Conservatism Is Not For Sale

Regardless how much it's been rented out of late

By haystack Posted in | | | 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.

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How many people will sell their conservative soul for power or for their primary issue?

Every earmark betrays conservative principles. Is NCLB federalism? Community outreach? Better we have power (McCain) than stand for conservative values?

Member, American Conservative Party

if we cede power to the Liberal agenda we'll make a point to the Republican politicians...but WE will suffer the consequences. They'll go home and get a different job, and we'll be writing the checks.

To ruin the country in order to make a point with a handful of men and women that have lost their political way is foolish. It would be like putting a gun to your own head and saying "I'll" show YOU" as you pull the trigger.

No thanks...I'll work harder to find the right people over time, and keep my finger in the dyke, so to speak, in the short term until I do.

Iustum et tenacem propositi virum non civium ardor prava iubentium, non vultus instantis tyranni mente quatit solida.
-Quintus Horatius Flaccus

It's sure starting to look like long term to me, Bush 1, Bush 2, and now McCain for a possible total of 20 years worth of short term. Add in the 8 years of Clinton for advancing liberal/socialist policies and you have almost 3 decades worth of short term.

So how long is short term?

the country is more than the President. If we want a President from the GOP that is better than the ones you list...we need to get them into Congress long enough to learn the ropes. We're not just going to pull some guy or gal outta thin air-

We need to MAKE the next Presidents and Congresscritters. We're sure not going to accomplish that by making sure we lose until some "savior" presents themselves.

Iustum et tenacem propositi virum non civium ardor prava iubentium, non vultus instantis tyranni mente quatit solida.
-Quintus Horatius Flaccus

Good Question.

It will last until at least 3 things happen.

1) A truly conservative individual arises to lead the movement. Someone with the skill and ability of Ronald Reagan. I don't see anyone out there other than either Sarah Palin or Bobby Jindal who fits the bill. Regretably, they are about where Ronald Reagan was in 1960. Embryonic stage.

2) The Conservative Wing of THe Republican Party has to establish and rigorously defend an agenda that can win and logically fend off the scare tactics of the left.

3) Conservatives have to accept that the GOP is the best vehicle to advance Conseravatism. Not because it is particualarly conservative at present, but because it is the only vehicle that has ever been conservative and ever won anything.

Sorry I couldn't offer anything more cheerful. Have a great morning!

At a rate of 6,000 earmarks per spending bill, Speaker Pelosi is selling America's future to the special intrest groups.

1) A truly conservative individual arises to lead the movement. Someone with the skill and ability of Ronald Reagan. I don't see anyone out there other than either Sarah Palin or Bobby Jindal...

Leadership is not waiting for someone to lead. I am working with a group to act. We are working, for the time being, with the premise that we will support conservatives - not start a third party. Given the involvement of the people here, I am sure a majority are not JUST waiting for someone to step in, but the majority of conservatives ARE waiting for their Moses.

2) The Conservative Wing of THE Republican Party has to establish and rigorously defend an agenda that can win and logically fend off the scare tactics of the left.

Establish a set of principles and stick to them where ever they follow. Being more concerned with the outcomes - regardless of how - is not our way.

3) Conservatives have to accept that the GOP is the best vehicle to advance Conservatism.

Unfortunately, the engine is smoking, the transmission is stuck in reverse and the windshield has a dozen cracks (not as many as the 18million in the Democrats) in it. Saying it is the best vehicle is putting lipstick on the only pig in the sty.

Member, American Conservative Party

Success begat opportunists, opportunists gave us our problems.

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

"Land of the Free and Home of da Whopper" Peter Griffin...Family Guy

conform and celebrate diversity....or else!!!

The problem is that the vast majority of the Republican caucus in Congress are not movement conservatives. They, like most politicians, are "whatever they need to be to get reelected".

It's basic economics. Incentives work. So as long as they can keep getting reelected, they'll keep doing what they're doing, and will never change.

Of course, the correct time to try and enforce our will to keep them from getting reelected is in the primaries. But as the incumbents will always have the support of the party, that's basically a losing proposition. I doubt seriously that we can overcome the rate at which Congressmen elected as conservatives go native by primary victories alone.

So sooner or later we're going to have to blow things up and rebuild from the ground up. And you can certainly claim that this is not the year to do that, and I'm open to that, but my question would be "If not now, when?" We're going to be at war for the next 50 years at least, and we can't survive 50 more years of "progress" led by a Republican caucus that moves a little further to the left each year. There will always be judges that need cofirming. Our politicians will ensure that there are always crises that only they can "solve", to keep getting reelected.

