HAVE CONSERVATIVES THROWN IN THE TOWEL?
By Alan Caruba
Conservativism is a spent force. As the movement and unifying force which mobilized people to vote in sufficient numbers to give control of Congress to Republicans in 1994 and which, with the exception of eight years with Bill Clinton as President, has put Republicans in the White House since 1980, Conservatism has lost its momentum.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Party has drifted so far to the Left that it needs to change its name to something like, oh, the Socialist Party. Worse yet, what passes for the Republican Party today has drifted to the Left with the Democrats. Not as far, but enough to become the party of Big Government and Big Spending.
And here’s where it gets fuzzy when one defines “Conservatives.” Much of Buchanan’s lament was devoted to the erosion of moral standards. “American culture has become toxic and poisonous,” he said, referencing the garbage coming out of Hollywood and seen on television, although he also noted the reduction of the powers of the states as reserved to them by the United States Constitution. Today, the states are in the grip of the federal government, thanks to sweeping judicial decisions that deny them the right to decide their own policies.
Today, when people think of “Conservatives,” the popular perception is that of religious fundamentalists concerned with moral issues. While they are among the most vocal Conservatives, there are many more Conservatives for whom religion is merely a component of their lives. For them, the traditional Conservative issues such as Second Amendment and property rights, privacy, fiscal prudence, and national sovereignty arouse their ire, since these issues have very little traction in Washington, D.C., these days.
In the popular mind, Conservatism is too often about right-to-life and other ethical issues. As the commentator, J. Grant Swank, Jr., put it, “Pat does not recognize the force of Judeo-Christian and other moralist advocates very much alive and well in America.”
I suggest, however, that he does, but he also realizes they have relatively little, real political power. Pointing to last year’s Republican National Convention, Buchanan noted that, among its featured speakers, were Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor George E. Pataki, and former New York City Mayor, Rudolph W. Giuliani, all social Liberals. Nor does Buchanan include the Neoconservatives, whom he dismissed as follows: “Wilsonian interventionists abroad; they are big government at home.”
One can hope that government reflects the nation’s traditional moral values, but that is not the primary mission of government. It must, first and foremost, protect the nation against invasion and its people against harm. The current Republican majority in Congress and in the White House has done nothing about the one issue that will decide the next election or two -- illegal immigration, which is undermining the provision of education and medical care. Illegal immigration is a major contributor to crime in America. It takes jobs from native-born and naturalized Americans and it exports billions of U.S. dollars abroad.
Conservative think tanks and organizations have watched helplessly as the Republican Party has sucked up every available dollar to insure the reelection of its candidates. They have suffered a disastrous loss of support as Conservatives conclude that they are no longer able to have any impact on legislation they favor or oppose.
The irony, of course, is that Conservative talk radio has never been more popular, the Fox News Channel continues to gain new viewers, and authors of Conservative books are thriving. Yet, when I was on radio recently, successive hosts asked me why Conservative issues cannot get a hearing in a Congress which is hell-bent on spending money on more socalled “entitlement” programs and which continues to throw billions at the failed U.S. Department of Education.
That is why Buchanan is right. Conservatism cannot — must not — be defined solely as a reflection of religious values. It is much more than that. Today, Conservatism is in retreat in the halls of Congress and in the White House.
Too many Conservatives have thrown in the towel, feeling helpless to influence those elected to protect their property rights, stop the destruction of our educational system, protect their right of privacy against an ever-growing, intrusive Big Government, and to withdraw from a malignant United Nations bent on destroying our national sovereignty.
A lot of us who identify ourselves as Conservatives are increasingly pessimistic about the future of this nation. We have good cause, but we have few friends in Congress to advance our cause, and the White House continues to use external threats and a mix of religious rhetoric to emasculate Conservatism.
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Alan Caruba is a veteran business and science writer, a Public Relations Counselor, and Founder of the National Anxiety Center, a clearinghouse for information about media-driven scare campaigns. Caruba writes a weekly commentary, "Warning Signs," posted on the Internet website of the National Anxiety Center (www.anxietycenter.com).
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TREATED IN THE PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE, U.S.A.:
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Islamic Threat * Islamism * Israeli vs. Arabs * Jews & Anti-Semitism
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National Identity * National Security * Natural Resources * News Media Bias
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POLITICAL EDUCATION, CONSERVATIVE ANALYSIS
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