The Narrow Path To Reviving Conservatism
November 24, 2008
By Christopher G. Adamo, www.chrisadamo.com
In their typically duplicitous fashion, Republican "moderates" who orchestrated this latest electoral catastrophe are once again blaming the lingering vestige of conservatism in the McCain campaign as the factor that ultimately doomed its prospects. This forked-tongue political ploy is certainly nothing new, but instead represents the standard tactics of the Republican moderates whenever they assert their presence within the Party. Move to the left, attempt to be as much like the Democrats as possible (ostensibly at a lower cost), and then blame conservatism when voters reject the scam.
To nobody's surprise, liberal Democrats are always eager to assist in the disinformation campaign, especially since those perennially gullible "moderates" are far more willing to embrace the philosophies of the left than anything from the right. Following every election in which RINO thinking dominates, Republican "moderates" join with the Democrats in pointing out who among the party's "extreme right" bears responsibility for the loss.
For decades, this pattern has worked well for liberals, so they have no need to abandon it now. If Republican insiders can be repeatedly duped into fearing and denying their party's strengths while embracing its liabilities, the party can be kept off balance and in minority status, despite a firm resonance of the conservative message with the American people whenever it is offered.
Americans clearly expressed their reason for abandoning the senior George Bush in 1992. In reneging on his "Read my lips. No new taxes." pledge, he broke faith with the American people, sought instead to pursue "bipartisanship" with Democrats, and proved himself to not be a man of his word. According to the Democrats, the 1992 campaign was all about "the economy stupid." Yet in the immediate aftermath of Bill Clinton's victory (with a mere forty-three percent of the vote), America was informed in no uncertain terms that the entire election was a referendum on abortion, and a clear rejection of the pro-life message.
Similarly, the insipid campaign of Bob Dole started out on life support, as a result of his abominable capitulation to Clinton in the 1995 budget deal. Such Washington-Insider thinking from Dole resonated no better with Middle America than had Bush's waffling. Moreover, Dole's attempts to broaden the base by distancing himself from Christian conservatives only served to alienate them from banalities of the GOP establishment.
Running against an incumbent president, and carrying a banner of blandness that could make Al Gore look exciting, Dole's loss was easily predictable. Yet just as predictably, upon his defeat the Republican "moderates" who had defined the Dole campaign finally found a voice with which to castigate and criticize the perceived saboteurs, as typified by conservative stalwart Phyllis Schlafly.
History has properly characterized the 1960s as the era of traditional America's cultural downfall and concurrent ascendancy of the political left. Yet the modern political class is intent on ignoring the fact that from that time to the present day, glaringly obvious and absolutely consistent a pattern of success and failure has emerged.
Over the past four decades, the political fortunes of Republican presidential candidates can be directly correlated to their perceived conservatism. Ronald Reagan, the most conservative, was without a doubt also the most successful. In contrast, the Gerald Ford, Bob Dole, and now John McCain entries have been a collective disaster.
George Bush forty-one represented the most ideal test case. Having initially ridden on Reagan's coattails, he handily defeated Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis in 1988. Yet upon his inauguration, he immediately signaled his intention to water down Reagan's successful though often controversial struggle to advance the conservative agenda. By late 1991, and despite his successful prosecution of the first Gulf War, George Bush's political future was in jeopardy. When perceived as a conservative, he had triumphed. But upon his disavowal of that perception, the voters abandoned him.
This year, though the stakes are likely to be much higher, the problem and its proper fix remain essentially as they have been. In a glum Republican political landscape that has demoralized and dispirited conservative voters by the millions, one bright spot shone. Alaska Governor Sarah Palin brought the first glimmer of voter enthusiasm to the Republican ticket since its presidential candidate had been determined. Nevertheless, among moderates, she is the face of the real enemy.
Republican strategists had desperately attempted throughout the spring and summer to make political hay out of Barack Obama's numerous failings. Unfortunately, on virtually every front, John McCain's own closet was rife with its own corresponding "skeletons."
Indeed, Obama would appoint activist judges to the high courts. But McCain had led the "band of seven" Republican Senate sellouts who had collaborated with Democrats to undermine the judicial confirmation process.
Obama promised to exploit the hoax of "global warming" to hamstring United States industry while severely curtailing the nation's standard of living. Though McCain eventually attempted to distance himself from the dire consequences of a political agenda founded on radical environmentalism, he accepted the premise of man-made global warming and offered his own version of an over-reaching governmental response to it.
Obama has repeatedly displayed his complete contempt for the sovereignty and integrity of this nation, while lauding foreigners and even America's enemies as "citizens of the world." Though a flag-waving American, McCain's plans for accommodating illegal immigration would have yielded the exact same erosion of the American culture.
Obama built "bridges" with Hamas and other hostile foreign entities, and maintained friendships with the likes of black-separatist clergyman "Reverend" Jeremiah Wright and terrorist/subversive Bill Ayers. Yet McCain had made his own alliances with the Mexican subversive organization "La Raza" (The Race) that severely strained his credibility with Heartland America.
On the tax issue, Obama's outlandish plans to implement creeping socialism could have sunk his campaign, had McCain remained true to his past proclamations and opposed the "mother of all earmarks" known as the "bailout" of the home mortgage business. Once again, McCain proved himself to be the candidate of the Washington establishment and "business as usual."
So of course it was Sarah Palin's courageous down-to-earth conservatism that, we are now incessantly being told, Americans found noxious in the McCain political camp and which they flatly rejected on November 4.
In truth, when Palin and her kind are unleashed, they generate the level of grassroots enthusiasm that won the White House in 1980 and 1984, and took the Congress by storm in 1994. Meanwhile, the media will howl. The Republican insiders will scoff. And the Democrats will once again insist that the GOP has embarked on a "suicidal political course." Nevertheless, the conservative leader who displays the real and necessary backbone to brave such an onslaught, while remaining true to principle, can rally real America and pull it back from the bleak precipice on which it currently totters.