The state of conservatism is indeed, in real jeopardy. Conservatives have NO viable candidate to espouse our views and promote our agenda. Mr. Erickson has highlighted a growing concern of mine in his front page piece today; that the Republican Party is exploiting the conservative vote, money, and support, and is suborning our message through lip service but without effective execution. For some time this was done quietly and with some attempt to cover the effects and even feed us the occasional “bone” to keep us pacified but now, given the ridiculous pronouncements of Romney as a “conservative” and the erratic performance of Gingrich as one, it may well be time, as Erick indicates, that the conservative movement must separate itself from the Republican Party. For more proof, look at the way the Republican establishment and leadership has threatened, cajoled, and intimidated many of the 2010 freshman House members into going along with their weak and ineffective agenda by intimating that support and funding would be withheld during the next election cycle if they did not come into line.
The issue becomes, where to go or even, is there anywhere to go? The nature of the Tea Party groups across the country is steeped in its desire for individual independence from each other. That lack of unity, as seen by the disjointed support for various candidates, makes it very difficult for conservatives to move to the Tea Parties with any degree of ability to influence a Presidential election. My local Tea Party group is very Ron Paul oriented and that has completely turned me off from support or attendance, particularly when one of the organizers and I had a very disagreeable conversation of Paul vs. Perry in which he was insistent that libertarianism was conservatism. This is patently not so, but many Tea Party groups cannot make the differentiation. Another Tea Party vulnerability is the co-option of some of the groups by the Republican Party. It saw quickly, that the Tea Party movement was useful to keep together and under the party’s control and infiltrated some of them with big government ideologs positioned as leaders who have muted the conservative message and turned the organizations into a propaganda hub to keep the conservatives close to and subjective to, the Republican party.
While the Tea Party is not an answer, neither, in my opinion, is a third party. A third party, even one made up of the vast majority of conservatives, will never be strong enough to wrest control away from either of the two major parties, especially since they seem to be growing more and more closely knit in their message and in their actions. We have seen the failure of third parties and multiple parties over and over again in the political mix in this country, and we see the danger and instability of a coalition form of government as many European countries and Israel routinely have to form. I can see no path to victory in any but regional or possibly state elections, for a third party.
So what do we do for 2012? I agree with Erick that we are damaging the conservative movement by supporting candidates who espouse non-conservative ideas and who have exhibited time and time again, liberal policy executions when they held office. Support for Romney will undo much we have accomplished and now seem so eager to give up. Conservatives have proven to be a fickle lot of late; first by playing candidate hopscotch throughout this election cycle, until we managed to drive out every true conservative candidate we had because of one or the other of their perceived impurities to conservatism. Now we find ourselves with the conservative cup empty; no candidate worthy of conservatism is left for us to support so we now quibble over the degrees of non-conservatism in the remaining candidates that we will accept in order to try and last until the next election cycle. We have literally cut off every avenue of progress or escape with this incredible performance of stupidity, and I believe we may well have cut off our ability to have any impact in the next election cycle. Waiting until 2016 is not and cannot be, a viable alternative.
So, where do conservatives go? At present, I have no answer but I do recognize that we have reached a point in political life, where the existence of organized conservatism seems to be more endangered than in any other time I know of. As they say in the bars here in Texas at closing time, “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here”. Where is home and where do we go?