Nov 10 2008

Can Conservatism Regain Mainstream Support?

For all those who want to ‘reclaim’ conservatism let me give you a little hint – there is no need to ‘claim’ something people are rejecting at the voting booth. Obama won this election because something has soured the mood of the moderate conservatives and the optimistic youth (remember those days folks, where anything was possible?). I am not sure what exactly is the problem because I am of the opinion the problem has been built over years spanning many issues which have chased the voters to the dems.

I can point at some top issues like comprehensive immigration reform which took away a key voting block – Hispanics – when the far right trashed reasonable proposals on border security, temporary work programs, and a long path to citizenship (with back taxes due) for long term illegals. The emotional nativism which leapt out of the far right shocked many allies, no doubt since the initial salvo was a insane call for mass roundup and deportation. From then on the far right was (in my opinion rightfully) seen as nativist trying to find a way to force (either through laws or economic pressures) immigrants out of the nation.

It is no surprise McCain did not get the Hispanic vote – the GOP is not trusted or liked in that community now and McCain cannot honestly claim the nativist of the far right are any less strident in their ’cause’. When someone snidely calls immigration reform ‘amnesty’ (which is also legally wrong – since being an illegal alien is not a felony and therefore should only be punished by a fine and financial restitution) their words are being translated into the image of the mad conservative calling for mass deportation at gun point. People are not stupid, they saw McCain lose big time to the nativists. They know how his party can feel in some corners.

But let me also point to another problem that infected the conservative movement and repulsed a lot of people – the useless and idiotic fight against evolution. When Creationism hit the scene a lot of people where wondering whether conservatism was some sort of cult like Scientology. Intelligent Design I guess was an attempt to back pedal, but the flaw is not in believing in God, the flaw is trying to claim evolution is wrong. It isn’t wrong, it is proven science – just like it is now proven science that the Earth orbits the Sun and not the other way around. A lot of good people were punished and died bringing that little gem of reality to an overly religious human race.

Science does not preclude the hand of God in the secrets of existence that science mines as ‘discoveries’. The same science of evolution and DNA that the right rails against is the one that proves without any doubt that life begins at conception and should be cherished and protected. The same DNA tests used in courts across this country to prove innocence or guilt will show that a human embryo is not part of the mother or father, but that it is a unique human being which, left to explore its own life path, will most likely follow the normal life cycle of embryo, fetus, baby, toddler, child, teenager, etc. Why some people, who would barely pass High School Biology, feel the need to attack evolution as proof of their God is beyond me. But evolution is THE science, with established law, which could end the attempt to harvest these young humans for spare parts.

I come to my respect of life from a Christian beginning, but it’s foundation is secured within the proven facts of science. My respect for life extends beyond just human beings to every creature on this planet. Gaining my BS in Biology normally required sacrificing a lot of animals to classroom exercises, necessary to train the next generation of scientists and doctors. I fought this whenever it was used to emphasize some point in the text. I did not need to sacrifice some animal every day for a week to see how digestion works, I could figure it out.

But I do know life must be sacrificed for medical progress to be made. And one of my biggest arguments with Embryonic Stem Cell Research (besides the fact it is mathematically a millions times harder to achieve success than going the adult stem cell paths – which has been born out by the myriad of therapies out from adult stem cells while nothing has been produced from research on embryonic stem cells) is the fact that there is/was a rule in research to never go to human trials before a procedure was proven in animals.

Everything that needs to be learned to ever hope to unlock some therapies from embryonic stem cells can be worked out on Chimpanzee and other primate embryos first. Why this simple and well established rule of biological and medical research is being bypassed had me confounded until I realized the inability to trademark and profit from human DNA does not apply to embryos, since they are not legally considered ‘human beings’ yet. Greed to make profits has once again led people to kill other humans, history repeats.

The fact is embryonic research should be limited to primate research until the proponents can show they can control the genetic code and translations required to transform the cells into a therapy (right now they produce chaos and cancers). Therapies proven in primates should be the gate prior to destroying human beings. Adult stem cell research doesn’t destroy the human being who provides the stem cells (which include skin, cells found in bone marrow and umbilical cord blood).  People need to peruse my posts on this subject to see the broad range of adult stem therapies now in progress. And people need to know that right now there is no need to harvest embryos at all for stem cells since adult stem cells (skin cells) can now produce unlimited supplies!

Evolution is the science that will provide a legal basis to ban embryonic stem cells. It is also the science that will convince most science novices that embryos are human beings at conception. It should be the area of science pro-life folks should be heralding in their fight to stop the Democrats from overturning Bush’s ban on this insane act which is akin to the ‘experiments’ the Nazis did on the Jews.

