November 2, 2009

Conservativer-Than-Thou Attitudes

Newt Gingrich was being pilloried for his dogged support of Dede Scozzafava in the NY23 election.  She's not a conservative, in fact she's not really even a moderate.  She's a liberal.  Backing her was foolish.  But now Newt is being bashed for finally coming to the side of Doug Hoffman, Conservative Party candidate.  Yes, he came to the principles party late and may in fact be an univited guest to boot.  Yes, conservativism REALLY, REALLY matters and principles are paramount.  Yes, other conservatives of note, Sarah Palin and Fred Thompson notables among them, beat Newt to the punch and were right, right out of the gate.

Yes Newt deserves to take lumps over this.  His loyalties were clearly to the GOP and not conservative values.  The problem is not Newt's - the problem is that no one should have to decide between the GOP and conservatism because they are supposed to be the same thing.

But reality tends to get in the way of such pristine conditions.  When people talk about Big Tent conservatism they often forget that the tent is supposed to include actual conservatives and not just be awash in moderates.  Such has become the predicament of the GOP - too many moderates, not enough conservatives.  How did reality get in the way of the GOP being conservative?  A conservative in New York is not the same as a conservative in Texas.  A conservative in New York has to be more moderate in many districts to stand a chance to win at all.  Too many puritans want them expunged from the party or the GOP expunged from conservatism.  It's a recipe for defeat.

The real trick is to ensure that conservatives are the first choice for representatives in any district.  The only exceptions should be cases where straight ticket conservatives don't stand a chance to win.  And then, the level of conservatism should be bent as little as possible without betraying the overall integrity of conservative values. The trick is finding that point.  The GOP has lost sight of that focal point by being too out of touch with the grassroots.  The fault is not Newt's.  The fault lies in conservatives, outside of politics, not providing the unrelenting drumbeat of conservatism the way liberals do.  There are exceptions - Limbaugh, and Fox News (to a lesser extent) obvious among them.  Where's our CBS-NBC-ABC-CNN-MSNBC-NYT machine?  Stop asking and do something about it.  Rupert Murdoch will not be around forever. Where are his conservative immitators?  That's where conservativism is lacking.  From a conservative drumbeat will come conservative singers (candidates).

What the puritans must realize (and I'm extremely conservative myself, but I'm also a realist), is that in order to win, some concessions in some districts are unfortunately necessary.  But you have to walk before you can run.  The Hoffman example shows that the grassroots can get a conservative to win (I hope).  That energy shouldn't be turned on lesser conservative conservatives.  A conservativer-than-thou attitude doesn't help.

Small victories can compile and a slightly more conservative voice rather than a slightly more liberal voice is a good thing.  The left, until Obama, has been willing to take the long road to victory.  It's been what, 70 years of growing welfare statism?  No wonder the left thought they were close enough to take the final 'great leap forward'.  Conservatives often want to do everything at once.  It's great for the primaries - every possible true conservative should win in the primaries.  But as disgusted as I would be by having to vote for Scozzafava, I would have to look long and hard before sitting out and letting a Democrat win.  It's not out of the question, but the decision shouldn't be a flippant one.  Weak GOP candidates are better than hardcore liberals.  Socialism will not be defeated in our lifetime.  Frustratingly, patience is a virtue.  And it's a virtue that more grassroots conservatives would be advised to practice.

Newt's nose has been rubbed in his bad decision.  Scozzafava is gone.  Hoffman might win.  A signal very well could be sent tomorrow. Savor it.  Be energized by it, and use it to promote your local conservative option for candidacy in any primary race.  But do consider holding your nose and voting GOP in 2010 if you have to do so, because another 2 years of unfettered Obama-ism, is a recipe for a national disaster. On that, I'm sure 99% of conservatives (even the moderate ones) can agree.  And in a nod to the true conservatives reading this - if you can't agree on the damage done to America Obama-ism, then maybe you really do deserve to be removed from the conserative sphere.

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