Posts Tagged ‘conservative’

No Light at Tunnel’s End?

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

GOP: Is the Light Fading?

I think it dawned on me two or three days ago, after the New Hampshire primary, that most of the people with whom I discuss politics are more frustrated, but it’s not evidenced in the words they’re choosing so much as in the way they’re saying them.  They’re disgusted by Obama and his power-grabs, but more than this, they are tired of watching the GOP try to lead them to slaughter again in 2012.  It’s bad enough to watch Obama  walk all over the newly-minted Republican majority in the House of Representatives, but to see that the party has done nothing to substantially improve our position in the coming elections is frustrating in the extreme.  Worse, Tea Party members are seething over many of the same things, noting that with Boehner and the boys on Capitol Hill, there’s been no willingness to stand up for our conservative values.  Watching this primary process play out has been like feeding the party’s base feet-first through a meat-grinder. Various surveys reveal that as much as 60% of the party would like more choices, which is to say more conservative choices, and it’s been apparent for some time that most are not happy with the “inevitable nominee,” Mitt Romney.

When the people with whom I discuss politics come to the subject of Speaker John Boehner, virtually every one of them regards him as weak, and most will offer some form of mimicry of tears and whining.  These are conservative people, and not a crowd of leftists to whom John Boehner should be natural fodder for mockery.  To see people who turn out in election after election for the Republican party now openly mocking the highest-ranking Republican now serving in our government is an astonishing development for which I cannot remember a precedent in all my life.  What seems to lead to this growing contempt is the sense that in all of these  elections, we go forth to the polls to support a party that walks away from us and our values in the end, and to add insult to injury, cries about it.  None of the Republicans with whom I speak are happy about the direction of the party, and worse, since this is Texas, some are noting the antics of our governor in his campaign and have begun to whisper that he’s an embarrassment too.  Most seem to think that since he’s fallen well below the 10% mark in polling, he ought to “just come on back home before he makes a fool of us all.”

So it is that the GOP is now largely being defined by dueling caricatures of a Massachusetts big-government  liberal, an outcast libertarian, a former Speaker(who at least didn’t cry), a former Senator who whiffed last time at bat, an Obama Ambassador, and a Texas gunslinger, while the rest of us are left standing in astonished dismay at the spectacle: How are we to win anything with these as our standard-bearers? This is the problem most conservatives I know now face in horror, as they try to see any reason that they should see some light at the end of the tunnel, with any of these as the vehicle.   To be sure, after more than a year of “Mitt is most electable,” emanating from the establishment media like bad gas, there is a certain group that will settle for the Massachusetts liberal because they see him as less embarrassing than the remainder.  So goes the predictable lamentations about our situation, and yet I must wonder if there isn’t some hope, somehow, that we will resurrect the Republican party, but failing that, replace it with something better.

I was having a conversation with a neighbor on Thursday, and he owns a ranch, complete with several hundred head of cattle, but he is also an entrepreneur, owning several businesses.  He’s twenty years my senior, and he doesn’t waste too many words, so when we wandered into the subject of politics, he turned his head and spat, turned back and said: “The problem with our party is that they keep trying to win with professional losers. They ought to try that Palin gal from Alaska.  At least she seems to know what the hell is going on.”  I really had no answer for that, except to nod approval, and say “Yeah, but she’s not running.”  He murmured “I know it, so you’d better get used to Obama,” as he turned his head and spat again, as if for punctuation, and finished his thought: “We’re in for pure hell…but we’ll make it through.”

It’s fair to say my neighbor isn’t probably representative of the average American.  He’s a veteran who served in Vietnam, and he bears the scars of a life of hard labor, and his skin is leathery from years under the punishing wind and Texas sun, but he is representative of a fair bit of political thought in middle America, inasmuch as he’s spent his time building and growing businesses, and running his cattle operation, and made good use of the talents with which he was gifted.  He lives a simple life, and doesn’t have a large number of frills, not because he can’t afford them, but because he doesn’t need them. When the Republican Party walks away from this man, they’re walking away from the base that shows up to elect Republicans to city councils, county precincts, and legislatures.  They walk away from a man who you will never find at a protest rally or Tea Party event, but who has never failed to show up at the polls.  The fact that this man is now resigning himself to four more years(or an eternity) of Obama should tell you something about how he views the state of the GOP, as much as it tells you about his view of the political future we face.

