Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Conservatism Without "Cliques"

Crossposted at Rebuild The Party.

We need to be conservative Republicans, not segregating ourselves into little High-School type cliques. We have the winning strategy for elections & governance:

  • Strong National Defense

  • Fiscal Responsibility

  • Limited Government

  • Conservative Social Values

  • Standing alone, these are winning issues. Together, they are almost invincible. We have the watershed victories of 1980 & 1994 as evidence of what happens when Republicans run as total conservatives, expousing all conservative principles in bold, unafraid colors. We also have the negative watershed elections of 2006 & 2008 which show that Republicans lose when the party does not hold fast to all planks in the conservative Republican platform. Far too many of our elected leaders abandoned fiscal responsibility - they spent money & acted exactly as the Democrats they replaced. They grew government outside of what was needed for national security. Because of that they lost control of congress & the White House.

    IMHO, absolutely nothing in the conservative Republican platform needs to be watered down. This country is not Puritanical, however it's not left of center by any stretch. Economic & national security issues must be in the forefront, especially given they are the major concerns of the day. Conservative social values undergird everything else. We cannot legislate morality, however we can stand for what is right. Voters usually like those who stand for what is right.

    Concluding, we must communicate respectfully, politely, but also firmly with our elected leaders the critical need to reclaim fiscal responsibility & limited government conservatism without watering down or fading the colors of any other part of the conservative Republican platform. We win as a party of all bold colors.


    N.S. Allen said...

    Here's what baffles me about this theory.

    Suppose, for a moment, that McCain definitely is or ran as what a lot of conservatives say he is or ran as - that is, a fake conservative, either weakening the pitch of the conservative plans that he had or proposing plans that weren't fully conservative. Suppose, furthermore, that conservative ideals are, as you say, a winning, political combination in the U.S. Presumably, this is because the electorate, as a whole, is not "left of center," that it prefers conservative policies to liberal ones.

    Now, I think we'd agree that, on most issues, Obama's no conservative. And we'd further agree that he certainly didn't run as one. Moreover, whether McCain was conservative-lite or liberal-lite or whatever else, he was certainly to the right of Obama on most issues.

    So. America's conservative. McCain is more conservative than Obama. Yet, America elects Obama over McCain.

    That doesn't make much sense, unless America has seriously wacky priorities. It seems a bit crazy to say that innately conservative Americans will vote for a staunch conservative over a staunch liberal but vote for the liberal over a moderate conservative.

    So, it seems to me that, under this model, either Americans vote without a clear ideological preference or America must be dead center or left of center.

    (Also, it seems a bit foolhardy to call one presidential election and one midterm election convincing evidence of anything in American politics.)

    Whitehorse said...

    N. S., thanks for visiting & commenting. Obama ran a very nebulous campaign, going here & there depending on the audience. What can't be left out is that Obama won the tax cut argument - the thing people remember is 95% of people are supposed to get a tax cut. McCain could not run on a very conservative platform regarding fiscal responsibility & limited government, because he had been behind so much that was not.

    I think that the "swing" voter wants a clear differentiation on the major issues of the day. Nothing was more major than the economy & the bailout. The only differentiation for McCain was negative - he was a voice for it while Obama was a vote in the back.

    Anonymous said...

    McCain’s loss was primarily due to the fact that he inherited the wind of Bush, which was more flatulence than substance. The Rove strategy of perpetuating the divide and conquer culture war that Lee Atwater executed brilliantly and that the Nixon campaigns originated has after 40 long years become an old, predictable playbook that didn’t find a strong audience outside of the South or among people under 50. King George’s tiresome war and collapsing economy didn't serve McCain well either.

    Was Bush really a conservative?

    On Strong National Defense...
    A president who lies to the nation to drag us into an opportunistic war of choice in Iraq while ignoring the war of necessity in Afghanistan does not make us stronger or more secure as a nation on national defense, quite the contrary.

    On Fiscal Responsibility...
    A president who has worked tirelessly to rival the government spending of LBJ while borrowing from China to pay our debts and cutting the tax base that would have supported his spending spree is NOT fiscally responsible.

    On Limited Government...
    A president who endeavors to expand the executive powers, police powers and federal powers in a manner not seen since FDR does not evidence by any true measure a sincere belief in limited government.

    On Conservative Social Values...
    Targeting gays and lesbians to stir up hysteria and division in the electorate is not an honest testament of good social values, conservative or otherwise. It may work for a season or two for the temporary shock value, but in the end it only serves to reveal the desperation of those who lack a real plan, character and substance. As the baby boomers age and decline in power this strategy of dividing the nation against itself in a perpetual culture war will continue to decline in success. While so-called conservatives can recite a worn-out list of people who aren’t like “us,” most Americans under 40 are tired of being played for idiots and fools in a familiar segregation game that seeks to divide us against ourselves and against our own best interests. If you want to play that tired, old game, you lose.

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