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Real Conservatism Is About Principles, Not Personalities

February 15, 2010

It was an odd week for a staunch conservative to be in agreement with Barack Obama. In the wake of Republican Scott Brown's dramatic Senate victory in Massachusetts, Democrat leaders were stunned and shaken. But as usual, they quickly gathered themselves and coordinated a strategy of interpreting Brown's election in terms that they hoped would minimize damage to their agenda. And this effort was led, of course, by Obama himself.

In keeping with this ploy, the Narcissist in Chief attempted to proffer the absurd notion that somehow, a hard-right turn in Massachusetts was actually a ringing endorsement of him. According to Obama, "The same thing that swept Brown into office swept me into office." And for those who might have missed his meaning he added, "People are angry and they are frustrated. Not because of what's happened in the last year or two years, but what's happened over the last eight years."

Nevertheless, the lone grain of truth in Obama's statement vastly overshadows his transparent attempts at obfuscation and self-aggrandizement. The towering reality of this situation is that his ascendancy did not result in any way from those overblown speeches of the last year or two (Obama's empty promises of "hope and change") but from a public rejection of the general national course plotted by President Bush and those all-too-compliant Republican "moderates" in the Senate and House.

Neither the 2006 mid-term Democrat gains nor the 2008 electoral catastrophe represented any national shift to the left. Rather, they embodied a widespread backlash against a Republican Party that had done too little to combat such treacherous ideas. On one major issue after another, from outrageous spending binges (which admittedly, now seem minuscule in comparison to the abominable fiscal excesses of the Obama/Reid/Pelosi cabal) to the attempts at granting amnesty and defacto citizenship to the twelve million plus illegal aliens, to the abject abandonment of constitutional principle in implementing campaign finance "reform," Heartland America felt completely betrayed and forsaken by virtually the entirety of the GOP.

Republican majorities in both houses, supported by a Republican President, simply should not have allowed such legislative atrocities to occur. Yet the Beltway-insider mindset prevailed over traditional Republican principle, and the sentiments of those lowly peasants in the hinterlands were cast aside. So in November of 2006, and again in 2008, angry and disenfranchised voters responded in kind on Election Day. But lest anyone misrepresent their motivation, the conservative upsurge of the past year should have dispelled every doubt as to the true sentiments of those at the grassroots.

The "Tea Party" movement, mocked and maligned by Democrat mouthpieces and their media minions, is alive and well. Traditional America, seeing its heritage being obliterated and the constitutional foundations of the nation decimated, is rising up and making known its resolve to restore such things for itself and its posterity. "Politics as usual," either from the Democrats or the Republicans, which translates into societal breakdown and the institution of the "nanny state" (either on the fast track or one that is somewhat slower, depending on party) has been soundly rejected.

At this crucial time, it is imperative that the authors of this movement remain steadfastly committed to principle, and not be swayed by prominent personalities. And at such a time, it is not surprising that Arizona Senator and former Presidential candidate John McCain is among the attempted "hangers on." But what did come as an enormous shock and disappointment was the willingness of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to aid in this subterfuge.

Up for re-election this year, McCain suddenly found himself in a truly contested primary race against former Republican Congressman and conservative powerhouse J.D. Hayworth. By all rights, McCain has committed more than enough treachery against conservatism to warrant a voter-sponsored retirement. And it is inarguable that, on an issue-by-issue comparison, Hayworth is much more closely aligned to Palin than McCain has ever been. So for Palin to labor on behalf of McCain's reelection effort represents a devastating blow against those principles.

Even more reprehensible is what this episode says of McCain's abject disingenuousness as a politician. By calling on Palin at this time, he proves his knowledge of what resonates with voters, and what adjustments to his reputation would help his electoral bid. Yet that is an image that Hayworth, not McCain, actually deserves. Were McCain to be honest with his base and consistent with his past, he would instead have asked Joe Liebermann, a Connecticut liberal, or Arlen Specter, the former "RINO" now turned Democrat Senator from Pennsylvania, to visit Arizona and burnish his image for the voters. For it is with their likes that McCain's true sympathies lie.

Sarah Palin has received nothing but vitriol from liberal Democrats in both parties, including many from McCain's own staff. Even members of his own family have expressed complete contempt for the precepts that define her. Conversely, real America has ignored such derision and consistently rallied in support of her.

For whatever allegiance she feels towards the man who reluctantly chose her as a vice-presidential running mate (his first preference was Liebermann), Palin offers her loyalty at great expense to the very movement of grassroots conservatism sweeping the nation that she so eloquently sought to advance in her Nashville speech on February 6.

America will have lost a great opportunity, both in real substance and symbolic significance, if Hayworth loses to McCain in the Arizona Primary. And with so much hanging in the balance, Palin needs to be publicly asked which of her guiding principles align more closely with McCain as opposed to Hayworth, and therefore how a McCain re-election would benefit her vision for the nation.

Ultimately, as the reality of that event (if it does indeed transpire), and Palin's complicity in it, sinks in with the American people, it is her own connection to them that will have been fatally undermined. Those fighting to restore the freedom and goodness of this nation will have no other choice but to move beyond this breach of trust, and remain committed to their principles, or face a potentially insurmountable setback to their effort.

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Copyright ©2010 Christopher G. Adamo

Christopher G. Adamo is a resident of southeastern Wyoming and has been involved in state and local politics for many years. He writes for several prominent conservative websites, and has written for regional and national magazines. He is currently the Chief Editorial Writer for The Proud Americans, an advocacy group for America’s seniors, and for all Americans. His contact information and article archives can be found at www.chrisadamo.com, and he can be followed on Twitter @CGAdamo.