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What it is to be conservative

September 29, 2009 - John Stack


Its hard these days to actually define what is a Conservative. Was George Bush a conservative? A social conservative? For sure. What about a fiscal conservative? Well, he did cut taxes. But, I don’t think conservativism is really about cutting taxes, but more of a ‘less government’ type of ideal. In this, Bush failed miserably. Also, he increased the national debt 6 trillion while in office. Not conservative. Somehow, the Iraq war is part of the conservative agenda. The only (and I admit biased) rationale seems to be to prop up big business, like Haliburton, Blackwater and Mobil Oil.

            Mostly though, it seems the American Conservative movement is defined more by those who want to define it (for their own political gain). But, to try and figure out what that is, is harder and harder. When one looks at right wing websites, talk shows and political commentary, it seems like the definition of more of what conservativism is not, rather than what it is.

            Former VP and Dark Ruler of the Sith, Dick Cheney (among others) has pledged that Rush Limbaugh is a better or more ‘real’ conservative than the likes of Bush or McCain. This, even though Rush rarely speaks of Conservative ideals, but more of bashing liberals and growing his market share of people who all ready hate the left.

            Mostly, it seems like anything President Obama does or says has got to not be conservative. Obviously, anything proposed by the Obama administration on Health Care Reform is Socialist, or worse. But its not conservative. But, what is the Conservative position? Status Quo? Only cover those who can afford it? Whatever is good for the insurance companies is good for America? I know the conservative position is not ‘the public option’. The conservative position is not ‘death panels’ (whatever that may be). The conservative position is not ‘make everyone get health care or they will be charged anyway’.         

            Part of the conservative position is a strong national defense. (Not that the Democratic position is ‘a weak national defense’, but that kind of gets lost in translation). How our presence in Iraq has to do with conservativism is still sketchy at best.

            The celebrity talking heads of the party do virtually nothing to advance conservative issues. Pit bull Ann Coulter makes all her money by attacking anything and anybody on radio, TV and print who is not conservative. But seems to have yet spoke about a conservative issue. The same is true for the bombastic Limbaugh. Beck and Hannity. They are great for firing up the masses AGAINST other people and ideas (birthers, death panels). Now with the death of William Rusher (Former editor of The National Review) there are few conservative speakers who can speak of the conservative movement without having to bash the opposite party to make their point.

            A perusal of the current conservative journal The National Review (Online) bears this out. One article is ‘What’s Hiding in the Health Care Bill’ by Mark Hemingway. Another mocks the presidents supposed intellectuals on staff in ‘The brainy Bunch’ by Thomas Sewell. Kevin Hassett’s article ‘Obama’s too-big-to-fail plan is too dumb to pass’. Not exactly the same as ‘The way health care reform SHOULD be done’. Finally is Byron York, a small step above the bottom feeding of Coulter, writing ‘Without Bush, media lose interest in military caskets. Another of the professorish bespectacled missives which neither further his agenda, nor the Conservative agenda, and apologizes for Bush but doesn’t seem to have any substance, but sounds like it might. Yeah, William Rusher is rolling over in his grave that this dandy replaced him on the Sunday Op-Ed page in the Press Republican.

            I think I know what a true conservative is. They believe a capitalistic driven society is favorable to a communistic system. They believe that religion is a great basis for morality. They believe the government shouldn’t be all-intrusive in everyday American lives. They believe less in tax cuts than they are against the growing of the public sector and entitlements (Bush missed this one big). But there are fiscal conservatives and social conservatives. A good portion of my friends are fiscal conservatives. Most of them though, are not social Conservatives.

            So, what really is the Conservative movement? Who will finally step up and take the mantle of expressing the Conservative way? Who will disdain the primary attack on the opponent, but move the alternative forward as the correct move?


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