Up Frum Conservatism Pt. II

I began this thread addressing the issue of Conservatives that were acting neither ?conservatively? nor even making any attempt to reconcile the many factions forming in the movement.? Mr. David Frum was the person I used as the vanguard of this particular predisposition mainly because of the advent of his NewMajority.Com.? Also, I found his name a delightful play on words and figured it would be appreciated by those of my acquaintances that were, and still are, William F. Buckley fans.? Mainly it was the former point that I sought to address, because I felt like I was bearing witness to a growing faction within the Conservative movement that sought to ?reform Conservatism? as though it were a party to be reformed.? It is slightly comical to me, that anyone calling themselves a Conservative can think this way if they are aware of Mr. Russell Kirk?s laments on the issue of conservatism as a movement in a party.? Conservative is a state of mind, being a Republican is a vehicle.? You cannot reform Conservatism, therefore what I believe Mr. Frum truly intends to do is to re-brand it as ?Republicanism.??

??????????? Conservatives and Republicans alike feel slighted by the recent regime that left power a mere six months prior.? Conservatives are of course divided further into the various principles they adhere to.? Neoconservatives are much kinder to President Bush, and easily ready the defenses against the gauntlet of attacks from Paleoconservatives, libertarians, liberals and mainstreamers.? Talk about President Obama?s ?blank slate,? President Bush was a champion of natural rights for those around the world by some; the advocate of unmitigated military expeditions by others.? He was a New World Order member hell bent on the destruction of the state sovereign in favor of a North American Union; and he was the Carl Schmittian disciple that put state above all and practiced the true international form of politics with a Hobbesian approach to state affairs and reckless disregard for the UN and international community.? He was an unapologetic radical Conservative by moderates; and a tax-cut and spend moderate Republican by Conservatives.? One got a very similar George W. Bush speaking to leftist rappers like Immortal Technique as they did rightist Conspiracy nuts like Alex Jones.? A convoluted portrait, as if Picasso were hired to have painted it to adorn the halls of the White House (I imagine something like this, you know, representing a Cowboy hat and such); A momentous digression, but interesting to point out to ?Bush Haters? nonetheless.? Either way, to be conservative is a reference of mind while being a Republican is the vehicle for action.? Mr. Frum and others on NewMajority seem to want to turn conservatism into something it?s not at the national level: a party.

??????????? Mr. Frum?s, and others?, actions are not malicious in that they are trying to ruin conservatism as some would suggest.? The NewMajority site claims to want to build a ?conservatism that can win again,? taking the bite out of standing on principles, and turning conservatism into a pragmatic arm of the Republican Party.? Here in lies Mr. Frum?s misunderstanding because as I have said before, Conservatism is a state of mind for people that may occupy the Republican or Democratic Parties (it happens to make up more of the Republican Party than Democratic, though I cannot see how one reconciles their conservatism with the Democratic Party of today as Henry ?Scoop? Jacksons or Zell Millers could in their day).? Conservatism, per se, is claimed by those who abhor it as an ideology.? It is contra to that notion, because conservatism was supposed to be the anti?ideal.? Conservatism is not a neat package.? At times I find people trying to argue this to Mr. Frum, or others on his website; but their plights seemingly fall on deaf ears.? They argue that they stand on principles, but the Republicans ask them to make their principles more malleable, ask for Conservatives to be more Republican because Republicans can win.? That?s like saying ?if you outlaw guns, only outlaws have guns.?? Yes, the only the Republicans can win because they are part duex currently of a two-party system.? But Republicans have been losing as of the past half a decade, which has caused a stir and focused the limelight on the Conservative movement that led the party to its zenith since its inception.? The prescription for Republicans? recent ill-health has been to blame the Conservatives and try to get Conservatives to ?open up;? which is the wrong strategy.

??????????? One could go on about the policies under President Bush and the then-controlled Republican congress, and how they did not live up to Conservatives? expectations and it cost the Republicans.? I will spare you the lecture, as there is little of that horse?s decayed carcass left to beat.? Rather, to borrow a term from my dear friend Tom, I will take the route of a ?forward-looking Conservative? and expound on my last paragraph by reaching back and taking some of the past principles that deserve to come with us into the new millennium.? There are two tenets to the Conservative movement that are strong and can help the Republican Party gain prominence (maybe not a majority, but being steamrolled by an Executive-Legislative tyranny of the majority is time and space we currently inhabit, and frankly it sucks): fiscal Conservatism and Social Conservatism.?

