatives), supported the comprehensive bills proposed in 2006 and 2007.  He supports it now. Bush has done more than any other President to seal our borders, turning back 1.3 million illegals last year alone.  There is no more catch and release plan.  Caught and sent home.

Now is the time to deal with registering workers and those who have been here a long time making a living as undocumented workers.  Now is the time to register foreign workers and remove the underground economy that can not only hide 20 million illegal immigrants for decades, but hide cells of terrorists.  It is time to step away from the fringes on the right and left (who have unrealistic desires with no public backing) and deal with the problem realistically.  And that is what McCain is going to do:

In yet another sign of his pivoting toward the general election, Senator John McCain said at a roundtable with business leaders here today that comprehensive immigration reform should be a top priority for the next president.

Mr. McCain’s willingness to address the issue was striking given how the topic became something of a third-rail for Republican presidential candidates during the primary.

The response by the far right was predictable and swift – and signaled the final chapter in the purity wars of the conservative movement.  Either the purists win and the GOP goes into terminal minority status or the broader coalition wins and progress is made through compromise and teamwork.  Personally I already know the answer because politics in a democracy only divvies out power to those who make broad alliances and who can compromise.  Ideologues who demand everyone bow to them always end up on the margins.

If McCain wins he will have made clear that the GOP and conservative movement can achieve success without the ‘true’ conservatives.  I am an independent conservative.  I have resisted joining the GOP for decades because of the purists.  It is a combination of being repulsed by their arrogance and completely unimpressed with their solutions.  Arrogance needs to be backed up with something, and there is not a lot there in many cases (not all of course, and I am focused on leaders and leading voices).  I actually have no dog in this fight accept to find the best opposition to liberal policies.  I don’t look for the purist conservative because the world changes to much and too fast to lock into one concept.  It is a false sense fo security some seek in defining rigid dogma.  

It is not my path, nor the path of many.  Who will win?  In the long run the ‘true’ conservatives will lose.  the question is whether a short term success can be won when fighting the liberals on the left and the fringes on the right.  I think this is the year of the centrists where America shrugs off the fringes and marches to the center to get some problems solved.  

Update:  Some other folks people should be listening to on this matter of whether there is a conservative GOP (big tent) or only ‘true’ conservatives (pup tent).  The Anchoress, who is leaving the GOP, and Harold Hutchison, who links other voices who have decided the purists are not the future.

If I may be so blunt as to remind those on the right that we are at war with religious fanatics who demand purity to their views at gunpoint.  I am not equating Islamo Fascism with ‘true’ conservatives.  I am only pointing out that a country which is tired of the war on fanatics, but sees no path out except to keep soldiering on, may take its frustrations out on the next best example they can find and impact.  

There is too much demand to toe-the-line on ideological grounds for this nation to stomach anymore.  By far the most cancerous and destructive variant comes from the Jihadis.  But the endless griping between far left and far right is not earning respect or support either. At some point America is saying enough to the purists, we are going back to the respect on peaceful coexistence of diversity and impurity.

The reason the far right is losing so badly is they have not given up their purity wars.  We are a war weary country and would trade diversity and peace over anger and fighting any day of the week.  Just as the Iraqis are settling into their diverse, common ground to end the real fighting there, America is doing the same. With or without the fringes.

66 responses so far

66 Responses to “The Fight Over The Future Of Conservatism And The GOP Is On”

  1. 75 says:

    Terrye, how can the far right or conservatives take over their own movement? It appears that the only people trying to “take over” are those who want to bastardize conservatism to their own centrist and moderate goals, in which case, it ceases to be conservatism? Apparently, you annoy yourself.

  2. Terrye says:

    The difference? Pat Buchanan and Ronald Reagan, now there is a difference.

    I am only pointing out that when it comes to general elections, the voting public tends to go center. That is why every freaking election cycle we see politicians going center after they win their primaries. I am not the first person to notice this phenomenon.

    Another difference. A Republican president vetoes a bloated over budget pork laden farm bill and half his own party helps over ride the veto. John McCain said he would have vetoed the damn thing too.

    But where were all those fiscal conservatives?

    The truth is there are people on the right who have a problem with dissent in the party. Somehow or other they think they have the right to shove their opinions down every one else’s throats. Even when they can not find one single candidate they can support who can win a primary in the party they claim to run.

  3. Terrye says:

    bastardize my ass. If people like 75 were the majority in the party, McCain would not be the nominee. But he is ergo…who is doing the bastardizing?

  4. Sara says:

    But, but, but … AJ they are so good at coining words. The fact that their “my way or the highway” attitude cost us the 2006 election and could guarantee a President Bambi seems unimportanti, do they care? Nah.

