Thursday, February 7, 2008

Republicans Have Nowhere to Go

By Alan Caruba

People who regard themselves as real conservatives have nowhere to go between now and Election Day.

This is not to say they should not vote Republican, but it is to acknowledge that John McCain is in almost every way the antithesis of conservatism. Other than his support for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan against the Jihadists, there is virtually nothing in his resume that recommends conservative support.

What this suggests is that the coalition of Christian evangelicals, fiscal conservatives, and supporters of a strong military, with the exception of the last category, do not really have a candidate. The Republican Party deserted them years ago and, with President Bush in office, mirrored the spending excesses, the entitlement programs, and expansion of the federal government that we associate with Democrats.

When the historians look back, they will tick off programs such as No Child Left Behind, the expansion of Medicare to include pharmaceutical entitlements, the out of control use of “earmarks” to spend $100 billion during the Bush years, and a host of other reasons to explain the disenchantment of the conservative political movement, the party’s base.

It’s useful to remember that, for a very long time, the Democrat Party had a very strong conservative base as well. It used to be the South. When conservatives left the Party, it devolved into a home for radical environmentalists, pacifists, and for all the ills we associate with socialism.

A modern conservative Republican Party began with Barry Goldwater in the 1960s and culminated with Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. The presidency of George H.W. Bush was the first sign of its demise, followed by eight years of Bill Clinton. George W. Bush fashioned himself to be “a compassionate conservative”, whatever that meant. He was, within months of taking office, a wartime President and has been ever since.

Mitt Romney, in his farewell speech, correctly noted that America is at war. It has been difficult for me to discern any anxiety over that fact other than that associated with how long it would take for America to quit the Middle East and its global mission to hold back the tides of fanaticism and fascism.

Whoever will be the Democrat candidate will take the nation back to the bad old days of Woodrow Wilson and Herbert Hoover.

As someone who has made the journey from mindless liberal to serious conservative, I cannot say at this point what I will do on Election Day. Perhaps I will just mourn the passing of the Republican Party? Or perhaps I will try to take comfort in the belief that a reinvigorated conservative movement will rise from the ashes on that day?

For now, I will watch to see what the conservative talk show hosts and other leaders of the conservative movement have to say. Will they, for the party, for the nation, embrace the candidacy of Sen. McCain? Stranger things have happened.

Indeed, the February 7 CPAC response to McCain's speech was notable for the warm reception it received, suggesting that the political pragmatists in the Republican Party may have decided that Sen. McCain represents their only chance to retain control of the White House. This thought was surely in the mind of those who voted twice for George W. Bush and only in 2006 withheld support for the GOP after years of disappointment.

The prospect of either Sen. Clinton or Sen. Obama in the Oval Office may be sufficient to insure the embrace of Sen. McCain.

Whatever happens, I surely do not have a good feeling about the years ahead.


Mike Vande Voort said...

as a conservative, I can vote for the democratic nominee and accomplsh the following;

1. register my complaint with the Republican party, such as it is
2. put an known quantity in the white house as opposed to a faux conservative, who can fool most of the people some of the time
3. Republicans did a better job when Bill Clinton was president,
maybe they will improve their performance under another democratic president

tell me I'm wrong, the down side looks about the same either way

Alan Caruba said...

Republicans did better because, in 1994, the voters rejected Clinton and Democrat policies by turning control over Congress to the GOP.

In the end, I would vote for McCain because the prospect of either Hillary or Obama portends serious damage to the economy, defense, and a society based on long-held Judeo-Christian social beliefs.

I fully expect to be disappointed if he is elected, but except for his decision after 9/11, I have been disappointed by Bush43 too.

joshMshep said...

And now... we conservatives are faced with a decision.

The talk of Pat Robertson endorsing Rudy Giuliani now means nothing (not that it ever did!)

Neither does anyone care about the wide evangelical support that Mitt Romney won over.

We now have, on the left, Senator John McCain whom Dr. James Dobson says "is not a conservative, and in fact, has gone out of his way to stick his thumb in the eyes of those who are. He has sounded at times more like a member of the other party." John McCain promotes amnesty for illegal immigrants, he called Samuel Alito "too conservative" (a good indication of the judges he would appoint), he supports embryonic stem-cell research, and he has little regard for freedom of speech.

On the right: Governor Mike Huckabee, with 10 years of experience governing, a staunch pro-life record, and a proven force for defending marriage and religious liberties. During those 10 years, he reduced welfare roles by 50%, returned $400 million to taxpayers, and was called "One of America's Best Governors" by TIME Magazine.

Governor Huckabee's platform calls for secure borders, supporting the military, and reining in the rising costs of healthcare and energy through practical, market-driven methods.

And today, there is finally justice as Dr. Dobson endorses Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Conservatives need to back Governor Mike Huckabee for the good of our nation. Or do we have Hillary or Obama fans out there?

The lack of enthusiasm for Huckabee is baffling and, frankly, a betrayal of a man who has faithfully served his country--with conservative principles guiding his every step.

Can conservatives of all stripes unite around what we're FOR, rather than what we're AGAINST? If so, our values just might be represented in the White House come '09.

If we just want to sulk on the sidelines of this political race, then forget it. Let the 4 years of disaster begin, as some commentators have put it.

Vote Huckabee! And support his campaign!
Republicans actually do have somewhere to go.


acitizen said...

Republicans do have a choice - a true conservative who is has the answer - to return to the U.S. Constitution - Ron Paul -

Lost Conservative said...

One of the other stellar legacies of G.W. is the ill-conceived of the largest bureaucracies in the U.S. gov't. With the stroke of a pen he added 43,000 people to the public payroll, with the attendant benefits and pensions of federal workfare members. That, to me, is the single biggest disgrace of the George W. Bush presidency.