Part of the problem really lies with us.  For too many years, we have ceded governance to a permanent political class that rules with elections serving only as a formality that gives legitimacy to their rule over us.  Many speak in vague terms of “change,” and “throwing the bums out,” but seldom do we actually pursue that goal.  Everybody hates Congress, except for their own Congressman and Senators, so that foolish polls asking about the “approval rating of Congress” has no bearing whatsoever on the fact that in election after election, more than 90% who seek re-election return without fail.  We often lament the fact that this seems to be the best the party has to offer, but is it?  Is our mostly silent assent to be led by a party that only theoretically represents our interests a signal that we are satisfied?  The Tea Party hints that  this may not be true, but like my neighbor who never fails to vote, it’s clear we need to become a good deal more active and stop waiting for a solution from the top.  It may be the last remaining spark of light at the other end of the tunnel we have, but we should follow it nevertheless.

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So You Say You’re a Conservative

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

Remembering Our Purpose

Many politicians come along who claim to be conservative.  Some of them really pitch it well, and sell the notion to their political supporters, but once they get in office, it’s another matter.  Suddenly, it seems at every turn, they shrug their shoulders and continue building big government.  We must begin to ask them to explain their alleged conservatism as a strategy to help us spot those who may not be so conservative as their campaign literature claims.  Many people ask me how I can differentiate between the charlatans and the real thing, so as a conservative, I’d like to present those vital notions I believe must be the hallmarks of conservatism.

A conservative believes that our Constitution established what it specifies:  A constitutional, representative republic.   Notice that nowhere does the constitution mention democracy.  If a politician is so sloppy as to routinely use the term “democracy” to describe our form of government, there are generally two reasons.  Either they are talking in shorthand, or they are expressing a fundamental ignorance that may be entirely accidental.  More often, it’s a willful substitution aimed at following the program on which they’ve embarked, which is to substitute the cheap and tawdry notion of democracy for the much more elegant and enduring notion of our form of government.  Even under a century of assaults, they’ve not yet completely destroyed it, and that is more a testament to the nature of what had been founded than it is to their incompetence.  To replace our form of government with democracy would substantially destroy the country.  A real conservative knows this, knows why it’s important, and fights to maintain that critical distinction.

A conservative believes in federalism, which is to say that our federal government ought to have only such powers as are necessary in fulfilling its mandate to keep the nation secure, attend to foreign affairs, administer justice, prosecute criminals, mint and coin our money, and resolve disputes between and among the several states.  As the 10th Amendment specifies, anything not in the short list of items over which the federal government ought to have control are reserved to the states, and the people, respectively.  Unfortunately, the tendency has been to reinterpret the meaning of the constitution in the name of destroying federalism, and our federal judiciary has long been a tool of the progressives in this end.  Any candidate who doesn’t support federalist principles is not a conservative.

A conservative believes in strictly constructionist views of the constitution.  This means that a plain reading of the text as understood in the language of the time of its adoption along with the common law precedents of antiquity are the only rightful basis for weighing the constitutionality of an act of government.   It is the job of legislators to author law, but not the role of the judiciary to re-write its meaning to suit their own policy preferences.  A conservative candidate will know this and act accordingly.

A conservative believes in the irrelevancy of the question “What can governments do?” Governments can do many things, but most of them are not within the scope of legitimate government powers.  The question isn’t whether government can do a thing, but whether it ought to do it.  Those candidates whose first reflex is to find ways to employ government power as the solution to perceived problems are dangerous because they’re suggesting government authority as a surrogate for private choices.

A conservative believes in capitalism.  Neither crony capitalism, nor some form of “mixed economy” will satisfy conservatives.  The only restrictions a conservative places on free markets are those that seek to punish fraud and theft, or other actions which violate the rights of real persons.  Any conservative who wishes to raise your taxes isn’t one.  If they speak in terms of “fair shares,” you can know this is not a conservative in the traditional sense.  Conservatives generally abhor taxes greater than those needed to satisfy the mandates of government specified above.  There’s nothing wrong with a candidate who wishes to substitute a different system of taxation, but few have done that.

