Friday, May 01, 2009

Republican Party - Conservatives - Moderates- Who needs 'em

Rick Moran at Right Wing Nut House has a very interesting post about the future of the GOP and the importance of moderates and conservatives therein.....
Some excerpts:

What’s wrong with conservatism?

Philosphically, absolutely nothing. There is a family argument going on at the moment where some question how conservative principles can be translated into a set of issues and policies that would lead to actual conservative governance but beyond that, everything is just peachy, right?

Sarcasm aside, the question for the day is can political moderates be conservative too? Can you believe in conservative “First Principles” and believe in less ideological, realistic conservative governance at the same time?

...looking at the larger picture, conservatives should be asking themselves some hard questions about the future. The outpouring of “good riddance” wishes to Specter on the right included calls for other GOP moderates to join him. This “urge to purge” seems to be the fate of losing sides in elections as liberal activists made the same calls for ideological cleansing for two decades. The result: An electoral map that glowed in the dark it was so red. Not so today, of course, And while blame can be laid at the feet of Republicans more interested in their jobs than in advancing conservative governance, an equal amount of credit must go to the Democrats who put up more moderate, less ideological candidates...

In response to the section I emphasized about the Dems putting up more moderate candidates, another word for those candidates would be ........more Conservative.

Below is the comment I posted at his site. In my humble, unbiased opinion, it needed a home here. Go see the great article that prompted it.....

The GOP is in trouble. Self identified “conservatives” want to purge the “moderates.” The moderates, aka the GOP “elite” or the “stuck up crowd around George Will…” etc, depending upon who is commenting, want to purge the conservatives. All parts of the GOP are attacking each other to the benefit of the Democratic party.

All this talk of purging each other is a false premise. Snowe, etc, will not be purged. No one can be forced out. But, she and the other liberal Republicans have to accept that they are unpopular with the GOP base; the base that gets national figures elected.

On the other hand, conservatives HAVE to understand that Snowe, etc, cannot run as a staunch conservative. And I think most conservatives realize that. The conservative base has supported the GOP through numerous missteps. All that the conservatives ask is that the GOP candidates, at least, try to support the conservatives. When McCain disparaged the conservative base, and then picked Palin as running mate to pull them back in, conservatives knew why he did it. Our support of him was the hope that his win would provide Palin with “legs.” Moderates seem to delight in disparaging the conservative wing as “uneducated” and seem to be embarrassed by their religiosity. They have treated the conservative base as an embarrassment to the party since Reagan. Unlike some supporters of the Democrats, however,conservatives are showing that they don’t mind being in the wilderness. They already know that the culture is running to the liberal side due to the mainstream cultural biases put out by the media and education.

Conservatives have watched for years as actions have not suited words professed by many GOP representatives. And we are tire of it. Republicans are asking for our vote while acting as Democratic light. Where was the conservative action when the GOP was in total control? The GOP made deals with the Democrats. Why is it that it seems that only GOP members cross the aisle for “bi-partisanship?” Conservatives want to win elections. But, more importantly, we want our representatives to actually represent us. If we lose, so be it. That means that there are more liberals than conservatives voting. But there is no point in voting for a Republican that advocates the same politics as a Democrat except the Republican will only grow government more slowly.

For all the disparagement of the “uneducated” conservative base, the “Rush Limbaugh” listeners, (Glenn Beck is not a Republican. He can’t stand either party.) where is the conservative brain trust that is trying to educate the “masses?” Where are the principled voices and opposition to Obama? Buckeley is gone. Who is his replacement? Heck, his son voted for Obama. For all their talk, I see very little of the “First Principles” being espoused. Rush and Hannity are the only ones speaking to the populace of REPUBLICAN principles. Beck is the only one speaking of the Constituion and the ideas behind the Democrats. Where is the GOP’s opposition to progressive movement? When the presidential candidate is basically agreeing with the Democratic candidate, except in some details, why shouldn’t the conservatives reject him? The GOP conservatives do not seem to want to do the hard work of educating the public as to why conservatives ideals are the best choice and how those ideals will benefit the public. “Lower taxes” can only go so far. Perhaps its time to promote “more taxes” across the board at a flat rate. When 40% of the public does not pay income tax, the cry of “lower taxes” does nothing. Its time for big ideas based on First Principles.

