‘True’ Conservatism

A small portrait of the translator

November 17, 2008 @ 1:19 UTC

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Countries:
none
Candidates:
Barack Obama, John McCain
Issues:
Government & Politics
 

Conservative blogger A.J. Strata wrote a post today for which he is poised to take a lot of heat.

In the post, Strata takes aim at all those who argue that the Republican Party will have to become more ‘conservative,’ that they lost because they were not ‘conservative’ enough, and who have done their best in recent years to alienate moderate Republicans and Independents who then logically turned on the GOP this year and voted for president-elect Barack Obama instead of for Sen. John McCain.

Strata:

The problem with the conservative movement is it repulses more people than it attracts. This is one of many cases where they became too ugly to bear. Look at what a ‘true’ conservative stands for:

Somehow removing all illegal aliens from the country and putting up massive barriers along our borders. Conveys a nice, warm and friendly view of that city on the Hill? More like a gated community of snobs who cannot be bothered by ‘the masses’.

Opposition to giving senior citizens in poverty or on the edge of poverty a prescription drug benefit through Medicare/Medicaid, a program that reduces the cost of these programs because it removes the need to go to emergency rooms for basic medications. Those mean old Scrooges on the right where will to keep medicine from the sick and poor! Where is the shining city on the hill in this?

Opposition to education reform and desire to pull their kids out of the public school system. I think it is OK to want better than public school system can provide for kids (we all do). But to also oppose corrective action on those public schools is a step too far. It again looks like those with money are trying to dump those struggling and run to their enclaves. We are a community which does need to fix problems, not hide in gated communities and private schools.

Bush did not want the war against al-Qaeda to be a war against Muslims or Arabs, but then the ‘true’ right when on a purely religious and race based attack against a company from a moderate allied Arab-Muslim nation that was buying into some of our port operations here in the US. Even worse than the racist and religious bigotry behind the panic was the fact those screaming ‘fire’ were not listening to what was in the deal for national security. The deal included the Arab company paying for and installing Cargo sensor systems in all their international ports that would be feeding products into our port. It was a disaster for the GOP and conservatism.

The ‘true’ conservatives still moan on and on about the statesman focused process McCain and Lieberman and 12 other Senators used to avoid constitutional showdowns with Bush’s judicial appointees. A very small number of appointees were not able to get on the bench, but conversely there was no repeat of the Bork or Thomas fiascos. Anyone still holding a grudge against the Gang of 14 is out of sync with America. We don’ want FL 2000 like confrontations. We don’t want to see people Borked. I sometimes feel the ‘true’ conservatives are simply jealous about the moderates who pulled off a solution that avoided endless litigation

Harriet Miers was the poster child for moderates and ex-democrats to leave the party. She was inside Bush’s inner circle and someone who knew very well. She was an ex-democrat - like Reagan and many other leaders of the GOP in the 80’s and 90’s until the purity wars erupted. Harriet Miers illustrated how a few extreme (and in the case of David Frum vengeance driven) conservatives would tear down the impure moderates if they tried to attain leadership or positions of power. It was the universal signal to RINOS and Quislings the GOP umbrella was shrinking and only the pure need apply.

After all this (and more) if anyone is confused about the shrinking GOP brand they are just not paying attention.

One has to agree and disagree with Strata, I’d say. When conservative Republicans argue that one of the main reasons for the Republican Party’s unpopularity these days is, for instance, the massive U.S. debt and the lack of responsible spending during the Bush administration, they are quite simply right. If Bush and the Republican Congress - which was controlled by Republicans for years, Democrats took over only two years ago - would have spent tax payers money wisely and responsibly, chances are that Democrats would not have taken over in 2006, and would not have gained the majorities they will have in 2009 either.

On the other hand, Strata is correct when he criticizes ‘true’ conservatives for refusing to allow Bush, McCain and the Democrats to reach a compromise plan for immigration and other key issues. They could have dealt with this problem in a realistic manner, which would have enabled future administrations to deal even more effectively with it. But no, the proposed bill was not ‘pure’ or ‘anti-illegal immigration’ enough for the conservative base and was shut down.

There are other issues too. Far-right bloggers who have turned the war on terrorism into a war on Islam are making the problem worse rather than better. It is perfectly alright, even necessary, for people to investigate what role religion plays in terrorism and in extremism in general. But many ‘true’ conservatives in America have turned on Islam as a whole; Islam itself is inherently wrong, evil and violent, these individuals say. It became even so bad that Muslim and terrorist have become synonyms in some circles.

This rhetoric puts off potential allies, Muslim allies, Western allies, and moderate voters who have something called common sense and who may have done some research of their own and have come to understand that in order to defend terrorism or violence against civilians in general in Islam, one truly has to distort what the Koran says and ignore large parts of it.

And health care is also an issue of major concern: little has been done in recent years in order to help Americans get an insurance and / or to pay for it. Health care is becoming increasingly expensive. The problem has increased rather than decreased in recent years. But when people try to reform health care, they immediately run into problems with the ‘true’ conservative base, who accuse virtually every proponent of health care reform - which is demanded by voters - of being ’socialist.’ The result: Democrats will be the ones able to pursue health care reform because they are the only ones willing to give voters what they demand. Democrats’ health care reform is likely to be more expensive than absolutely necessary, and it may be that they will pursue too radical plans, which may hurt America’s ability to innovate in this area. Republicans should pick up on this and cooperate with Democrats in order to push through health care reform that will insure more people, push the costs of health care down but that would not damage America’s ability to innovate and compete nonetheless.

Strata is wrong… and right. Conservative should pay attention.

©2008 PoliGazette. All Rights Reserved.

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