Conservatism Is Not For Sale
Regardless how much it's been rented out of late
By haystack Posted in George Bush | Inside the beltway | Miscellanea | Scott McClellan — Comments (19) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
Our own Ben Domenech has an editorial up at the Washington Times that is especially well-timed. Entitled "Conservative seeds of destruction", Ben reminds us of a fundamental truth about the so-called Conservative movement:
[I]f conservatism is to have any future, it is as a movement that does not put too much faith in the individuals who claim to espouse shared ideology.
Responding to McClellan's book, Ben suggests this:
[H]is tell-all book operates on the oldest of Washington principles: that everyone inside the Beltway has their price. His original book proposal reads like so many other axe-grinding reputation savers that will emerge from loyal out of work ex-Bush appointees over the coming year. Pedantic and uninventive, it has the same vibrant, colorful, and innovative personality Mr. McClellan brought to the press office podium: that of stale unleavened bread.
Unleavened bread indeed.
The book itself has faded from the headlines a week running, the number of Google hits dropping steadily, and McClellan will soon achieve the state of nothingness that always follows such adventures. He leaves behind some food for thought, however, in the larger context.
More below the fold...
Misplaced trust has become a thing all too familiar to Conservatives, as Ben suggests in citing the litany of examples during the Bush years. He mentions FEMA and Miers, but there are more. There's Immigration and Prescription drugs and No Child Left behind as well...and each of these serve to remind us that Conservatism is only as effective as the leaders WE entrust with pushing the Conservative agenda forward.
This election cycle is, yet again, a double-edged sword; on the one hand we have a Presidential nominee that many suggest is not Conservative enough and some of these arguments are fair and valid. But we also have House and Senate races to consider. Much of the damage that's been done to the Conservative movement lies at the feet of our leadership in Congress, and it is in large part because of our own "misplaced trust."
Every Republican Politician wants to be a Conservative, but not every one of them acts that way on a consistent basis...nor are they pursued diligently enough by their constituents to hold them TO those campaign commitments. Going forward, we must stop taking them at their word. As Ben suggests in the wind-down:
Unearned trust begets scandal and betrayal
adding that Conservatism "will only survive as a coherent movement if it embraces the reality that conservatism is larger than the politicians who invoke its principles."
To be an activism-oriented movement again, we're going to have to "trust, but verify." This can be done, but it needs to be done soon.
Ben gets the last word:
To move forward, the new right must learn the lesson from the Scott McClellans of the world, and put capitalism to the side on this one point: conservatism is not for sale.