Since the 2006 elections, when Democrats took control of both chambers of Congress, it has been widely said the conservative movement is dead. This concept was bolstered with the 2008 elections, with Democrats again picking up more seats in the House and Senate, not to mention the Presidency. For a matter of months after that there were many suggestions the losses suffered by the Republican Party proved it should abandon its conservative base. There were also statements such as "The Reagan era is over." Thankfully, the left wing narrative does not establish the reality of the situation.
Conservatives have been analyzing and investigating the past two elections as well. Right wing understanding of Republican losses is strikingly different from the left wing calls for Republicans to essentially remake themselves in the image of Democrats. Conservative think tanks, pundits, commentators and the like seem to have reached a consensus on the fact that the nature of the Republican Party is in flux, but there are many theories as to what this actually means.
Other than calls to liberalize the Party there is also a movement urging conservatives to abandon the Republican Party for something more true to conservative values. In IS 2008 THE YEAR CONSERVATIVES ABANDON THE GOP? Pastor Chuck Baldwin encourages conservatives to vote for a third political party during major elections, such as the Constitution Party. I personally know people who decided to abstain from voting in the 2008 elections altogether. The fear of the ultra left Barack Obama (often touted as a "moderate" and even "conservative" by left wing pundits so far in left field they can no longer find any extremists to the left of themselves) helped push some of those conservatives to reluctantly vote for Senator John McCain.
Despite the many calls to move left or to abandon the party there is another option. A very popular assumption is that the Republican Party has reached the point of no return: either it must move left to survive, or it will never return to its conservative roots and therefore must be allowed to die. But I believe a third option is more likely to provide the competition needed to defeat Democrats at the polls in future elections.
I do not (yet) accept the presumption the Republican Party cannot be rescued. Another well received theory (mainly by grassroots conservatives) is that the 2006 and 2008 elections did not signal the end of conservatism. In fact, the vast majority of Republicans who lost those elections were not conservative, but "moderate" or "progressive" Republicans. To some of us this phenomenon suggests the Republican losses were a signal that grassroots conservatives desired true conservative candidates, and given the choice between a liberal Democrat and a left leaning Republican, liberals and moderates chose the genuine liberal. Grassroots conservatives had few inspiring candidates, so the Republican base was out performed at the polls.
That's why John McCain actually had a fighting chance during the 2008 presidential race. Not because he inspired the American people, but because Sarah Palin did. Never have I seen such vitriol and hate speech spewed from the left and even the main stream news media as I have seen dumped on Palin. Sara Palin's inspiring life story, of a middle America woman moving up through the political ranks and achieving the governorship of Alaska, was relentlessly ridiculed and mocked. Even today, before and after her announcement to resign as governor, Palin is still viciously attacked as if she were still running for a national level political office.
And what merited this widespread hate speech directed at Palin? She spoke of family values, defending our country and returning the role of the federal government to a more limited capacity as was intended by the men who invented the United States. This is the "extremist" philosophy the self proclaimed sophisticates found so repugnant. Even months after the election, before her announcement to resign from office, in her largely invisible political state of governing Alaska left wing commentators and journalists still attacked Sarah Palin as if she were an enemy of the state.
In a way, she was and is. Palin opposes a statist mentality, where all problems are deemed the responsibility of government to fix. The notion that the government's responsibility is to take care of the people is largely the vehicle by which government has robbed the people of so many freedoms enjoyed by previous generations of Americans. Palin respects the 10th Amendment to our constitution, which declares the federal government can do only what is explicitly spelled out for it to do, which does not include retirement, education and certainly not health care.
I don't like the way our government has handled Social Security or public eduction, and I certainly don't want to let that government take control of health care. I would be very excited to see a Republican candidate in the 2010 and 2012 elections espousing these beliefs. Please notice I have only mentioned a few big picture concerns. I'm not demanding specific, small issues be addressed. I believe a government adequately restricted in its power will cause fewer problems for its people and allow the rest of us greater opportunity to help ourselves and our neighbors.
Many Americans agree with me that a properly limited government is vital to the survival of individual liberty, and that the current state of affairs in America suffers an oppressive and heavy hand of a federal government that has stepped far beyond its proper limited role.
Another major, big picture, issue which needs mentioning is the right to life. A friend of mine told me he would have easily voted for John McCain in the 2008 election, despite other objections, if McCain had a less ambiguous pro-life record. This is a friend who had decided to abstain from voting that year, but was inspired to vote in the presidential race simply by listening to the promises of Barack Obama. My friend had no candidate he wanted to vote for, but the Marxian ideas promoted by then Senator Obama motivated him to vote against the Democrat agenda, something which could have been accomplished much quicker had McCain's pro-life record been better (unfortunately, he voted for a third party candidate). Constitutional protection is afforded to terrorists captured on the battle field, but not to unborn children. I would like to see the 14th Amendment expanded (particularly the phrase "nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws") to also apply to children in the womb.
I will mention only a third big picture issue here. The last is the fact that government's proper role of protecting its people is being severely neglected. Instead of taking the war against terrorists seriously, and instead of adequately guarding our borders, our government is playing politically correct games with domestic terrorism, treating right wing groups as dangerous. This is how propaganda and political pandering become public policy. One group turns their political opponents into public enemies. And this occurs under the auspices of protecting the people from threats to their safety. Currently many Americans worry the real terrorist threat is being neglected with this left wing politrick at play.
As long as the federal government offers a social safety net the issue of illegal immigrants benefiting from that safety net will be concerning to many Americans. What's worse, our borders are so under guarded and immigration laws so pitifully enforced that many of us wonder what is there, if anything, to stop Islamo-facist terrorists from continually infiltrating our country.
To summarize, my basics list for an adequate political candidate are:
* support limited government
* be anti-abortion
* be serious about protecting us from foreign invasion and/or attack
With these three requirements met I've no doubt a political candidate would steer the country back in the direction of respecting and protecting the freedom of the people. But why would a politician of this political flavor have any significant influence? Because “Conservatives” Are Single-Largest Ideological Group, according to a June 15 Gallup poll. So how do we turn the reality of this poll into reality in government? One theory has already been achieved, which occurred at the polls in the most recent two elections: getting rid of lukewarm Republicans. This frees up room for genuinely conservative candidates.
I have another idea that I think will help. The stated goal of this idea is not itself the mission. The process of accomplishing the goal is the mission. Who but genuinely conservative politicians would commit to my three requirements? With the details of many issues come varying opinions and disagreement. I'm confident my short list of general qualifications will meet little objection from main stream conservatives. If I'm right, political candidates proudly professing these sentiments will have a much better chance of winning elections than their opponents. And if my idea is actually accomplished we will restore a vital element of what was so brilliant in the founding of our nation.
But one lesson politicians seem incapable of learning is that rhetoric doesn't win hearts or minds for the long term. It may sway people for a short while, but eventually empty promises turn people off entirely. That friend I mention earlier also holds this opinion:
It would take quite a bit for the GOP to win my trust again. Much more than campaign promises or verbally taking a certain position on certain issues. Talk is cheap in politics. It will take political action, not words, for me to support a GOP candidate again.
My idea is for exactly such action. Click the link below to read about it. All the political promises in the world are worthless if you can't stop the nation's foundation from being eroded.
The 17th Amendment and the Balance of Federal Power