A conservative believes in a strong and vigorous national defense, but not in global adventurism in pursuit of vague notions of the vital national interest.  A conservative who steps back from wholesale global engagement is frequently derided as an “isolationist.”  The conservative is neither isolationist, nor adventurist, but instead focuses on the security of the nation.  This defense orientation is important to understanding how we’ve gotten into so much trouble globally.  In recent decades, it’s become much to fashionable to deploy American forces around the globe, and into theaters in which we have no real interests except the maintenance of some treaty.  At some point, some enterprising politician might note that these treaties seldom serve the US, but instead act to embroil us in wars where we really have very little interest.  A conservative candidate realizes that to deploy the troops is a solemn privilege of leadership, and should never be undertaken lightly.

A conservative believes in individual rights that are a prerequisite for human existence, granted not by governments or men, but by the Laws of Nature, and of Nature’s God, as the Declaration of Independence affirms.  The reason for this usage was and remains simple:  To place the rights of people above the reaching, grasping hands of power and to rightfully forbid their abuse by others.   In this context, the Bill of Rights takes on a new and largely misunderstood meaning: Intended to restrain government in its predations upon us, these rights were to be enjoyed without fear of mobs.  It’s clear that a conservative must understand the critical importance of this concept.

A conservative does not regard fellow citizens as a means to and end.  Instead, a conservative must hold that each person is an end in and of themselves, and ought not be subjected to the whimsy of others.  A conservative believes in actual justice, and not some petty pretense meant to defile it.  If you’re a conservative, you cannot accept notions of social or economic or even racial justice without negating the concept of  an actual, objective standard of justice.

A conservative believes in balancing budgets and paying down debt.  A conservative does not believe in incessant borrowing and a never-ending spending spree.  A conservative knows it is prudent to maintain a small surplus for the pay-down of debts in good times, enabling one’s government to keep things afloat in the case of a down-turn.

A conservative believes in the exceptional nature of America.  A conservative believes the first duty of a politician is to put the country first, and to set aside one’s personal interests while in office.

This list is not exhaustive, but it should provide a general baseline when considering candidates.  Some will add other things to their own lists, and some will wish to re-prioritize the list according to their own personal beliefs.  That’s healthy, and normal, and you should ignore anybody who tells you otherwise.  By the same token, if you find a candidate is crossing several of these lines, you may wish to consider that candidate as something else, but not as a conservative.  Of course, there are no perfect candidates, but some are more perfect than others.  The important thing to remember is that if you want to restore the nation, it’s going to required elected officials who are inclined to adopt these ideas.  Anything less won’t save the country.  At this point in our history, being careful in our selections has never been more important.

The Battle on the Right

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

There Can Be Only One

We’ve witnessed the opening salvos in the battle for the nomination.  The punditry has lined up to take shots at GOP candidates, including those not yet in the race.  Each declared candidate is scrambling to establish a niche with the primary electorate, and as they do, there exists not only a whispering dissatisfaction with the current choices, but also an increasing friction between them as they attempt to consolidate their support.  In the most recent polling, Governor Perry has the clear lead, at the moment, with Governor Romney tailing off.   More significantly, Michele Bachmann has fallen to fourth place behind an undeclared Sarah Palin. As the battle lines are drawn, we’re witnessing a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party.

Rick Perry is the present beneficiary of a largely unknown record outside his home state, Texas, but this too is beginning to change as more and more people are beginning to notice that apart from the swagger and bronc-busting style, Perry hasn’t always been a conservative, and it leads to some doubts about his sincerity.  Some have described him as a RINO with a drawl, but the truth is that he hasn’t been substantially vetted on the national stage, and as his record become more widely known, he’s likely to experience a decline when his record  as a lifelong politician with too many corporate friends becomes known.  This is the truth of what caused him to see a strong primary challenge from upstart Debra Medina in the 2010 Texas gubernatorial race.  While Medina never attained the name recognition, it’s important to remember that the main cause of her defeat was one self-destructive interview that caused her implosion.  This is instructive, and actually serves to demonstrate Perry’s true weakness among Texas conservatives and Tea Party members:  It’s not so much that he won in 2010, as it is the case that his primary opponent, whose entrance into the race already demonstrated Perry’s troubles, essentially disqualified herself.  This weakness of Perry’s is going to become more obvious as his record is examined.