We are still too much animal and not enough higher being to see what we are doing and use the tools we created to stop ourselves from exploiting the youngest among us to prolong our own lives. Can conservatism regain mainstream support? Can conservatism end its fight against science and evolution to do what is right and save the life of young human beings? Are these actually the same question?

It is for conservatives to chose as a political entity. I know which is right and what science says and what science once mandated as prerequisites to human experiments. What I don’t know is how whether enough people are willing to admit their ignorance to champion the cause. Some refuse to accept science because they claim their faith requires it, some refuse to see the human being sacrificed on the alter of prolonging their own life (or someone close to them) because they claim a right to survive.

Too few see the full reality and the potential to save lives and prolong them all at once. Divided we fail, and we are divided.

44 responses so far

44 Responses to “Can Conservatism Regain Mainstream Support?”

  1. The Macker says:

    You are good on this subject, because of your science background. But I am loath to equate human life to all planet life. I know you didn’t mean that. That is really a big difference between liberals and conservatives. And ,also, you are one of the few who recognize the money trail with ESCR.

    Rayab & Bird,
    I take exception to your notions that the “life” and “immigration” issues are “sideline”
    and that opposition to ESCR is somehow a rejection of science.

    The idea that human life is exceptional is the basis for our Declaration of Independence and all human rights. See : Libertarians for Life .
    How can a conservative humanist support “animal rights and planet rights ” and be “pro abortion” when:
    • the embryo has its own unique DNA
    • it has measurable brain waves at 6 weeks
    • it feels pain at 8 weeks
    • after fertilization there is no other biological singularity before death to “make it human.”

    To say that immigration was a non issue is to not count all the Hispanics that voted Dem. I say “wake up,” Republicans, and count the votes.

  2. kathie says:

    The Bill of Rights protects life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
    That is why slavery and abortion are repugnant to Americans. Abortion can be no more protected then slavery in the constitution.

  3. crosspatch says:

    Does it bother anyone else that Obama’s spokespeople say he is ready to “rule” on inauguration day?

    Since when is a President a “ruler”?

    And yeah, the whole Creationism argument needs to be completely separated from the notion that it is somehow a “conservative” political value. It is a religious value, not a political value.

  4. sophiesmom says:

    Crosspatch, I’m open. I asked AJ about some books that bridge the gap between evolution and the bible. So, I’ll ask you, do you know of any books which bridges the gaps between Darwin’s view of evolution and the Bible’s account of creation?


  5. Redteam says:

    Your post was about several things, but on the evolution creation thing, I just don’t see why it should be controversial. I’d put my politics as middle right conservative. But I see no problem with God designing and creating evolution. I don’t see how anyone could even question that life begins at conception. in plant life, look at what happens to a seed, when it get’s fertilized, it is fully identifiable from that point on as to what type of plant it is. When and egg is fertilized with sperm, it is fully identifiable that it is a human being, at that point. While I am fully against abortions as birth control, I can certainly understand situations where an abortion is a logical alternative. But in those instances, it should be done earlier rather than later. but no matter when it is done, it is still killing a human. There are many instances in life where the death of certain humans are desirable. Wars, self defense, punishment, ‘some abortions’ etc. (all part of God’s designed plan concerning ‘free will’)’

    Independents: what is a political independent? Basically a person that has a hard time making a decision and ends up going which way the wind is blowing. When you are a month away from an election and you still haven’t ‘decided’ that means you are waiting for something to influence you; the media, your spouse, someone you consider knowledgeable, etc.
    It seems obvious that many independents are swayed by the MSM and we all know their politics. Many, thank goodness, were influenced by Sarah Palin, she inspired many immediately following her appointment, including me. (but i’m not independent, I knew 10 years ago I would be voting Republican in 2008) The nomination of a socialist by the Democrats should have solidified the Republicans, but it didn’t: why not? Because the Republican candidate was very similar to the Democrat, very very similar. He bashed the current Republican (reasonably conservative) president, as much as or more than the socialist candidate did.
    He was more outspoken on amnesty for illegals than the socialist was. He created the ‘accommodation’ problem dealing with the appointment of judges (this still may be a good thing, but seemed like appeasement at the time).
    So when faced with voting for a far left socialist and a middle left Republican, the middle of the road conservative and anyone to the right of center saw very little difference. In my case I was voting Republican in about 90% of the possible scenarios. (I could see some scenarios, let’s say Condi Rice decided to run as a Dem against McCain. She would have had my vote.)
    I am a patriotic American and am happy with the way the founding fathers designed the election process. I believe that the US has two more chances to maintain that system, in 2010 and 2012. If the socialists have not been voted out by then, it’ll be the end of that system.
    I believe the socialists are going batty if Obama doesn’t follow their directions beginning NOW. I don’t think they will tolerate waiting,, under any circumstances. They’ve never been reasonable and won’t start now. So the Congressional election in 2010 will either begin their defeat, or strengthen their hold. We better pray for the best.

