Should Conservatives Jump Ship
I want to comment on this. You know the story. It’s the Washington Times piece that quotes folks like Richard Viguerie saying, ” “I’m hearing a lot of anger. . . .I’m beginning, for the first time, [to hear] people talk about ‘it would not be the worst thing in the world if Howard Dean were president,’ because the size of government would stay still rather than increase 50 percent under a second Bush administration.”
First, full disclosure: while I don’t know Viguerie, I know people who have worked and do work for him and I have used his direct mail company for clients with whom I’ve done political consulting. He and his company are committed to the cause.
Okay, back my thoughts. We know that there are two viable parties in this country. Sure, in the woulda/shoulda/coulda world the Green Party and Libertarian Party would be viable alternatives. But, in the real world, they are causes for true believers who would rather waste votes on principle than align themselves with the viable candidate closest to their views.
Conservatives have, for the longest time, stood atop history yelling “Stop!” Thank William F. Buckley for the statement and the thought. Conservatives have increasingly aligned themselves with Republicans and have blurred the lines. They’ve gotten comfortable and less and less are still yelling stop. I consider myself a conservative before I consider myself a Republican, but there is no alternative to the Republicans for me. That is part of the problem. The Republican establishment thinks it can use conservatives like, though not nearly to the extent, Democrats think they can use blacks.
Now we have a President who is a Republican and claims to be a “compassionate conservative,” which means he feels everyone’s pain, but not to the same extent as Bill Clinton. It also means he shows his compassion with quivering lip and money — our money.
John Boener, the Congressman, says Republicans have realized that people rely on government and, with Republicans now running things, they can’t turn off the tap. He says it is now conservative to slow growth, but not stop or reverse growth. The fact is, they aren’t slowing shit.
So this all leads me to the question of should conservatives abandon the S.S. GOP?
I say no. Despite my dissatisfaction with the Republican party, conservatives have no viable alternative. Viguerie is living in a dream world if he thinks Dean will keep the growth of government static. If Bush is expanding at 50% in Viguerie’s world, Dean will expand it at 150%. Bush is not evil, but I’ll use the lesser of two evils statement to say it is better to go with Bush than with Dean. Conservatives should not throw in the towel.
In fact, I think Conservatives should make an effort to enter conservatives into primaries against incumbent Republicans like the Club For Growth is helping Pat Toomey do in Pennsylvania. The Republican establishment needs to remember that its base is conservative.
The problem with the GOP is not that it is not conservative. At its essence, I think it is. The problem is that its leadership lacks spine. Whenever a Democrat says a Republican is cutting, the Republican responds by increasing 200%. Conservatives got complacent because they took control of Congress in 1994 and then their man captured the White House. After that, Conservatives thought things would be okay and they could live off their dividend check. Republicans thought they could do anything and rely on conservatives. Conservatives didn’t wake up until it was too late, then got silent again after 9/11.
The elite conservatives in Washington, like Viguerie, are starting to rumble. It has not filtered down to the grassroots. Bush is a loyal guy who gets loyalty in return. He has given the conservatives enough social red meat. He now needs to deliver on the fiscal red meat. Rumors are circulating that he will in the State of the Union address.
In the meantime, Conservatives should not sit this election out. They should get active and vocal. They should reinsert themselves vocally into the debate and not be persuaded by pork. If they are, conservatives should run in primaries. Let’s not move to another party. Let’s take back our party.