Mitt Romney is the great establishment hope of the left-most edge of the GOP, and the current favorite of the establishment.  He’s been hurt by Perry’s entry precisely because some of his support didn’t see another strong conservative candidate in the race, and Romney isn’t interested in ideological consistency. Instead, the notion of “who can win,”  focusing on Independents and the swing vote has come to dominate his appeal.  For this reason, Romney has adopted the position of mostly ignoring the conservative base, and seems not only uninterested in courting Tea Party folks, but also in avoiding them in order to appeal to his niche.  Romney’s gamble is simple: If he can get the nomination, conservatives will vote for him anyway.  We may be seeing the first signs that Romney is abandoning this strategy, as he traveled to Texas on Monday.   Whether he shifts his approach, or sticks with his moderate positions is yet to be determined, but he ought to remember who he’s slighting in the hunt for the nomination, as it may come back to haunt him in the primary even if he succeeds.  Democrats slavishly vote for whomever their party puts up.  Conservatives are much more apt to stay home.  If this brings to mind images of another McCain or Dole style defeat, you’re probably on target.

Michele Bachmann is a fine candidate, but she’s fading fast for a number of reasons.  One is that her theoretical support from the Tea Party is based on a fallacious notion of substitution many of her supporters (and perhaps the candidate herself) wrongly believed:  She’s not Sarah Palin.  Slowly, grudgingly, some of her supporters are discovering this too.  It’s not to say Representative Bachmann has no appeal, but instead that her appeal has been largely augmented by the imaginings of her early supporters.  Her tendency to make gaffes of one sort or another is taking its toll, whether serious or largely manufactured or inflated by the media.  Some have discovered that she’s not quite so close to the average people as may have been thought, and it that factor is inflicting a cost too.  Lastly, many within her campaign, and frankly, within the media, bought the media-born notion that there’s only room in the campaign for one Republican woman, and while I reject that notion, it’s turning out that may be true in some sense, but sadly for her, Michele Bachmann isn’t that woman.

This leaves us to consider Sarah Palin.  Will she run?  Many observers think so, and to some, it’s clear that she’s already running in the sense that she’s largely conducting herself like a candidate, despite the lack of a campaign.  Others insist that she won’t run, but when you examine who they are, they tend to be supporters of another candidate.  That’s telling, given the assault from media pundits she recently endured over the matter of whether she would announce on September 3rd during her speech to the Tea Party of America in Indianola, Iowa.  Part of Palin’s strategy, if she’s to enter, may be to wait for the field to settle some.  We’re now seeing that begin, as all but Romney and Perry (as well as Palin) have fallen to single-digit support among Republicans.  At the same time, there’s still a wide body of undecided voters, many of whom are effectively waiting for the field to settle out before committing.   Perry’s numbers are likely to stabilize, and begin to trail off.  There’s some evidence that this has already begun.   If it continues, there’s a chance that Palin will be able to announce a campaign and emerge as a nearly instantaneous front-runner for the nomination.  If this happens, it will effectively close off Bachmann and those currently below her current standing at 9%.  This will also begin to shut down some of the less successful campaigns.  The real question becomes whether she holds off a bit longer, toward the end of September, not only to await the likely Perry decline, but also to close off later entries.

