The Republican Party used to be the home of Conservatism in America. It was not always a happy home for conservatives. Big Government Republicans ran the party for a long, long time, and now are back in charge. While the conservatives could rally enough support, finally, to put a Barry Goldwater into the Presidential Election of 1964 - and let's face it, most of the Party didn't have the guts to face LBJ in that election - it remained an anomaly. Until Ronald Reagan garnered enough support to make his successful run in 1980.
While conservative Republicans have hearkened back to the Reagan Revolution for inspiration they have forgotten most of what President Reagan did in his two terms, working as he did under a predominantly Leftist Congress for most of his administration. Reagan knew that you had to compromise if you were to get anything done. When he could, though, Reagan stuck to First Principles. And the Party prospered under his Presidency, and attracted voters from the disaffected of the Democrats and Independents. But Reagan was not dogmatic. He took what he could and compromised what he couldn't. And staunch conservatives were not happy.
Now conservatives are seeing the emptiness of the Republican Party once again. The Party has raised, not a conservative standard-bearer, but more Big Government Statists, Socialists, and Constitutional illiterates. The front-runner - and MSM-anointed Republican Nominee-to-be - Senator John McCain of Arizona, while strong for National Defense, sees no problem with curtailing the free speech of the average American. He seems oblivious to the implications of an open border, while advocating the Global War on Terror. McCain holds grudges - something that poisons the soul and minimizes a person - and at times is petty, arrogant, dismissive. He claims a belief in holding the line on spending but is seemingly buying into the incredibly expensive fantasy of Global Warming (Global Climate Change seems to be the 'In' phrase now that warming is being debunked all over the world.) He denounces successful businessmen, a foolish, Socialist notion, and touts his own Patriotic life-style. He insults or ignores Christian Republicans, as if they have no legitimate voice in the Party, and discounts the most Conservative members of the Party, the very ones who are depended upon to vote in great numbers. And if he pisses them off enough, who will he blame if they decide to sit out the General Election?
McCain is not my choice for the nominee. But he is ahead, and many seem to believe that he is the only one who can beat either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. That remains to be seen.
Mitt Romney is a business whiz. He's proven time and time again that he can make a success of a failing company, redirect a company in trouble, and has made a lot of money not only for himself, but for those who invest their money in the companies he oversees. He's gentlemanly in a process that seems to demand ruthlessness and deceit. While he supports the Global War on Terror, he seems to think his lack of Foreign Affairs experience can be overcome by relying on the US State Department - an agency that has worked against US interests for decades and actively attempts to ruin the President's Foreign Policy moves. His tenure as Governor of Massachusetts was a success, by all accounts. Yet this 'Conservative' Republican ordered the kind of Leftist actions that any Conservative loathes, such as Gay Marriages, rather than fight them and take on the Massachusetts Supreme Court. His flip-flops are famous now, resulting, for instance, in a hard-line stance on Illegal Aliens that he didn't call for earlier, said everyone should be allowed to join the Boy Scouts and later retracted that idea, he supported Embryonic Stem Cell research then decided it was wrong, he supported Abortion Rights then thought better of the idea once he decided to run for President, he ... Well, you get the idea. What does Mitt Romney support? We can't really say, can we?
Yet, of the two Republicans with a chance at the nomination he's the one I reluctantly support.
Ron Paul has some solid ideas, based on the US Constitution, yet he also seems oblivious to the realities of Islamic Terrorism and a Global Economy. He seems to draw the fringe elements from anti-semites and isolationists, and has, in the past, advocated some fairly racist ideas. He has no chance for the nomination.
Mike Huckabee is a Nanny-State Republican, an Evangelical who wants the Federal Government to tell people how they can live their lives (Socialism, in a word), and expects to guide the American People to the Lord through Government planning rather than the Scriptures. He would be a disaster in the mold of Jimmy Carter. He has no chance at the nomination.
The only candidate who upheld so-called First Principles as far as the US Constitution, and seemed to understand what the job of President actually entailed - rather than what it has become - was Fred Thompson. He was the only candidate whose positions have not changed over time to fall in line with present fads. He understood what the Constitution says, and would have upheld it while the weak-minded, and spineless whined and howled around his ankles. But Fred entered the race very late in the day, stumbled at the start - which lost a lot of his early support - and never campaigned as if he really wanted the job. Now that may be desirable in a candidate - do we really want a President who wants the job that badly? - but it doesn't make for an exciting or inspiring campaign. And the press simply ignored him for most of his candidacy. His numbers never rose high enough to make him a serious candidate despite the deep feelings his supporters held for him and his ideas. So he quit the race before Super Tuesday, something I think was a huge mistake. But maybe he was positioning himself for a Vice Presidential invite by the eventual nominee. I would think that a fine choice by the nominee. Probably the best choice possible. We'll see.
Win or lose, in the 2008 General Election, the Republican Party has some thinking to do. It has drifted far from its foundations and become a sort of Socialist Light. Th conservative base of the Party is once again marginalized by those who seek the power of elective office, but fear the wrath of the media. As we saw when the Republicans actually held majorities in the House and the Senate, they were reluctant to act without the support of the Democrats. That is something the Democrats never did while they held solid power for nearly 50 years. As the Majority Party, Democrats never bothered to consult with the Republicans unless their votes were needed. Otherwise they were treated as a perpetual fringe party, incapable of rising to power and unimportant. Once they gained that elusive governing power the Republicans led as if they were still in the minority. And they failed.
Now the Democrats hold the majority power once again, and treat the Republicans as if they will never matter again. So what should Republicans do? Keep playing along and hope for a few crumbs from the Democrat's plate? Keep trying to get the MSM to love us? No. Enough of all that idiocy. No matter what happens in the General Election - and I will vote for the Republican against the Democrat - it's time to change the Republican Party.
Start rebuilding the Party. From the ground up. Define the principles that make us Republicans rather than Democrats and push for candidates who act like Republicans. The National Party needs to stop playing as if Rockefeller was still a faction. Republicans in office who play fast and loose with the principles should be voted out of office and replaced with solid Republicans. And the National Party should be starved of funding if the they continue to support Leftist Republicans over solid First Principle Republicans. No more Arlen Specters, no more Bob Packwoods, no more Bill Frists, no more surrendering the principles of the Party for the expedience of winning a few votes. The Party has to see the reality that the People will vote for a true Conservative if given the choice. Otherwise they will vote against the Republican.
So let's offer the voters real Republicans. But we have to start at the beginning. First Principles. The US Constitution. The law rather than feelings or fads. Back to the beginning. We the People!
Sister Toldjah has some thoughts on the "State of the Conservative Union" - go check it out! Also the Anchoress urges a bit of calm. Read them both!