    I’m no big McCain cheerleader, but I sure as heck am not about to add fuel to the other side’s fire and badmouth him. Of course, I’m not a “pure” conservative. In fact, other than in tax policy, I wouldn’t say I’m a conservative at all. I am a Republican, a solid moderate voter who views the implementation of socialism/communism a far more dangerous and important subject than a good package that includes immigration REFORM. I liked the President’s original 5-point plan and I still think it far superior than anything being offered by these critics. And, I have not one single doubt that when it comes to defending America, McCain will be there with all it takes, should that scenario arise.

    I say take your ball and go home and sulk, but don’t dare say one word in complaint when you see moves to nationalize the oil industry, limit free speech, limit free movement, or are facing the barrel of a gun as the terrorists take over and tell you how to think, vote, conduct business, worship, etc.

  5. WWS says:

    Serious question for 75: I agree with you that Alito and Roberts are conservatives worthy of praise. However, how do you explain that the legal decisions they have written can be characterized as very moderate, even middle of the road, made to look “conservative” simply because they do not pay obeisance to the radical left? (yes, I read all the decisions)

    Roberts has even sided with Breyer, one of the 4 arch liberals, against Scalia several times. How can that be, if he is such a conservative? (my answer: he’s a smart conservative, not an idealogue)

    Even the voter ID case, reportedly an “extremely conservative” decision, was simply the application of ordinary common sense to the absolute legal insanity of the democrats position. The Constitution specifically allows states to regulate and control the election process, limited only by the restrictions of the 14th amendment.

    For the Democrats to claim that showing ID was intentional racial discrimination was an absurdity of the nth degree – and yet a decision that simply said “hey guys, that position is idiotic as well as unconstitutional” comes off as some highlight of conservative thought. We’re at the point that a decision that says “2 + 2 really does equal 4” is going to look like extremist thought.

    Anyway, my point is that Roberts and Alito are both McCain/Bush type conservatives. They’re doing a good job, and the country is much better off having them in place than it would be without them.

  6. […] The Strata-Sphere provides interesting food for thought If I may be so blunt as to remind those on the right that we are at war with religious fanatics who demand purity to their views at gunpoint. I am not equating Islamo Fascism with ‘true’ conservatives. I am only pointing out that a country which is tired of the war on fanatics, but sees no path out except to keep soldiering on, may take its frustrations out on the next best example they can find and impact. […]

  7. VinceP1974 says:

    I don’t know one person in my family and their neighbors in Orland Park, IL who express any euthesiam whatsoever for McCain.

    They’re not so much Republican voters as they are Anti-Democratic Party voters.

    They all *want* to like McCain but his “centrist” views turn them off, dishearten them, and demotivate any support they might otherwise have for someone running against the even more loathed Obama/Clinton.

    The people I work with in the Loop see that Obama is a fraud and Clinton a liar, but no one exactly likes McCain either.. especially when he does bonehead moves like join the Global Warming bandwagan and spout the defiant support of amnesty.

    This election will hinge upon who turns off the regular American the least as to attract their begudged vote and who repells the voter enough to drive them to not vote or do something like pointless like vote for Bob Barr/3rdParty the least

    That’s what happens when you have a “moderate” Republican party.

  8. Terrye says:

    I just do not want some marxist Democrat to become the next president. McCain is one of the most popular polticians in the country. Is he perfect? Hell no, none of us are..but right now he might be the best conservatives can do. And it would help a lot if they would stop eating their own. They need to get out of their own way.

  9. VinceP1974 says:

    McCain is so popular that he has to get money for his campaign from the government.

    Since I have to vote against my vile Senator Durbin, I’ll be voting this year.. I’ll hold my nose , cover my mouth, close my eyes, block my ears, and plug my butt… and vote for McCain (not sure it will matter in Illinois) but it surely isnt because i want to.

  10. Frogg says:

    Well, either McCain got a little carried away with his words or he is a liar……because he is back-peddling on his “comprehensive immigration reform” statement. He says his position is still that of the “purist conservative” … secure the border first.

    I know McCain really wants to get the entire immigration issue settled federally. I hope he succeeds (just not too soon because the states/localities are sure cracking down on illegals like a bunch of crazy rasberry ants). If he secures the border first…..then we can fix the rest.

    I am also ok if some emergency measures on a handful of issues need to be discussed/passed before that wall is built. They may need to ease up or speedline temporary worker visas, etc. But, it needs to be an open transparent discussion and a separate vote…….not a stealth sneak into the war funding bill.


    I doubt this will mitigate the anger of bloggers like John Hawkins much, but Team McCain tells me there’s been no change in his stance on immigration — secure the border first, deal with other aspects of illegal immigration once the border is secure. Recently, McCain made comments that seemed to suggest he was eager to get to the second part, which conservatives and border security types are understandably wary about. ….