It’s clear that the politicos know this, which is why they’ve gone on with a flurry of rumor-mongering, trying to goad her into a Labor Day weekend entry, or dissuade her entry altogether.   Worse are the attempts to undermine her by suggesting that she’s not going to run, and will promptly endorse the preferred candidate of whichever person is speaking.  The thing to watch is how much Bachmann may be able to cut back into the Perry support, where she watched much of her own flee after his announcement.  If Palin enters, Bachmann is likely to begin her fall, as many of her supporters move on to the candidate some of them already quietly acknowledge as the “real deal.”  Still, between the three announced candidates among the leading four, they achieve only half of the party’s support.  This implies that the race is wide open for somebody else, and with 10% of the support already leaning to her despite the lack of an official campaign, it doesn’t take a great deal of imagination to notice that  Sarah Palin may well be that somebody.

A Conservative Icon Prepares the Troops for Battle

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

The Great One

There are a number of great radio talk-show hosts who I’ve enjoyed immensely over the years.  I first became familiar with the format listening to Larry King late at night on the way into a night-stock job at a grocery warehouse.  It wasn’t so much that I liked Larry, as it was that his callers were at least somewhat entertaining.  Most of a decade later, after spending much of my time as a soldier in Europe, I came at long last to Texas.  When I got out of the Army, I got a job and joined the civilian workforce again.  It was some time later, working  in that job, in a moment of downtime, listening for news of the impending hostilities against Saddam’s forces in Kuwait, that I made a discovery that turned out to be much more important to me in the long run.

Twisting the dial on that beat-up AM radio, listening for the sound of intelligible human speech, I had discovered EIB and Rush Limbaugh.  This would  provide a good deal of entertainment, as back in those days, Rush played parodies more frequently, and generally provided a flood of information to the pre-Internet world, delivered from a point of view I’d seldom heard anywhere before.  He was unashamedly conservative.  I’d never heard a show like this, and I became a “Dittohead” in short order. It was in the course of my years listening to this show that I was introduced to many amazing people, including my favorite living economist, Walter Williams, still a frequent fill-in host, and also my favorite attorney: Mark Levin.  I was thrilled when I discovered that Levin had gotten his own radio show, and more thrilled yet when it went to a full three hours.  If it’s fair to say that Sarah Palin unknowingly delivered the inspiration for this blog, (a fact that if she knew, she might very well regret,) it’s likewise fair to say that Mr. Levin provides its beating heart, with a passion shared for the love of our country.

It’s not to say that I never disagree with Mr. Levin, but it is to declare that our differences are perhaps more superficial or trivial.  What I have always enjoyed most about him is what I can hear in his voice, not in mere words, but in the tone in which he speaks: He means it.  Mark Levin has some health problems, and it’s more than ironic that he should suffer from heart troubles, because you’d never know it to hear him speak.  He has real passion for this fight.  He makes it clear that it’s our fight.  As he frequently points out, “It’s our country,” and he’s not afraid to let it rip, and he has no need to be afraid as millions in “fly-over country” love what he has to say, and we respond to the passion with which he says it.

Some people are put off by his voice.  I find it distinctive, and sharp. but what makes it stand out is the force of intelligence and wisdom driving it.  The logic is equally clear and sharp, leaving listeners no confusion as to where he stands on an issue.  Some people think he can be too short with some callers, but the truth is that his sense of  which callers are too annoying to suffer suits me very well.  He has more patience with some of them than I could possibly muster.  If you tune to Levin, that’s part of the fun. My daughter and I have listened to his show, making friendly bets on how long he’ll tolerate the next leftist “drone” before losing patience and dumping them. If only he knew how much entertainment that has provided to one father and daughter, he’d probably humbly deny culpability and laugh.

One of the things I enjoy most about Levin is his instinct for a political story.  He’s among the few who possess the insight to see what’s going on before it becomes obvious to the rest of us.  Maybe that provides some of his passion too, because he’s always warning what’s coming next from some politician, and he’s always waiting expectantly for people on the Republican side to catch up.  Certainly, among the RINOs in Washington, he can see a sell-out coming from a mile or a light-year away.  Having worked in Reagan’s administration, I’m certain his experience in dealing with all the nutty leftists inside the DC Beltway provided him a deeper understanding of how both the leftist and RINO mind works, and what he learned is:  Both are proponents of statism.

