Dec 21 2008

True Conservatism Is Truly Losing It, And The Nation

The ‘true conservatives’ have not only lost the Congress in 2006, and the Presidency in 2008, they are on a path to losing it all the way. They look at the loss of moderate McCain to (what now seems to be moderate) Obama and make the ridiculous claim that those evil moderates cannot win (while the true conservatives sat home in a snit). It is an interesting case of delusional denial, to blame moderates when a strong conservative couldn’t even make it through the  primaries.

The near-rabid conservatives who I could once tolerate in common cause for some greater goods (pro-life, strong defense, limited government, personal responsibility, the shining city on the hill) have become so bitter and arrogant that I find it embarrassing to even be associated with these folks. If it were not for the common goods mentioned above, which are polar opposites to the liberal left’s directions, I would not be standing anywhere near the banners of Hannity, Levin, Crowley, etc. I keep thinking they will return to sanity, but so far after so many losses I don’t see any sign of it.

But why stop with a string of losses? Why not do what Governor Huckabee did on talk radio last week and refer to those moderate conservatives as ‘mushy’? Why not continue to insult the only potential voting block that would form a governing conservative alliance? Why not go from a string losses to total oblivion!

I am not alone. I support other strong conservatives like myself who are not moderate or mushy, but simply not part of the ‘extreme’ conservatism that has been failing the conservative movement for years now. I count in that group President George Bush and Sarah Palin, who fight hard to move the country a step at a time to the right.

By contrast extremists are the ones without the patience to build stepwise consensus. They are the ‘all or nothing’ crowd – which always walks away with nothing! In the end the measurement 0f success is what is produced or achieved. The extremists have produced nothing (from 2004-2006). But ‘nothing’ is not the worst result, they have also actually achieved a long string of defeats. By this measure the ‘true conservatives’ are the ones racking up the losses (and blaming the only voters who could turn it around!).

Michael Steele, another strong conservative outside the ‘extreme’ conservative cabal, addressed this situation recently:

Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (R) said Monday that conservatives need to “wake up” and realize they need moderate Republicans to help rebuild the party. 

“Wake up people. I mean what are you going to do? Are you going to kick these folks out of the party? I have watched this party self-disintegrate for the last four or five years. I’ve watched this party isolate itself from itself.” 

“We have to elect moderates in the party,” he added. 

Not only elect them, but stand by them. The GOP should have stood by George Bush, so that when it was time to select a successor the electorate would have still been proud of Bush and rallied around his cause. But the four years of Bush bashing by the extreme right gave the nation a green light to dump Bush and all like him. That is how we got President-elect Obama. It is ironic that the core of Bush’s remaining base is dead center – far from the extremes of left and right who demand ‘all or nothing’ from their opposing fringes.

For weeks now all I have heard is mindless babble from the ‘true conservatives’. For example:

  1. Who the hell cares that Obama’s middle name is “Hussein”? His father, who named him, was a Muslim and so it seems a bit obvious how the name thing happened. But no one is responsible for their name, given to them by their parents. Obama has shown a clear life history of being able to exist in the Muslim community, yet he remains tied to Christianity (in the case of Rev Wright a clearly somewhat bizarre version of christianity). This babble reminds me of the nativist bigotry of the Dubai Ports deal, where an allied nation was investing in our industry and our security. A nation that hosts one of the largest US Naval ports in the world. ‘Ay-rabs’ was all the simple minded could see. It was one of this nation’s lowest moments in history. Unless someone has something solid that links Obama to Osama, obsessing about the man’s middle name is simply childish.
  2. Forget about Obama’s Birth certificate. It a dumb diversion from real serious topics like Embryonic Stem Cell research. No one is going to be considered a national political player if they babble in tongues of the irrelevant.
  3. Stop crying “liberal wolf!” until Obama shows some extreme liberal positions. If he is smart he will do what Bush and Reagan did, he will move the country left through consensus built steps. He will make each step tolerable and acceptable, thus making those screaming ‘the end of the world is nigh’ look the fools. Obama is left of center. We don’t know how far left yet, but until he shows something concrete all the barbs sent his way actually are being taken in by his supporters – hardening their support for THEIR choice – who they see is suffering from unfair attacks from extreme zealots (that is how Obama voters view the conservative movement they dumped over the last 2 election cycles).