    I fully support ASCR and fully oppose ESCR, but ESCR will be the law of the land, by edict, before the end of Jan, 2009

  6. crosspatch says:

    sophiesmom, such a question isn’t something I would even worry about in a political context. It is something to be talked about at church, not in Congress. It doesn’t matter. In fact, it is an issue that serves only to alienate people and act as a wedge to help kill conservatism in the political sense. At best it should be a local issue at a political level only within the community. The national level should never be used to shove cultural values down people’s throats.

    I personally don’t care if there are any books that “bridge the gap” because I believe that people take the bible WAY too literally. Conditions on Earth change. Sometimes dramatically over a very short period of time. We went from maximum glaciation to the warmest period of this interglacial in only 100 years or so. God gave the creatures the ability to adapt. A bear suddenly finds its territory is snowbound. A bear with more white markings than brown markings is able to catch more food and therefore lives longer and has more offspring. That bear’s offspring that have more white markings do even better. Bears that are all brown eventually die out simply through the fact that they produce maybe one less cub per generation or their cubs don’t live as long and produce fewer offspring. Eventually you are left with a population of bears that is all white because bears with brown markings don’t do as well in a very harsh environment. The current polar bear is simply an adaptation of a much more common brown bear.

    Evolution is a matter of gradual adaptations and selection. When conditions change, offspring with a certain trait might do better than ones without that trait. The are able to be healthier and produce more offspring. The hindering trait is selected out and the enhancing trait selected in. If a species becomes separated and isolated, it can, by not mixing with outsiders, gradually adapt over time to a point where they are distinct from the group they became separated from.

    But in any case, the discussion of the merits of creationism and the proven, observed, concept of adaptation and evolution is counter-productive in politics. What about religions other than the Abrahamic religions? Since the time of Adam and Eve people spread all over the globe and certain adaptations allowed them to cope better with their local conditions. The various races are really adaptations that allowed them the best possible chance to survive in their local region.

    Remember that prior to 1800 or so, something like 85% of people born didn’t live past 35. Selection was a very cruel knife. People had many more children, most of which died before adulthood. Selection could very quickly weed out a resource that resulted in just one less deer being killed over a winter because that one deer might make the difference in an entire family starving or surviving until spring.

  7. The Macker says:

    Agree on both counts.
    The term “rule” is a contradiction in a free country.

    And “creationism” is a religious viewpoint, often confused with “intelligent design” and “neo darwinism.” While folks with “creationist” views are usually conservative and we can make common cause with them, the viewpoint itself cannot unite conservatives. So we should be tolerant and keep them as allies.

  8. Redteam says:

    CP, very good. I am a Christian and I believe in the Bible as information and a guide, but certainly not completely literally. In Genesis, for example, the 7 ‘days’ of creation is most likely the 7 ‘phases’ of creation. But on the other hand, when Jesus said: ” honor thy father and mother” that’s what he meant.
    A person’s religion should be a personal guide for themselves. It should not be a basis for the US Government. While Christian principle are everywhere, they are not counter productive to good government and everyone’s religion should be personal to themselves.

  9. robert c verdi says:

    We had Unified Republican government, and they even tried to balance the budget, of course the 7-8 hundred billion dollar deficits the Dems are planning may make the Repubs look fiscally sound, but thats for the next election.

  10. ExposeFannyNFreddyNow says:

    Can Conservatism Regain Mainstream Support?

    That depends on where you’re willing to draw the line. If this is the leadership the mainstream so “fervently” wants, are they worth regaining at the expense of conservatism?


    “CHICAGO (Reuters) – President-elect Barack Obama will not attend the global financial summit in Washington on November 14-15, an aide said on Monday.

    The Bush administration has called the summit of the countries representing the world’s leading economies to begin thrashing out a strategy for dealing with the global financial crisis. Obama takes over as U.S. president on January 20.”

    It must by now be crystal clear where His and Their priorities lie, and don’t lie (all puns intended).

    When/IF the Helter Skelter mainstream ever wakes up to what they’ve really done, they’ll be the ones seeking to regain what they have lost, namely their senses.

    It’s unwise to save a drowning man who does not want to be saved. But you can provide safety lines, beacons, and safe harbor should they ever choose to change their mind.

