All Sorts of Things

Random posts on all sorts of things designed to inform and provoke.

2012 US Presidential Elections: Wherefore Art Thou, Legitimate Conservative Candidate?

As the US presidential election season lurches towards its inevitable and welcome conclusion, politicos are spending their limited free time and rapidly declining eyesight on evaluating every minutiae of this glorious season. As the two candidates engage in a battle of unsubstantiated allegations and ridiculously pandering behavior, it’s easy to distinguish between the true enthusiasm exhibited by President Obama’s believers versus the true-ish one displayed by Governor Romney’s supporters. Many old-timers will recognize this behavior from 2004 when Senator McCain also generated similar support among rank and file Republicans.

I purposely did not use the term conservative in describing the governor’s support base because while President Obama is the candidate of the liberals, Governor Romney is a candidate of the Republican Party and not the conservative establishment. The conservative establishment hasn’t had a true representative since President George Bush (Reagan’s Vice President and not the Vice President’s son). Indeed, the loss of that President Bush to the rockstar, William Jefferson Clinton, triggered a tsunami within the Republican Party following which the party of small government became a party of morality and religion – witness the recent Republican argument that they are more American because they mentioned God more times during their convention than the Democrats; the unpatriotic Democrats mentioned the war in Afghanistan more times but everyone knows God is more important than American soldiers.

The problem with being a party of morality and religion is that it necessitates government intrusion in “every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse.” The only rooms the Republican Party won’t enter are those occupied by the liberals – emission standards, business ethics, healthcare responsibility, etc. This Republican attitude is against the nature of the conservative movement, which believes in a small federal government but also in paying its own way i.e. increasing taxes to pay down debt and not depending on rich people peeing jobs on poor folks (i.e. trickle-down economics). A true conservative has to walk out of a room in which a political party vehemently fights against raising taxes on millionaires while angrily opposing any cuts to over 50 percent of the federal expenditure; no wonder the Republican Party has to mention God so many times, only a miracle can make this kind of plan work.

The tragedy is that there are enough smart conservatives in the Party and their message can resonate with the general populace but the takeover of the social conservatives has left these true conservatives wandering in the wilderness. This raises the question of whether someone like Ronald Reagan would have been elected to represent the current Republican Party and makes the following lament even more tragic: Oh, true conservative, wherefore art thou!

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