The problem is that the majority of the country gave Obama the nod, and those mired in irrelevant fantasies and open bigotry (not to mention animosity) are seen as ever more extreme. Unwilling to ‘come together’. Not coming together after an election or a national crisis is not seen as patriotic.

The fact is the ‘true conservatives’ are out of ideas and exist only in full-pout frustration at having muffed their opportunities to lead and succeed:

In a frank and private memo sent today to Republican National Commitee members, the RNC chairman acknowledges that the GOP has grown too addicted to ideology, places politics before policy, and is bereft of ideas — and that it’s imperative that the party shift towards a genuine effort to develop concrete policy solutions to people’s problems in order to rescue itself.

“Republicans have grown accustomed to having our party recognized as the `Party of Ideas,’ but we must acknowledge that many Americans today believe the party is stale and does not deserve that label,” reads one of the memo’s starker assessments, adding that “we have not used our principles to provide solutions to the kitchen table concerns of middle-class America.”

I am a very strong conservative who is within a few moderating steps on the part of the Democrats from just dumping the GOP to the extremists.

I am pro-life. The idea of factories of embryos so we can tear their young ‘bodies’ apart to grab some stem cells and make spare parts for the rich is just grotesque to me. I can accept the decisions of mothers (and fathers) that have to deal with their children and their families. I can accept it ecause it is an individual decision (many times a very hard one and not so cut and dry as many make out).

I don’t like abortion and support education and options to avoid it, but individual decisions on one life is nothing compared to factories of young humans being slaughtered by corporations out to make profits. Yet the Embryonic Stem Cell ban Bush put in place is seen as a lesser achievement than banning the decision of mother’s to decide the fate of their children? How upside down is that! To some I am the devil incarnate.

I am for a strong defense and for winning the war against Islamo Fascist extremists on all fronts. I backed Bush on Iraq, McCain on Iraq, Petraeuse, etc. But I am sickened that the fight against Islamist terrorists has turned into a bigoted attack on Muslims in general. Dubai Ports and the “Hussein” crap are below the stature of the “shining city on the hill”. We can embrace peace loving people of all races, religions and cultures. And as we have seen in Iraq most peace loving Muslims simple need a powerful ally to fend off the cancer of the Islamo Fascists like al Qaeda. But we are Quislings and traitors for not being biased against all Muslims – and so the shining city on the hill turned into Abu Grhaib.

And I am really appalled when extremists try and connect long term illegal aliens here in this country to 9-11. Only a simpleton could miss the obvious distinctions. Yes, our wave of illegal immigrants is great cover for our enemies. But not all (or even most) illegal immigrants are terrorists. Since the extreme right tanked the only chances for consensus steps to tighter control of our borders I find their whining about the current situation ridiculous. We need to handle our immigrants, dump the violent ones back where they belong and make sure we can detect any terrorists trying to sneak through our processes. This doesn’t make me moderate or mushy. It means there are limits to what I will support in any legislation. I will not let the shining city on the hill become a gaited community of nativists. And neither will this nation.

We don’t need to be making bigoted jokes about hispanics and immigrants. This is a nation of immigrants who all have stories of crass arrogance from the earlier arrivals. Stories of how their religion or culture or race was unfairly denigrated and the alienation they felt. This nation has exposed the ugly side of America at each wave of new arrivals. No one is going to win allies bringing that ugly specter back into vogue.

I am all for lower taxes and focused, minimal government. I also saw the huge financial and personal benefit to adding a prescription benefit to our national health care safety-net programs. It lowered costs and gave people a better quality of life and was built on private sector competition. Contrary to the wailing from the right there never was any consensus to delete these national safety-net programs. Making them better was the only viable path. There was never going to be a plan to make them smaller or disappear. That is all delusional fantasy that really is just silly. We could make Medicare/Medicaid better, we were never going to eliminate tehm.