    Regroup, reground, rebuild.

    Conservatives should be ready when they are.

  11. AJStrata says:

    Red Team,

    I am an independent have do not have any trouble making a decision or standing by it. I refuse to have to bow down to the most extreme positions or impatient advocates.

    Independents are not ‘moderate’ or less passionate. In fact, they tend to be less moved by the mob or popular opinion and are willing and able to stand on their own and fight the battles on their own.

    If you think otherwise then you don’t get the problem and won’t find a solution.

  12. CBDenver says:


    I think you are missing the most important issue when it comes to religions people’s attitudes towards science and evolution. Here is an article about “The New Atheism”

    This article demonstrates the extreme anti-religion attitude amongst some of the most vocal and visible proponents of science and evolution such as Richard Dawkins (author of ” The God Delusion”), Daniel Dennett’s (author of “Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon”), and Sam Harris (author of “Letter to a Christian Nation”).

    These men are militantly against religion and they bring science and evolution to the battle to prove that religion is not only wrong but “evil”. They are quite clear that belief in evolution equals disbelief in God.

    For example: “On the link between evolution and atheism, for example, Dawkins is unrepentant and direct–evolutionary theory must logically lead to atheism.”

    Mr. Harris argues that religions belief must be eradicated; ridicule is a primary weapon. Mr Harris hopes that “[a]t some point, there’s going to be enough pressure that it is just going to be too embarrassing to believe in God.”

    With all that, do you wonder why people of faith are skeptical of of scientists and evolutionists? The “war between science and religion” is being waged by the scientists who want to eradicate faith and religion. You ask “Can conservatism end its fight against science and evolution…?”. Oh, you want us to surrender to the condescending atheists like Dawkins, Harris, and Dennet? NEVER!!!

  13. rayabacus says:

    Look, the majority of people, the vast majority, actually want government out of their lives, as small a government as one needs, and value individual liberty and individual responsibility.

    That’s almost a libertarian viewpoint, with a strong conservative tilt. Sort of like being a social liberal and a strong fiscal conservative. That being said, why do Republicans consistently dwell on the social issues, such as, creationism, abortion, education, etc.? The hard right stance of basically legislating morality doesn’t get votes – it does just the opposite.

    Why not deal with these issues as they should be dealt with – through Federalism; turn them over to the states as it should be. I am personally abhorred by abortion, I think it is the wrong choice 99% of the time (the 1% is the life of the mother), but if I were running for office, my stance would be that I think it is wrong, it is a bad choice and Roe v Wade is a bad decision and should be overturned, but it is a bad decision because it has no place in the Federal courts and should be returned to the state legislatures.

    My point is that personal preferences on social issues should not dictate public policy. There is a system to deal with these issues and they should be handled, debated and voted on by the people they impact – the citizens of the individual states.

    Illegal immigration is another non winner. We are not going to round up and deport millions (however many millions there are) of illegal immigrants. And a fence is not going to stop those that have the drive to come here. Logical policy is simple; make illegal immigration vs legal immigration fiscally inhospitable. MO now requires you to show proof of citizenship or legal residency to obtain a driver’s license – no license- no insurance, no insurance-no license plates. You also target the employers providing jobs- 1st offense, fines of ten times the wages paid to illegals; 2nd offense, fines of 20 times the wages paid and prison sentences.

    If you want to address those already here who have children and own property, you could simply say that they have to return to their native country, apply for immigration proving that they have children who are citizens and/or provide proof of property ownership and then give them expedited processing.

    I just think that the basic conservative message appeals to a vast majority of the public – if you get the message out and you live up to the message.

  14. grumpyguy says:

    I’m going to disagree with you on your view on illegal immigration.

    In your own post, you say conservatives wanted to round up “IMMIGRANTS” and deport them.

    Let’s get this straight. Illegal aliens. They broke our laws (and yes, it actually is a crime to enter the United States illegally) and quite frankly, I don’t think giving citizenship to those whose first act in entering this country was to commit a crime is a great idea, in fact, it is national suicide.

    I know, harsh, so be it. The whole concept of nation and borders tends to make me that way.

    Now, did the right’s opposition to unfettered illegal immigration cost us support in the Hispanic community, probably some, but there are other issues that conservatives have in common with Hispanics that we failed to capitalize on.

    Moderate conservatives do not, no, they cannot express conservative ideas that are proven winners:

    – Hispanics are socially conservative, moderate Republicans failed to capitalize on that.
    -Hispanics have a reputation of hard work. Moderate Republicans couldn’t convey the connection between individual rights, limited government, and personal success if they tried. We are the party of success.
    -Hispanics are the victims of poor schooling. Yet moderates can’t stand the idea of school vouchers and wouldn’t promote them if a gun was held to their head.
    -Hispanics know that big government is bad, yet our moderates racked up trillions in debt, promoted cap and trade, wouldn’t stand up to illegal immigration despite that fact that it is the party of national security….