If you tune in to his show these days(and you should-daily,)  what you’ll hear is a man who is as passionate about this country as any of the greats in our history.  He is intelligent enough to make a logical case, wise enough to see things coming in advance, discerning enough to focus on the most pressing issues, and engaged and passionate enough to make clear that this isn’t contrived.  There are many talkshow hosts, but what Mark Levin delivers isn’t a show.  It’s an education, and it’s a conservative sermon, but he’s not merely preaching to the choir.  One co-worker walked into my office as we worked late one evening, preparing to replace some major network equipment, and he heard Levin on my radio.  He stopped, listening, as Mark dealt harshly with some nefarious “Re-pubic,” and my co-worker asked: “Who’s this guy, and what’s his issue?”  As we continued our work, I told him a little about Levin, his history, and his show.  He nodded politely, and we worked on.  It was one of those weeks.

I suppose a month or so had passed, that particular project well behind us, and there was an incident that required our attention at the office.  Our normal work hours are 8-5, but in our line of work, it’s seldom confined to that schedule.  I arrived first, and waited for my co-worker as it was a two man job.  As he pulled up in the parking lot, and shut off his car’s engine, the radio played on, and I could hear that distinctive voice I had only moments ago abandoned while exiting my own car.  As he locked his car and walked toward me, he saw the grin on my face.  “Yes, okay, you got me hooked.  I can’t help it. He’s good. Now, did you hear what he said a minute ago about…”  That provided the fodder for discussion while we worked through a technical problem.

One could see how his matter-of-fact manner appeals to middle-aged men who work with computers and networks.  The logic of his arguments is simply irrefutable.   What’s more astonishing is how my wife reacts to him.  She hates radio talk-shows, just because the format annoys her, but among all the talk-show hosts, there’s only one who will prompt her to tune in.  Yes, Mark Levin. Why? Well, my wife is a sort of no-nonsense person, (and therefore amazing to all who know us that she’s still my wife after all these years,) and she appreciates how Levin leaps right in and gets to the heart of the matter.  He zeroes in on the subject, and he forcefully, relentlessly pursues it.  His sense of certitude combined with his convincing deluge of facts swamps the unsteady listener with a certitude of their own.  After all, conservatives are reviled and demeaned in popular culture, and here is a man who says it, says it well, and makes no apologies for it.  She admires that, and besides, he’s kind to animals too.

I think among all the things that Mark provides to his listeners is a sense of purpose and duty about the future of the country.  He’s not willing to surrender it to the latest in statist ploys, and he’s willing to do what he can to oppose them.  He does so daily, and to be honest, none do it better, and few have done it so well.  He’s a mobilizing force, like the General Patton of the radio, and he tells any who will listen the whole truth about what it’s going to take to save our country.  Every day, he lays out the logical case underlying his views, and he presents all the evidence you’ll need to leave no reasonable doubt.   On this basis, he motivates and inspires people to activism, and that’s something for which the conservative movement has long waited:  A spokesman who says it and means it, and whose arguments demand that you do something about it.

I still enjoy Rush and the others, and probably always will, but there’s something terribly, and wonderfully engaging about Mark Levin.  Love him or hate him, he gets under your skin.  He’s the beating radio heart of conservatism, and he’s a powerhouse.  He truly is the “Great One.”

Fiscal Conservative, Social “Moderate”?

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

Which Way, Which Day?

One of the worst lies told by so-called “moderate” Republicans in each election year is that while they are “fiscally conservative,” they are also “socially liberal” or “moderate.” This attempt to ignore reality is perhaps less excusable than the constant delusion of the left, because these people aren’t insane. They’re simply wrong, and they know it. Part of it stems from a desire to avoid seeming “judgmental,” but if truth be told, only the worst possible judgment can originate in the minds of those who accept this shoddy idea. Attempting to walk the fine line between the political left and right, they’re not capable of energizing their base or even capturing a substantial portion of the squishy middle. The reason is simple: Their would-be supporters immediately recognize that the fatal flaws of the latter position negates any virtue to be found in the former.