I could go on and on. Bush pushed the nation’s courts back to the center with a host of new judges and justices. The far right still moans it was all wrong. The far right still marks the destruction of a moderate USSC selection (Harriet Miers) as a victory instead of the first step towards the end of the governing conservative coalition. Without avenues to leadership positions the less extreme members of the coalition have no reason to be in the coalition. It’s got to be win-win or lose-lose. No one side gets all the wins. 

If the ‘true conservatives’ are truly waiting for the left to screw up more than they are now they will be in for a long, long, long, wait. With them as the example of how not to govern. why would anyone not learn from their endless mistakes and do better to bridge differences and build alliances? The extreme right is opposed to moderation and alliances. They have ceded the country to any and all alliances which can garner larger numbers than the 20% or so which makes up the ‘true conservative’ pool. 

I don’t see how, out of 80% of the population, you could not spend decades building consensus steps that look miles better than the ‘all or nothing’ positions of the extreme right.

12 responses so far

12 Responses to “True Conservatism Is Truly Losing It, And The Nation”

  1. Terrye says:

    I saw a headline the other day that said Gallup reports that 72% of conservative Republicans support Bush. Of course the pundits are not part of that 72%. No, they hate everyone.

    Huckabee can call people mushy, but the right hates him too. A lot of them don’t like Palin either. They do not like anyone.

    For years I have been listening to these guys say that the majority of Americans agree with them on policy. On everything from immigration to energy to helping American Auto workers, they swear they are in the majority. But if that is so, why are they losing elections to Democrats? It is not as if the Democrats are more conservative.

    For instance, they say most Americans don’t like bailouts. Well of course they don’t. But they dislike poverty and unemployment even more. So while people say one thing, they vote for the Democrat.

    Meanwhile the right is too abrasive. They are not only indifferent to the job losses, too many of them seem absolutely eager to see the collapse come. As if they thought it would help them or bring people back to gives me the willies.

  2. Terrye says:

    I will mention something here I noted elsewhere. I was reading Instapundit and there was Reynolds saying the GOP had to stand against big government etc. and it dawned on me, the man has tenure. He is a professor. The state provides him with a job it would be very difficult to fire him from as well as a state supported pension. The federal government provides students with financial aide so that they can afford to pay for the ever increasing rates of tuition. {Although enrollment is beginning to decline}. This professor, a libertarian is lecturing the rest of us on being independent from government. Way too many conservatives and libertarians are like this. They just have no idea what life is like for a majority of working people. That is a divide that will kill the party.

  3. Mike M. says:

    AJ, I’ll agree with you, but only in part.

    Conservatism is in danger of developing its own version of the Lunatic Left, and that will do us no good.

    But they aren’t the problem. The real problems run deeper.

    The Republican Party has a long, sordid history of betraying its allies in an attempt to curry favor with its enemies. Of trying to play a short-term tactical game…at the expense of long-term strategic strength. And it’s bit them. Too many people look at the parties and see no real difference. Because right now, there IS none.

    From my perspective, the Republican Party needs to sit down and recognize that when a party gives its word, it MUST be kept. And anyone trying to sell the base down the river needs to see the door – instantly. THEN the Republicans can strike at the numerous weaknesses of the Dems.

  4. Redteam says:

    It’s rather hard for conservatives to vote for conservatives if there are none on the ballot.

  5. kathie says:

    I just love this story. It can be found at “Freerepublic” Merry Christmas everybody.

    Baghdad celebrates first public Christmas
    12/21/2008 11:42:47 AM PST · by ksm1 · 9 replies · 393+ views
    CNN ^ | December 21, 2008 | Jill Dougherty
    BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — From a distance, it looks like an apparition: a huge multi-colored hot-air balloon floating in the Baghdad sky, bearing a large poster of Jesus Christ. Below it, an Iraqi flag. Santa and his helpers stand under palm trees at Baghdad’s first public Christmas festival. Santa and his helpers stand under palm trees at Baghdad’s first public Christmas festival.

  6. AJStrata says:


    Yeah, well it is hard to find a winning conservative in any race when all conservatives do is blame everyone else for their self inflicted wounds.

    How is it out there in oblivion? Pure and impotent?