    Team McCain tells me the senator’s comments were poorly worded. There’s been no discussion within the campaign of altering their stance on illegal immigration, and as far as everyone on the campaign is concerned, the policy is still, ’secure the border first.’

  11. VinceP1974 says:

    What annoys me about the people running for President is that they’re all Senators.

    If they think a policy was wrong.. or something ignored.. for goodness sake… CREATE A BILL and attempt to fix it!

    Where have these people been for years? Where is the McCain-[Non-Existant Democrat] Border Security Act of 2008?

  12. Frogg says:

    GOP strategists mull McCain ‘blowout’

    By: David Paul Kuhn
    May 23, 2008 05:20 PM EST

    It sounds crazy at first. Amid dire reports about the toxic political environment for Republican candidates and the challenges facing John McCain, many top GOP strategists believe he can defeat Barack Obama — and by a margin exceeding President Bush’s Electoral College victory in 2004.

    But the contours of the electoral map, combined with McCain’s unique strengths and the nature of Obama’s possible vulnerabilities, have led to a cautious and muted optimism that McCain could actually surpass Bush’s 35-electoral-vote victory in 2004. Though they expect he would finish far closer to Obama in the popular vote, the thinking is that he could win by as many 50 electoral votes.

    Among the 10 strategists interviewed by Politico for this story, there was near-uniform belief that had any other Republican been nominated, the party’s prospects in November would be nil.

  13. ivehadit says:

    “That’s what happens when you have a moderate republican party”..

    No, that’s what happens when power goes to the heads of certain segments of the political debate.

    And for the record, not a single solitary segment won the ’00 and ’04 election. There is NO MAJORITY of any segment: conservative, moderate, far right, etc. NONE. So stop with the intellectual dishonesty about having the power to put someone in office. It ain’t true. It takes all. Conservatives CANNOT win on their own. Tancredo can’t even get into double digits. Why? Why didn’t those with megabucks put their money on him? They could have! But didn’t.

    I am so sick of this. I really don’t EVER want to play on a team with those who are trying to advance an ideolgy of pure conservatism. They are not team players – they are nattering nabobs of negativity and think they deserve to win all at all cost, America be damned. They cannot be trusted. They get what they want on 90% of the issues and then they say, “more, more, more!”Such spiritual arrogance.

    So how is that different from the hard Left, I ask?

    John McCain is not my first choice but I am supporting him because I can prioritize my desires and he ranks high on most of those. Not all, but most, #1 being the War on Terror.

    I don’t call Malkin conservative. I call her strident. She has become the thing she hates, imho, and she is full of hate, imho. And, imho, like Ann Coulter, she has absolutely no desire to be in a goodfaith relationship with anyone other than her following. Enough already.

  14. VinceP1974 says:

    I’m not a 100%’er.

    For example, I was perfectly willing to support Bush because, where it counted the most, he was doing the right things. Even though I knew when it came to government policy and the budget he was no different than the Democrats (other than tax cuts)

    I know no politician can do it all. I dont expect any of them to.

    I’m with Ann Coulter who has said… expect no more than 3 bedrock principles or objectives to be pursued by a President.. to want more is unrealistic.

    What I didn’t anticipate was that the govt was going to get so out of control LARGE. What I didn’t expect was G Bush CREATING entitlement programs, not ending them.

    What I didn’t expect was Democrat Party Values in the GOP.

    George Bush responded to 9/11 in just the right way. His decision to take care of Iraq was completely justified..

    But what has the man done since 2003? He let the Dems and Media lie about him , the country and the military since 2003 with absolute abdandon.

    The foreign policy of the 2nd term is a complete disaster.

    Our money is worth crap due to the deficits.

    Republicans allowed themselves to be branded as Democrats.

    Well when the choice is between Democratized Republicans and Democrats. why not choose the real thing?

    McCains pamby mamby approach towards terrorists, as evidened by his desire to close Gitmo… McCains buying into the anti-capitalist designs of Global Warming alarmism… McCain’s tendendacy to turn on his supporters to appease the Dems, Left and Media…is just more of the same gutless and rootless Republican “leadership” that has been going on since the government shutdown in the Clinton years.

    Since Bush has done nothing to sustain the public’s support since 2003 for at least his war policy .. all the gangre of the false hope of Republican-led government is now visible for all to see.

    Enough already.

  15. ivehadit says:

    Deficits? Oh please. We have brought down that old booghie man, now really haven’t we? And for goodness sake, we were attacked at our World FINANCIAL Center! The airline industry, our absolute engine of our economy was severly close to death after the attack. The terrorists want to bring down economy as do the sorosite global socialists!