Its understandable that those that enter politics don’t really want to reduce the size of government and thereby reduce their own power. But, since Reagan, the GOP’s platform has been that government is the problem, not the solution. And that platform has been anathema to many Republicans. They feel that they are doing good things in governmental service. And most conservatives probably feel, when pressed, that things such as Medicaid, Medicare, etc, have improved things. Safety nets are necessary. But! Where does it stop? It is the nature of government to grow and the only check we have on it seems to be the ideals of strict conservatives.

If the GOP wishes to continue to run “moderates”, so be it. If those same moderates refuse to support the conservative ideals they professed in order to be elected, don’t be surprised when the GOP as a whole loses support.

Perhaps its time for a new GOP. Perhaps its time for the GOP to get together and decide what they believe in and how they will achieve those goals. Maybe the social conservative platform will be dropped. Maybe the idea of smaller government is no longer possible to achieve. Perhaps the GOP needs to change its platform to a more libertarian outlook? Or return to the liberal “compassionate conservative” mantra that seems to have worked, oh so well….

Either way, all forms of conservatives in the GOP need to work together. None of the “flavors” of conservative in the party will get elected without the other….

However, the conservative Rush Limbaugh listeners have shown that they are willing to put their principles first, even if they can’t articulate the ideas that form them. Perhaps the rest of the party should do a better job of paying more than lip service to those principles.

Another commenter, Travis Monitor, who also has a blog, suggested that Mr. Moran and others get back to basics and supplied this link: Reagan 2020.

And here is the portion of that speech that says it best. Go read the rest and remember when conservatism had a hero.....

Can we live with ourselves if we, as a nation, betray our friends and ignore our pledged word? And, if we do, who would ever trust us again? To consider committing such an act so contrary to our deepest ideals is symptomatic of the erosion of standards and values. And this adds to our discontent.

We did not seek world leadership; it was thrust upon us. It has been our destiny almost from the first moment this land was settled. If we fail to keep our rendezvous with destiny or, as John Winthrop said in 1630, "Deal falsely with our God," we shall be made "a story and byword throughout the world."

Americans are hungry to feel once again a sense of mission and greatness.

I don 't know about you, but I am impatient with those Republicans who after the last election rushed into print saying, "We must broaden the base of our party" -- when what they meant was to fuzz up and blur even more the differences between ourselves and our opponents.

It was a feeling that there was not a sufficient difference now between the parties that kept a majority of the voters away from the polls. When have we ever advocated a closed-door policy? Who has ever been barred from participating?

Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?

Let us show that we stand for fiscal integrity and sound money and above all for an end to deficit spending, with ultimate retirement of the national debt.

Let us also include a permanent limit on the percentage of the people's earnings government can take without their consent.

Let our banner proclaim a genuine tax reform that will begin by simplifying the income tax so that workers can compute their obligation without having to employ legal help.

And let it provide indexing -- adjusting the brackets to the cost of living -- so that an increase in salary merely to keep pace with inflation does not move the taxpayer into a surtax bracket. Failure to provide this means an increase in government's share and would make the worker worse off than he was before he got the raise.

Let our banner proclaim our belief in a free market as the greatest provider for the people. Let us also call for an end to the nit-picking, the harassment and over-regulation of business and industry which restricts expansion and our ability to compete in world markets.

Let us explore ways to ward off socialism, not by increasing government’s coercive power, but by increasing participation by the people in the ownership of our industrial machine.

Our banner must recognize the responsibility of government to protect the law-abiding, holding those who commit misdeeds personally accountable.

And we must make it plain to international adventurers that our love of peace stops short of "peace at any price."

We will maintain whatever level of strength is necessary to preserve our free way of life.

A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency, or simply to swell its numbers.

I do not believe I have proposed anything that is contrary to what has been considered Republican principle. It is at the same time the very basis of conservatism. It is time to reassert that principle and raise it to full view. And if there are those who cannot subscribe to these principles, then let them go their way.

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