??????????? Fiscal Conservatism is a boring topic in my eyes.? Economics is a rambunctious beast that can be tamed through myriad means.? It is circumscribed by the actions of the market forces, or by government.? One keeps it chained so that it can move about within the confines of an open space while still being contained within the boundaries set by other outside forces so it cannot run off.? The latter keeps the beast caged; unable to attain any inkling of freedom, it is stifled by the iron confines of government completely.? During the last generation, we saw that the forces that generally tend to keep economics chained in the yard let the Cujo loose because they felt his total freedom and depravity would lead to unmitigated growth and prosperity.? Cujo was his by a truck.? Now our economy occupies the oppressive cage in the vet clinic, while Dr. Obama and his Technicians seek a treatment.? There is a complete lack of freedom now, which will not help our situation either because our economy will not grow at all.? Furthermore, our President has decided to overzealously pursue all of the drastic changes he campaigned for in his first year while he has the most political capital.? This has brought out the fiscal conservative in the average citizen.? Anderson Cooper can make sexual jokes about the Tea Parties, and ?conservatives? can deride the Tea Party protestors all they want; but there is a spirit and a fight in these people that can help the party.? Recent trends demonstrate a growing unease regarding President Obama?s spending and budget, and a new Gallup Poll shows that Americans are becoming increasingly conservative regarding the size and power of the national government.? This Gallup Poll released other preliminary numbers showing more Americans classifying themselves as ?Conservative? which now hovered at 40%, and David Frum was quick to squelch our optimism with his The Week piece? in which he makes the important argument that 40% won?t win elections.? He leaves out that we witnessed an impressive growth in self described ?Conservatives? at a time when the label and brand have been lambasted by the liberal media since 2006.? The Conservatives in the Republican Party need to act Conservative about spending, and the problems that arise from this are two fold: 1) history has not erased the fact that Republicans spent like drunken-sailors under President Bush and 2) it makes us the ?party of ?no??.? It is important that men and women like Mr. Frum continue doing what they are best at, molding Republican policies to be more Conservative.? How can we accomplish what we want by spending less, or incentivizing better behavior??

??????????? The second ?type? of conservatism was the one that took the most grief by their counterparts in the movement (libertarians) and liberals alike: the social Conservatives.? Being socially conservative can be broadly defined, but we imagine white bible-thumpers from the south.? While a lot of white southerners demonstrate a deep attachment to their faith and abiding by the teachings of that faith, we cannot let social conservatism be defined this way.? What about the black families that have strong values and a sense of tradition?? What about Hispanics who tend to be Catholic and also possess phenomenal family values?? There are a lot of pundits that dwell on hating social conservatives and deriding the party for failing to rake in more non-WASPs, but fall short in addressing the problem of attracting minorities on a foundation of social conservatism and family values.? Another Gallup Poll demonstrated America?s move into a Pro-Life direction, more Americans were self described as Pro-Life over Pro-Choice for the first time ever.? This is despite the fact that it is inherently an up-hill battle for a ?pro-life? movement because of our basic beliefs in curtailing what we view as government intrusiveness.? Nevertheless, people are deciding that protecting the concept of ?life? is a part for government even in this sense, and the increase came among Republicans and Moderates.? Also, there is something to be said about the Proposition 8 vote in California.? I have still managed to find an article that attempts to spin the Prop 8 outcome as some ?Republican surge to keep gays from marrying? and give no credit to the vote attributed by minorities.? As a matter of fact, the entire article is dedicated to snuffing out the African American vote by stating well they only make up ten percent of the population anyway.? Never mind that 70% of blacks voted for Prop 8, and furthermore, Latinos also supported the measure according to a Public Policy Institute poll; this in a state that voted 61% to 37% in Barrack Obama?s favor.?

??????????? Conservatism can be an inclusive tent, we need to find the ways and means to include people that don?t mean surrendering our ideals though.? This is not about ?reforming conservatism? because it cannot be reformed; the Republican Party can be reformed, but the drive to stand ?athwart history yelling ?stop?? and fighting for the principles or traditions you hold dear is a different story.? I believe that the Republican Party can be inclusive, but it needs to remember who the party people are and who the Conservatives are.? We need to be better about arguing our points and reaching out.? Not ostracizing anyone who crosses us as is accused of some radio-show hosts, and certainly not by abandoning what makes us conservative in the first place by pragmatists and Party loyalists.? We need to preach a good sermon, and more importantly, we need to practice what we preach.? If you build a strong Republican Party on a foundation of rights and justice, we can unify conservatives of all races, creeds and religions.? Our conservative impulses are not something to transcend, but something to embrace.?

?

-rj

Comments are closed.