Saturday, January 09, 2010

A Conservative Viewpoint
- GOP Resurgence In 2010?

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

A new study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reveals surprising differences between Republicans and Democrats on issues of spirituality and supernatural phenomenon, including astrology.

Only 14 percent of Republicans at least somewhat rely on the positions and aspects of heavenly bodies to predict or have an influence on the future, while nearly one third of Democrats embrace the practice. Either way one doesn’t have to be a Galileo to understand that the political landscape is ripe for a seismic shift to the right in this year’s mid-term elections.

President Barack Obama and the Democrats swept into office in 2008 when most Republicans in Washington (ironically many of the same group of conservative legislators that saved Bill Clinton’s presidency) lost their fiscal compass and became monetary miscreants. They had plenty of help from their Democratic brethren, but the GOP controlled all branches of government through 2006, and thus had no one to blame but themselves for their resounding defeat. Conservative and moderate voters felt betrayed by their fiscal excess.

One would think there was a lesson to be learned by both parties from the Bush years. It appears Republicans have taken note. Democrats, always willing to push the envelope when it comes to spending, apparently have not. They continue to blame Bush for all that ails us and in fact intend to use that strategy in the upcoming elections. It won’t work.

Obama and the Democrats were elected 14 months ago to fix the mess in Washington but instead they have only managed to make matters worse. Their reckless “largesse” is jeopardizing this nation’s economic prosperity, liberty, morality and super-power status. In fact, things are so bad, that most polls show Democrats trailing Republicans from six to nine percent on the mythical generic ballot-a polling question that asks voters, “If the election were held today would you support a Republican candidate or a Democrat?” This is the same Republican Party that one year ago the media reported dead and buried.

Democrats are beginning to head toward the exits. Senators Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota are calling it quits rather than face an angry electorate. Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who cast the deciding vote to pass the Senate’s heath care bill, is trailing his Republican challenger by 31 points in their 2012 senatorial match up. With the Democrats unpopular and failed stimulus, unemployment still in double digits, anger over the health care bill, breaches to national security, a convoluted foreign policy and national debt spiraling into the stratosphere, more retirements may be forthcoming.

In the House there are members of both parties also opting for a one way ticket home. Republicans are having little problem finding a plethora of quality candidates willing to replace members of their own party who are retiring as well as those willing to challenge incumbent Democrats. However any Republican road to redemption will not be without its own challenges. Its brand image has been diminished and there is a great deal of infighting between conservatives and moderates to see who will ultimately wrest control of the party. Many of these skirmishes will be played out in primaries that are certain to provide ammo to beleaguered Democrats fighting to retain power.

There is another factor that could throw a monkey wrench into the GOP’s optimistic outlook. Democrats believe that the Tea Party grassroots activists will limit Republican gains in 2010. While the movement has no official spokesperson, a convention is planned for later this year with Sarah Palin as the headliner. The Tea Party, once a liberal laughingstock, is now referred to by New York Times columnist David Brooks as “a major force in American politics.”

Many of the Tea Party members I have spoken with and others who I’ve heard interviewed expect to be supporting the GOP this year, but it’s early and anything can happen. Conservative Republicans along with like minded Democrats and independents comprise the bulwark of the movement. These folks readily identify with the politics of Ronald Reagan and not with those of Barack Obama and his progressive counterparts.

Should the Republican Party stray once more from its conservative principles as they did in 2001, all bets are off for 2012. Instead, it’s likely that a formidable third party would emerge, possibly ending forever our two-party system of government. But for now at least, it appears the stars are aligning with the GOP. Like the mythical Phoenix, it appears set to rise from the ashes.

As I have noted on several occasions, I see a problem with the sanctimonious belief by many "conservatives" that their way is the only way. This leads them to believe that conservatism itself can be defined as other self identified conservatives agreeing with them on the issues. Few people have a clue what the polls mean when they indicate conservatives are far more numerous than liberals (or progressives as they like to call themselves now) since conservatives do not have a clue what being a conservative means and thus the word has little shared understanding.

Are you a conservative if you embrace the big government, big spending domestic policies of George W. Bush, just because you think that life begins at conception?

Are you NOT a conservative if you believe you are pro life, but you make room for abortion in the situations of rape and incest?

Are you a conservative if you believe that America should mind its own business and allow the leaders of other nations to wage genocide against their neighbors?

Are you NOT a conservative if you believe that the individual freedom guaranteed by our Constitution means you cannot tell others how to raise their children, even if you disagree with the way they do it?

The term conservative has become a meaningless joke. The poll results support that. The Presidency of George W. Bush supports that.

I find it bizarre that people who support the libertarian ideas of Ronald Reagan are told to get out of the Republican Party and are ridiculed as RINOs by people who are so ignorant of what Reagan believed that will reject specific historical examples of their conflict with his beliefs.

An example of the lack of clarity about the forces in play is the statement in Bob's article above that "there is a great deal of infighting between conservatives and moderates". What about libertarians Bob? Conservatives are not fighting with only one side of their party. They are fighting moderates on the left and libertarians on their right. The refusal by conservatives to even acknowledge the anti government forces represented by libertarians on their right does not indicate to me that they learned the lessons of the last 8 years at all.

You are not a conservative just because you call yourself one.


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