Category Archives: conservatism

Where is the conservative movement?

I must admit that the outcome of the election has left me quite deflated. Our nation re-elected a President who has failed miserably to restore the economy, has added 6 trillion dollars to the debt, and has given us the job-killing, government-expanding monstrosity that is Obamacare. Moreover, Republicans failed to gain a majority in the Senate, but at least hung onto control of the House. The country seems to have given itself over to big government and government handouts. Thirteen million fewer Americans voted in the election as compared to 2008. Romney got three million fewer votes than McCain in 2008 signaling that voter apathy has crept into the GOP in the wake of the Tea Party revolution of 2010.

What happened to the Tea Party revolution that formed the backlash against Obama’s big government policies in the 2010 mid-terms? The so-called Tea Party Caucus was made up of 60 Republicans in the House. 32 of these voted in favor of raising the debt ceiling right along with their Washington counterparts. Add to that Romney’s less-than conservative track record (RomneyCare, support of TARP), his eagerness to involve America deeper into Middle Eastern conflicts, and his lack of any significant spending cuts and you give frustrated conservatives plenty of reasons to stay home on November 6th.

Rush Limbaugh made a curious remark on November 7th. He said that the GOP should try conservatism. While I don’t think Rush’s conservatism includes all the items in the liberty agenda, I agree whole-heartedly with the statement. There will always be a tendency for people to prefer government handouts to true liberty and individual responsibility, but the Tea Party movement and the Ron Paul Revolution proved that many would rally to the conservative call if the call truly involved reducing the size and scope of the federal government. While I came to support a Romney presidency over an Obama presidency because he was pro-life and pro-free-market, I think many conservatives were too disillusioned to choose yet another establishment republican. That being said, we missed the opportunity to exempt the States from Obamacare as Romney promised to do. We also lost the promised cuts to the business and income tax and the repeal of the death tax as well as a robust energy policy. Those actions would have greatly helped our economy to recover. Obama now believes his re-election is a mandate to raise taxes on the rich which will discourage investment and business expansion. However, the question remains of what havoc would have resulted from the hawkish stance of Romney on Afghanistan and Iran and his support for the unconstitutional Patriot Act and NDAA. We were caught between so many Scylla’s and Charybdis’s.

However, all is not lost. History can help us to put this tragic situation in perspective and formulate a plan to save this country. The Republican Party of today is largely a “Rockefeller” Republican Party. The term “Rockefeller Republican” is not used much today but it was used a lot in the 1960’s. It derives from Nelson Rockefeller, the famous grandson of oil billionaire John D. Rockefeller. Nelson had all the gifts of a political leader: looks, charm, intelligence, wealth. However, with all these gifts, he was a progressive and not a constitutional conservative. As Governor of New York from 1959 to 1973, Rockefeller greatly increased the size and scope of state government, raising taxes 8 times, increasing the budget from 2.04 billion to 8.8 billion by 1973, and increasing the state debt. His brand of Republicanism was sharply opposed by a growing conservative movement of which Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan were the standard bearers. With the defeat of Rockefeller by Goldwater for the 1964 Republican Presidential nomination and the subsequent election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, the conservative wing of the Republican Party triumphed.

But, as is evident, the Rockefeller Republicans were only temporarily defeated. In our day they are referred to as “Moderate Republicans” or RINO’s (Republicans In Name Only) and they now form the majority of the Republican Party. Reagan explained that part of what motivates Moderates is that the progressive policies (i.e. entitlements and handouts) of the Democrats appeal to voters. The Democrat Party is the home of Progressivism which is the repudiation of our founding principles of limited government and the rule of law. Progressives believe that government can solve all the ills of society. They see the limits and checks and balances placed in the Constitution as obstacles to all the good that government can achieve. They reject the Founders’ view, expressed by James Madison, that “there is a degree of depravity in mankind which requires a certain degree of circumspection and distrust. (Federalist #55)” No, Progressives believe that man can be perfected by education so that internal and external constraints on government are no longer necessary. The current state of our economy and a 16 trillion dollar debt as well as a sprawling American military presence around the world should provide ample proof of who is right.

The last viable conservative movement is the Ron Paul Revolution. Ron Paul has always played the long game rather than focusing on the chimerical nature of political posturing. In 2008, he founded Campaign For Liberty, which is dedicated to spreading the liberty message of limited government, free markets, individual rights, a sound currency, and a non-interventionist foreign policy. But how did the voters receive this liberty message on November 6th? Of the 11 candidates to Congress who were endorsed by Campaign for Liberty, 8 won their races. Liberty candidates also won several races on the State level. Voters are attracted to the liberty message. You may wince at the miniscule liberty presence in the Congress but this simply demonstrates how much Progressivism has infected our government. From here we have an unparalleled opportunity to expand the liberty movement because the results of this election show that candidates supporting the liberty platform can beat the progressives in both parties.