The President has quite a bit of authority that can be used to push a conservative agenda. Conservatism as broadly defined has three legs:
- Religious/Social conservatives
- National Security conservatives
- Economic conservatives (including the libertarian wing)
While the president does not legislate he does have broad authority that can be exercised in these areas. Let’s consider the most pressing issues in each of the three areas:
1) Gay marriage
Specifically must states recognize gay marriage, must private citizens act in a manner that connotes approval of gay marriage.
Are any restrictions allowed, if so what, and at what level?
These battles have been fought almost exclusively in the judiciary. The executive branch holds large sway over the judiciary especially through the appointment of judges and the manner in which laws are defended. Will the next executive appoint justices that uphold this stool?
1) Preventing acts of terrorism committed by Islamic militants
Specifically hunting down enemies in the middle and near east, an ability to name the opponent, and securing the border.
2) Preventing a nuclear Iran
Will the next president use his position as commander in chief to protect our citizens from our current greatest enemy? Will acts of terrorism be treated as such (rather than treated as poor responses to youtube videos)? Will terrorists be prevented from entering the US through our borders? It is difficult to imagine any president failing to repel a military invasion (minimum level of competance), but what about thwarting Islamic terrorists? Will he use all available tools to prevent Iran from nuking our allies?
1) Regulatory Burdens
The regulatory regime currently has many laws and much more interpretation of the laws, rules, and orders. This puts a great burden on all American business and makes us all felons.
ACA along with Medicare and Medicaid are removing fundamental freedom in terms of health choices. We are required to purchase healthcare, but only Washington approved healthcare.
Will the next president use his executive authority to strike down the unnecessary rules that are causing undue burdens on business? Will the next president be willing to use his veto power to reduce the intrusion of the Federal government into the healthcare sector? Will he be willing to fight with his own party and shutdown the government in order to overturn Obamacare?
Obviously there are other issues, like education, tax reform, militarization of police forces, corporate cronyism, immigration, and so on. However, these are probably the top two issues in each area. That is, if you look at people who consider themselves social conservatives, while they may be passionate about Common Core they would rather abortion be rolled back than Common Core fixed. If you consider security hawks they are probably more concerned about securing the border than operations in Afghanistan. If I am wrong, please correct me. If you consider yourself a social conservative but the most pressing issue to you is legalized marijuana speak up.
I am most strongly a social conservative. I care deeply about education, especially about how our current system most deeply hurts the poorest among us. However, I am willing to vote for someone who is weak on education if he is strong on ending abortion. I don’t care near as much about what my neighbor smokes as I do about whether he will be forced by the Feds to bake cakes for gay weddings.
Our next nominee should be strong and passionate in all areas of conservatism, but unmovable in the top two of each category. Our next nominee needs to be willing to use all the tools at his disposal to fight each battle. Our next nominee needs to have a proven track record of choosing conservative principles above the objections of his own party. Our next nominee needs to have a proven track record of saying what he will do on the campaign trail and then doing that in office.
I for one am not to concerned about governor vs senator. Honestly neither has ever secured the border, appointed federal judges, or rewritten EPA regulation. We can’t know whether they will function well as a President, but let’s also note that the problem with Obama is not that he was never a Governor. The problem with Obama is that he pursues goals that are antithetical to Conservatives. We need to look at what is the core of each leg of the stool and require our nominee to hold to the core of each leg while giving room to negotiate further away.
But most of all must require proof of “truth in advertising.” Has the candidate espoused conservative principles on the trail, been elected, and then fought for each thing he said he would fight for? Has he stood against liberals? Has he stood against establishment republicans? Has he (to the ability possible) stood against the judiciary? Can we trust that he will fight for what he says?
The establishment wants to see conservatives fight. The establishment wants our votes split between an economic and social conservative in the early nomination states. If we split they can grab second place in each of the first states and then sail to the nomination. Personally I like [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ]. While many will disagree with some of his tactics I have never heard him attacked on whether he holds conservative beliefs, or for inconsistency. He espouses conservative principles and then fights for them regardless of the opposition. We have a lot of good potential candidates, and I can easily imagine myself being convinced that someone else is as conservative, as consistent, and more likely to govern better. However, that is the standard I will hold when it comes to the primary. I think that is what conservatives of all stripes should be able to agree to in a conservative consensus candidate (two things central to your own leg). It is probably the only way we can hope to prevent an establishment nominee.