  7. crosspatch says:

    One thing we need to do is shift the focus AWAY from social/cultural issues and get the focus back on “role of government” issues. Reagan got to office by promising to “get government off the backs of the people” and unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit in which Americans excel. He wasn’t elected to office on a platform of abortion, gay rights, and medical research.

    When you pick issues that are fundamental issues of people’s belief systems, you can no longer hold any constructive debate. One’s position on the question of abortion, for example, are probably rooted in one’s faith. Arguments of logic have no place in questions of faith because faith should be unwavering. In defining issues that are founded on people’s faith, there can be no compromise and it becomes “all or nothing”. We need to set those issues aside as political points of debate because, frankly, they can not be debated. Elections to political office should not be mechanisms to convert people to different belief systems.

    We need to get back to political issues in politics and leave the social issues to the coffee shop. The media fosters this division of belief by focusing on social questions as soon as they interview a candidate. They want to know what their stand on abortion, gay rights, and stem cell research is. Someone needs to have the backbone to say “none of your damned business, what does that have to do with running an economy and defending a nation”.

    We all walk our own personal walk. Lets get back to governing and have a little less evangelizing in politics, please.

  8. Mike M. says:

    Crosspatch has a good point. Personal liberty lays well in Peoria.

    (Although AJ has done an outstanding job presenting the purely rational pro-life argument)

    I’ll add that reform will also go over well. But it has to be real, and bold.

  9. Terrye says:

    I think people have lost faith in conservatives speaking to their needs. Here in Indiana, where Obama to my shock and surprise actually won…people are worried about small towns dying and jobs being lost. They are worried about American in decline. They do not want to hear about a lot of that other stuff. For instance, these rural people stuck with conservatives in spite of the fact that the farm crisis destroyed thousands of small towns and businesses. However, when it comes down to it, they fear that Republicans simply do not care about them anymore. That is the problem. Raving about who is and is not a real true conservative when people are scared about their future just seems immaterial to these people.

  10. WWS says:

    conservative, liberal – it doesn’t matter anymore. We’re headed into a 10 year (if not a 25 year) depression which will, by the end, cause the destruction of faith and hope in everyone and everything. It’s too late for that to be avoided. People have lost all faith in republicans – as the country goes down the tubes, they will lose all faith in democrats. What, who will come next?

    Bernie Madoff should be the Man of the Year. He epitomizes perfectly what America has become.

  11. OLDPUPPYMAX says:

    It seems to me that I have heard the argument that moderates must be courted for the good of the (republican) party before. Oh yes, that’s right. It was advanced by the McCain/Graham/Hegel crowd. Conservatives, it seems, were far too opinionated…too convinced that the left was wrong. They were unable to “cross the aisle” which, as everybody knows, is the only way to gain the admiration of that highly sought-after bloc of voters known as the undecideds. You know, the ones who still haven’t figured who to vote for by the morning of the election. Just too intellectual, too thoughtful. Not mushy. Well I think I’ll remain a conservative. An actual conservative. Moderates are welcome to join me if they wish. But I’m sure as hell not going to invite illegal aliens into the nation in order to entice them to do so.

  12. rubicon220 says:

    Islamo Fascist extremists. That’s quite a pc mouthful ain’t it?
    The author doesn’t mention the obvious connection between Islamic jurisprudence/tradition with terrorism.
    Perhaps he should read some hadith. Perhaps he should read Stephen Coughlin. Perhaps he should check out the Muslim Brotherhood or read some history regarding Islam before he starts blubbering about his city on the hill turning into Abu Grhaib.
    The author is outraged that “the extreme right tanked the only chances for consensus steps to tighter control of our borders”
    Really? But the Secure Fence Act of 06, a result of right wing activism, was a consensus step to tighter border control wasn’t it? Further, The “extreme” right isn’t impeding the construction of that fence, the Republicans are.
    I could go on, but why bother.
    The author is a walking sandwich board for political correctness who confuses his slavish support of the Republican party with conservatism.
    That said, is being tolerated or not by this author and his ilk of any consequence what so ever?
    Didn’t think so.