 

Any Way They Can

Consider President George W. Bush, whose argument was that he’s a compassionate conservative. The base implication of that label is that conservatives have no compassion. It was designed to reassure voters that he’s a social moderate. His first term punctuated the notion, as he assisted in crafting laws on social policy including the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, and an education act that was drafted largely by such great conservatives(?) as Teddy Kennedy. These programs will eventually have cost Americans hundreds of billions, if not trillions of dollars, all in service to a liberal social agenda. How can one then contend that the notion of a fiscal conservative and the idea of a social liberal/moderate could be anything but mutually exclusive?

Because Bush claimed to be a conservative, however, many on the right happily went along with the programs in the name of ‘bi-partisanship.’ We’ve seen recently in the Debt Ceiling debate what that sort of joined-hands surrender to the left this approach offers up in the end: A complete and utter failure that serves no one but government. What really defines a social liberal isn’t merely the so-called “social issues,” but the unflinching willingness to spend tax-payers’ dollars on them. It is this fundamental contradiction with all such “ideological moderates” that labels them dishonest brokers for a failed statist ideal. Many got a moments’ chuckle from my post on the mythical program S-GROPE, but these are the sorts of mindless, destructive federal expenditures born of moderate Republicans.

Consider what would have been the case if moderate John McCain had been elected in 2008. He too would have enacted some sort of health-care reform, but Republicans would have surrendered in sufficient numbers to pass it because of the shoddy notion of party loyalty, rather than loyalty to principle. Since McCain didn’t win, Republicans made a principled stand against it, and the issue is still very much in doubt as Federal courts continue to find parts or the whole of the law to be unconstitutional, nearly ensuring it will have a future date before the United States Supreme court. Had it been enacted by a moderate Republican like John McCain, few would have said even a word in opposition, and they would have been painted as “Hobbits” or “terrorists” or some other smear.

This is why when you see a governor like Rick Perry, willing to use the power of the state to require vaccines against the spread of a behaviorally-transmitted disease like HPV, you can bet you’re looking at another moderate “do-gooder” willing to spend the peoples’ treasure on the advancement of a leftist policy imperative. Not satisfied with defaming all girls twelve years or older in the state of Texas as sexually active, he actually wanted to mandate this and have it administered at school, without charge. Notice how the social moderate winds up always dismissing his fiscal conservatism in the name of some imagined public good on behalf of statist dogma.

Consider Mitt Romney’s ridiculous health-care plan in the state of Massachusetts. It’s not possible to suggest that Mr. Romney doesn’t understand how ridiculously simplistic his arguments in favor of a mandate are under logical scrutiny. First, he offers that it’s a states’ rights issue. That really doesn’t hold water, so instead he offers up a sorry analogy to auto insurance. What sort of auto insurance may any state mandate on drivers? Liability insurance. They don’t mandate collision or comprehensive or road-side assistance or towing or any of the other options you can purchase with your policy. They require only that you cover the losses and damages you inflict upon others. In all logic, there can be no way to contort health insurance to fit such a mold, and yet this is the policy initiative of a man who claims to be a conservative.

These are among the sort of issues in which the social liberalism reveals the true nature of one’s fiscal orientation. When a politician claims to be a “social moderate,” he or she is attempting to govern as a liberal, but generally more slowly, hoping to disguise it all behind the ski-mask labeled “fiscal conservatism,” and further hoping you won’t notice the philosophical slight of hand. Unfortunately for them, voters catch on to this maneuver quickly, and the slick ones will always try to stay a bit ahead of the unmasking, some of them now claiming to be social conservatives on the basis of their professed faith, or their stance on one or more divisive issues preferred by people of faith.

In 2012, we conservatives will be faced with two momentous questions: First, which candidate for the nomination will we support, and second, will we show up to vote in the election? It’s my contention, aimed squarely at the GOP establishment, that if we don’t nominate a real common-sense conservative, this time, that will provide the answer to the second question. Rather than preach to us about the necessity of winning at the expense of our principles, it would be surprising if those glorious advocates of compromise would allow themselves to see it our way, for once in a generation. Rather than being the hidden enemy in our home encampment, let them discard their principle of the center stripe, upon which we’re frequently mowed down, and side with us for a change. A real change.