So where is your line in the sand, haystack? How much further to the left can they move before you say 'this far, and no further'? If conservatives aren't willing to draw the line somewhere, the leftward movement will never stop.

those that participated weren't engaged in change, and now we have what we have going in to the general. And, as you say, for 2008 we're stuck.

I could have been sold on blowing up the GOP when faced with Hillary, but Obama forces that line in the sand to be moved..yet again.

Now? The next line has to wait til the, if we learn our lesson from 2006 AND the 08 primaries, maybe we'll have it right by the next round.

I can't stand the current state of affairs either, but putting party stuff aside, we can not afford Obama and what he brings to the table, whatever affiliation we might have or hope for.

I share your pain...I'm just not willing to shoot myself in the head because I have a sore bunion...
(excuse the weird analogy)

Iustum et tenacem propositi virum non civium ardor prava iubentium, non vultus instantis tyranni mente quatit solida.
-Quintus Horatius Flaccus

I did vote for Hillary in the Texas primary for exactly that reason. That, if we were going to be stuck with a Democrat president she was better than the alternative.

But I just get frustrated by the people who say that we always, without fail, should vote for the (R), no matter how unpalatable he is. Because there has to be a line in the sand, otherwise we will never stop our leftward march. It's reasonable to argue where the line should be, but, IMO, it's unreasonable to not have a line at all.

If we had a 'doctor' standing by, maybe a self induced heart attack would work?

Member, American Conservative Party

is an inherent contradiction, since politicians seek political office to exert political power. Political power is achieved by expanding government. So any politician who stays in power long enough will seek to augment his/her power and so act in a manner that is opposed to conservative principles. With that said, there is hope in the presidency, since the presidency is the only political office term limited at the federal level and the only office that represents the national interest by virtue of the a national election. It is therefore more important for the conservative movement to ensure the thorough vetting of GOP presidential nominees. Unfortunately, conservatives were overzealous this cycle to the point where we conservative were divided between Huckabee, Romney, and Thompson. In the confusion, McCain got the nomination. McCain is not conservative. When you look at the issues he should be running on to sweep this election, he is running with the left and not on the right. Its frustrating and I would rather McCain lose and open the way for a true conservative or a politician willing to run on a conservative platform in 2012, than for him to win and further expand government and set the conservative movement still further back.

So how do you feel about congressional term limits? I know plenty of people believe that term limits are unconstitutional, but at this point, I'm willing to do anything to get rid of these professional politicians.

there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress

but who is going to get that through? And if it is enacted, will it really change anything? Will it focus congressman more on the national interest or less? That is the strength and weakness of our system, that congressman and senators represent narrow interests more than they do the national interest. Only the executive branch (via the constitution) raises the congressional awareness of the national interest. That is why I place a greater premium on the White House for the cause of conservatism than on the Congress. Reagan (with a Democratic Congress) enacted many conservative agenda items and indeed more conservative agenda items, than did Newt Gingrich and the GOP congress in the 1990s.

Because ours is a consistent philosophy of government, we can be very clear: We do not have a social agenda, separate, separate economic agenda, and a separate foreign agenda. We have one agenda. Just as surely as we seek to put our financial house in order and rebuild our nation's defenses, so too we seek to protect the unborn, to end the manipulation of schoolchildren by utopian planners, and permit the acknowledgement of a Supreme Being in our classrooms just as we allow such acknowledgements in other public institutions.

Ronald Reagan, March 20, 1981
Speech to the American Conservative Union

I obviously am not in 100% agreement with Reagan - I doubt it is likely that ANY politician, no matter how fantastic, can be everything to anyone. I don't demand perfection, or even almost. What I do expect, even demand, is principles and a willingness to stick to them.

What say us?

Member, American Conservative Party

Conservatism is ultimately about humility. That's why "National Greatness Conservatism" and "Big Government Conservatism" make no sense.

However, I agree with Reagan that conservatism is conservatism. That doesn't mean everyone is equally conservative or that some people are not conservative in all areas. Nor does it mean we chase people aware who are not conservative in all areas.

It does mean that in terms of presidential politics, the Republican candidate should have some level of appeal to all three legs. The appeal should be based on conservatism, which a recognition that some voters will be attracted to particular policies and repulsed by others.

Of course I would be all for it. Any one thing like term limits might have a limited utility. But is you could get, let us say,
term limits, a balanced budget amendment, and a line item veto. all at the same time then it would make a huge difference.

But it's a pipe dream.

"Nothing works like freedom, Nothing succeeds like liberty"

Tracy, Reagan and FDT all get it.

"What I do expect, even demand, is principles and a willingness to stick to them."

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