Thursday, February 14, 2008

One More Slap

Its always difficult to admit to a shift in one's personal opinion.
That's why I'm not admitting to a shift in opinion.
A perspective shift is what I'll cop to, starting with the immigration furor over a year ago.
(I strongly suspect William Randolph Hearst of having stirred the whole thing up. Else explain the weary resignation of America to a porous border suddenly giving way to the out-of-the-blue frantic desperation. I shall state again that I am not opposed to fixing the problem. But I still think the sudden uproar is curious.)
All at once, I seemed to belong to, not so much a party, but an ideology, namely conservatism, that defined itself by one issue.
A reinforced border is a worthy goal, and the motivation for stopping the flow was largely well-intentioned, I think, but the din grew into a clamor such that a reasonable proposal offered by the president was labeled "amnesty."
To refresh your memory, the said proposal involved a fine leveled at illegals in the neighborhood of 6,000 dollars, retroactive collection of taxes, deportment for nine to fourteen years, a clean record for those nine to fourteen, successful background clearance, and a proficiency in English.
Then, and only then, could you attain legal citizenship.
If that's amnesty, then perhaps they've changed the meaning of the word and not told anyone.
But I digress.
Conservatives let their voice be heard. It was deafening.
I have not heard such a consensus on any other issue.
And that is precisely what began to nag at me.
I was willing to let it slide. Hey, what's a little jingoism among friends?
But the upcoming primary began to reveal another flaw in the conservative movement.
People calling themselves conservative supported Rudy Guliani for president and saw no incoherence in their own ideology.
Then as Guliani began his slide into history, following an ill-fated "don't sweat the small states" strategy, conservative punditry began to champion two other suspect candidates.
After the last three or four blogs, you may be thinking that I'm a little sore on the subject of talk radio.
Have patience. Maybe you never took these guys too seriously in the first place.
I think I took them more seriously than I should have.
I assumed they were coming from, and going in, the same direction I was headed.
Now whether the consensus of conservative punditry is the cause or the effect of the opinions of the majority of conservative voters out there, (I suspect the former) the fact is they were singing the song of a whole lot of people.
Aside from their exaggerration on McCain and Huckabee (Huckabee is a fire-breathing tax-raiser from Arkansas, thus a liberal, and McCain is no better, in some cases worse, than Hillary Clinton, in the opinion of a certain female columist who is long on shock value and short on substance) their praise of Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson was misleading.
Whether disingenuous or ignorant (I again suspect the former) the shut-out of all discussion about Mitt Romney's high-speed rotation on social issues and Fred Thompson's curt dismissal of past abortion lobbying was maddening.
They were true Reagan conservatives from way back. The seeds of Romney's stalwart Reaganism began to sprout as far back as 2004. Thompson appeared to be able to turn his off and on. But they were conservative by virtue of their position on immigration and big government. No mention of the social concerns that stem from the moral base that conservatism, I thought, was built upon.
My mistake.
Mike Huckabee, despite his numerous flaws, is a committed social conservative.
In the interest of clarity, could not the pundits have noted this, then pointed out his fiscal flaws and foreign policy hubris and let us make up our own minds?
Apparently not. He was a liberal. Because they said so.
Ronald Reagan combined morality with a strong distrust of big goverment and faith in capitalism and America. As far as I know, he never diminished social conservatism with an exclusionary emphasis on the other two legs of the stool.
In that sense, I guess Newt Gingrich was right.
The Reagan era really is over.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

The idea that John McCain is not conservative is painfully aggravating. For corpulent pundits like Limbaugh to blather on about McCain's liberal leanings, there must first be a calculated choice to avoid analysis of the issues. This is frustrating. Talking heads want to paint McCain as a lefty, citing his penchant for meeting democrats midway in order to effect legislation. How many times did we here Romney allude to "McCain-Feingold," or "McCain-Kennedy," or "McCain-Lieberman." I guess he thought McCain would just be found guilty by association. The truth is that all three of the above bills were, and still are, a breath of fresh air in the partisan stench that emanates from Washington. I would boldly state that McCain is the closest thing we've had to Reagan since Reagan himself. With Feingold he sought to reform campaign finance, limiting soft money as well as eradicating the option of eleventh hour ad campaigns, in which candidates could flood TV markets with all the way up to election day. With Kennedy, a very patriotic, yet humanitarian immigration legislation was posited. It was swatted down, to the chagrin of Bush. And the 9/11 Commission was formed thanks to McCain-Lieberman. McCain is conservative on all fronts; staunch pro-life in all 26 years of civil service; supports a ban on gay marriage, as well as so-called civil unions which seek to give the illusion of marriage; is very much a defense hawk; will not cripple effective health care with useless beauracitization; and, in perhaps what is his most Reagan-esque quality, is forever wary of big, obese government, with all its implications of ear-marking and pork barreling. McCain has railed against these last two throughout his career, and if elected is sure to make Bush's tax cuts of '01 and '03 permanent. Yes, I know that he originally stood in opposition of these, and, yes, I know that he labeled Falwell and Roberts as "agents of intolerance," but that does take away from the long-established record of a clear fiscal conservative, one who is best equipped to handle the threat of Islamic terrorism, which is "national security challenge of our time." No candidate truly "gets it" like McCain, and no candidate is more conservative.

Blake

Anonymous said...

http://projects.washingtonpost.com/2008-presidential-candidates/john-mccain/

Good info here, on all the candidates.

Blake

Bill said...

On the issue of immigration,President Bush has been attacked,as you mentioned in your blog,largely by conservatives.
"Conservative" talk show hosts Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter have spear-headed this effort to bring down what I consider to be one of America's greatest presidents. These "conservatives" and those who allow them to do their thinking for them have are guilty of killing their own wounded.