    Unlike Hoover, George W. Bush knew that he needed to turn on the cash spickets and the results have been magnificent in terms of their intended goals: keep us out of a worldwide depression and for security’s sake, keep our economy humming. How long has the economy been growing???? We haven’t even had back to back contractions, no?

    I mean, really, there’s just so much one man can do in the never-ending beauracracy of government, especially when he’s trying to get our military in top shape for our very survival, after a clinton administration’s cuts and neglect.

    If you hate Bush, no amount of truth or fact will change that, imho. So be it.

    And for the record, at least three things George did for conservatives: conservative Supreme Court nominees, no government stem cell research, cut taxes, ….there is much more like a strong military and the FISA court changes allowing the FBI to pass on leads, and bringing down the GORELIK wall at the FBI… but space is limited. (And really, he NEVER campaigned on immigration because it was NEVER an issue back then on the national level. But he also has not changed his views on that subject either. He believes he is right…as others believe they are right.)

    Ya see, it’s always, more, more, more! Who cares about a war, just give me my next and newest pet social issue, I demand it!! 🙁

  16. 75 says:

    Ive, because conservatism errs on the side of constitutional liberty and freedom, why would you want any compromise in the leftward direction? Any compromise leftward is to give up more freedom, more liberty, and give more power to the federal government at the hands of the state or the people. If the center’s beef is that conservatives only want their way or the highway, it’s only because the conservative way fights for freedoms across the board, and that benefits all, including the center or moderates. I guess the point I would make to you is that if I as a conservative get 90% of what I want, which is more freedom for all of us, how could this possibly be bad for the rest of us, be it center, moderate, or even left? Why would you think that if conservatives get everything they want, you don’t get what you want?

  17. 75 says:

    WWS, my point in pointing out Roberts and Alito as conservatives was only to show Terrye that her ideas about “conservatives” and “far right” are utter nonsense. If it weren’t for the very “far right” she constantly bitches about, Alito and Roberts wouldn’t be where they are today.

  18. 75 says:

    Terrye, we’ve already covered why McCain is the nominee…and it has nothing to do with your ass. It does, however, have a lot to do with your own naivette so again, thanks for always being there to display it for us.

  19. Terrye says:


    Oh yeah that is right McCain is the nominee because Democrats locked all the Republicans in a closet and would not let them vote and then abandoned their own primary just so they could pretend to be Republicans and put the weakest candidate in for the Republicans because they were so SCARED of a real Republican like Tancredo.

    At least I think that is how the theory works.

    Talk about naive.

    And if my ideas about what conservative and far right is are ridiculous, how do you explain the fact that I can support Roberts and Alito and yet not consider myself a fan of the far right fringes?

    The fact that you refuse to understand that the purity war being waged by the far right is not something that is good for the GOP is just part of your own denial of reality.

  20. ivehadit says:

    75, first of all, I am a conservative who supports Roberts and Alito, who were considered by Ann Coulter as, Let’s see how conservative they are, I’m not sure they are conservative enough.
    And I support the President’s immigration stance. I want english as our stated language. And I supported the Dubai ports deal.
    And I supported his hardline stance on terrorists. Abortion is not one of my pet issues but, I do support the ban on third term abortions. And I understand what the President is trying to do regarding the global warming farse. I support the ban on gay marriage but would allow civil unions. I supported Terry Schiavo being kept alive. And by all means, cut taxes as much as possible and keep the government out of our business.
    It’s apparently the SOCIAL conservatives who have more stringent views than me.

    So who’s more conservative: fiscal conservatives, paleo conservatives, social conservatives, neoconservatives, Bush conservatives? Get mey drift?

    It”s been quite a coalition made up of Evangelicals ( who, on the whole believe in global warming!), social conservatives, religious right, fiscal conservatives, moderates and libertarians we have in the republican party.

    See, as the proverb states, there is a time to reap and a time to sow. It’s not all black and white ALL of the time.

    You’re not giving up anything of what you believe to govern this country as President when you realize that this is a country where 48% of the people voted AGAINST the conservative in ’00 and ’04. They actually voted for John Kerry, a true liberal. The President has to govern ALL the people and he can’t be a dictator (which is what a liberal will do!)

    Jihadists believe that they are 100% correct all of the time and that all of us should believe as they do. They are not governed by the people, of the people or for the people. They are dictators, which is what I am saying many on the social right have become and don’t realize it. They are trying to hold all the factions in the republican party hostage and then crying that moderates are trying to do the same. Whether or not moderates are trying to do the same is up for debate, but I can say this: WE MUST WIN IN NOVEMBER. My children’s and grandchildren’s lives depend on it, not to mention our beloved America.