While I’m unwilling to concede just yet that Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States, it would be foolish to deny that possibility. Even if John McCain wins, the status of Conservatism in the GOP and politics generally is troubling at best.
Politicians and The People, with few exceptions, seem determined to abandon sound, proven truths for the warm, fuzzy rhetoric of the Economic and Social policies of “Hope!” and “Change!” It’s difficult to blame The People. They gave the GOP a shot at letting Conservative ideology work it’s magic on the country for years. Turns out the Pols weren’t as Conservative as advertised.
The years after the Reagan era are defined by a GOP wanting more to breed and less to lead. GOP strategy was “What must we do to increase our power and get re-elected?” instead of “What must we do to serve the people and earn our re-election?”
The nominations of Bob Dole, W and now John McCain coupled with the strategy of many GOP House and Senate candidates has reinforced that approach. A notable exception, AZ Representative John Shadegg, says even at the height of 1994’s Republican Revolution the GOP’s advice was his most important job wasn’t to represent his district or promote his constituents’ values; it was to get re-elected.
This approach has tainted Conservatism in the minds of the people. It has become identical to, or at least wed to the GOP. Thus the sins of the Party become the sins of the Principled. Even if Conservatives object, pointing out they never countenanced bad behavior by the GOP (The Bailout, No Child Left Behind, Medicare Reform) The People still see them as part of the problem and not the solution. How else to understand what happened to Rick Santorum, George Allen and others?
Such losses make the Democrats’ job easier. Each defeated Conservative frees up time, energy and money to defeat those remaining. Squishy GOP members voted with Democrats enough to permit them to establish portions of their agenda and to regain solid Congressional majorities. Two things will follow: those who believe the Left can be reasoned with and appeased will be rudely awakened and the country will suffer. To date, only the second is happening.
GOP snubbing of Conservatives has produced much soul searching. The choices are stay in the GOP and work internally for change or leave to found or join a third party. I’m not advocating either choice. But enabling the status quo is not an option. We each must decide what the best use is of our time and talents. To decide, regardless of who wins the White House, a few things should be influential.
Christopher Arledge at Red County has written ‘The End of American Conservatism?’ and at The Minority Report, Civil Truth has penned ‘A Time for Choosing: Even Truer 44 Years Later’. They are as good a starting place as any for Conservatives asking where they go from here. I commend them to you. If you find, or if you have written, posts with similar themes, let me know and I’ll aggregate them here as a resource.
It is impossible to predict the consequences of next week’s election. It is, however, quite possible to predict what will happen if Conservatives do nothing. Surrender and chains being unacceptable options, regrouping and fighting on will have to do for now …