    Why would any logical voter vote for a party that can’t articulate its values and does the exact opposite of what it stands for?

    It wasn’t the right’s opposition to amnesty that alienated the Hispanics, it was the fact that our leadership stood for nothing and when it did act, it acted like Democrat Lites.

    Why buy an pale imitation when you can get the real thing?

    God, country and a family isn’t a vice, it is what made Republicans successful for a time.

    Pandering, triangulating, and sticking our collective finger in the air has been our undoing. And McCain-Kennedy was pandering, triangulating, and sticking our finger in the air at its worse.

  15. Redteam says:

    AJ , I’ll concede you are likely an exception, I’m speaking generally of all the purported independents that I know personally. Most of them are ‘independent’ because they don’t know the difference in Dems and Repubs and usually don’t know who the candidates are and which ticket they are on. When it gets close to an election and they start seeing signs everywhere and people actually start talking about the election, then they pick up on what they’re hearing the most and go with the majority.
    These are mostly the same people that couldn’t name the pres or vice president if you bet them a hundred dollars. In my opinion, they shouldn’t even be voting unless they get informed enough to at least name the candidates. (but they are entitled)
    My daughter was until recently registered as independent until she came to the realization that the candidates she usually wanted to vote for got voted out in the primary, when she couldn’t even vote. So she is now registered by party so she can vote in primaries.

    Want to speculate on Gitmo? they’ll bring them to the US, but not to Chicago. Somebody is going to be faced with the reality that if they are released, it will be in the USA and will probably get legal status as ‘freed’ (read innocent) terrorists.

  16. Terrye says:

    The problem some on the right had with illegal immigration was their rhetoric. They assumed that everyone would agree with them that illegal immigration was a bad thing and so that made it okay to be as strident as they liked. Not so, the only thing they accomplished was to alienate an entire demographic and hand the White House to the man most likely to grant blanket amnesty.

    That was a mistake. Conservatives need to find a way to articulate their message without running people off.

    I don’t blame McCain for the loss of the election. It is my opinion that once the financial meltdown took place the election was lost.

    And people blamed it on free markets, capitalism. All that. People need to feel that conservatism offers them a chance to a better future and right now they just think conservatism is about the rich getting richer.

    Not good.

    And there has been to much emphasis on social issues. Most people do not want government involved in every facet of their lives, especially their personal lives. And they find the whole creationism thing to be cult like.

  17. The Macker says:

    Agree that abortion is best handled at the state level. And the Feds should not be funding abortion or ESCR anyplace.

    I accept biological evolution but am tired of hearing the creationists bashed and discriminated against.

  18. Frogg says:

    Zogby Post-Election Poll Reveals No Mandate for Illegal Alien Amnesty

    WASHINGTON, Nov 10, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ — A nationwide survey of actual voters reveals that Americans strongly support immigration enforcement, and that less than one-third of Obama voters favor granting amnesty to illegal aliens. The poll conducted by Zogby International on behalf of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) on November 5 and 6 also found that a decisive majority of voters believe that an illegal alien amnesty would “further harm the interests of struggling American workers.” Among the key findings of the poll are:

    Only 32% of Obama voters considered his support for amnesty as a factor in their decisions to vote for him. 67% said it was either not a factor at all, or they voted for Obama in spite of his stance on amnesty.

    60% of voters said reducing illegal immigration and cracking down on employers who hire them is important to them, while only 21% supported “legalizing or creating a pathway to citizenship” for illegal aliens.

    57% of voters stated that amnesty would harm American workers and further strain public resources, while only 26% believe amnesty would aid economic recovery and ease public burdens.

  19. dave m says:

    Saddam made “mother of all ….” a phrase that will live on into history

    Blazing Saddles contributed this:


  20. Frogg says:

    This is interesting:

    Republicans Pull within Two on Generic Congressional Ballot

    Tuesday, November 11, 2008

    Following an historic election in which Democrats won the White House and increased their control of Congress, voters appear to be adopting a wait-and-see attitude on granting ongoing control to the victorious party.

    The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that, if given the choice, 43% of voters would choose their district’s Democratic candidate, while 41% would choose the Republican candidate. That’s the first post-election edition of the generic Congressional ballot and it’s the most competitive the Republicans have been in a couple of years. In the week leading up to Election Day, the Democrats held a six point advantage.