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Conservative movement splits and unravels

October 25th 2008 21:12
The other day I posted my insights (The Paucity of Ideas) on how the Conservative movement and the GOP have had a major schism, one that will ultimately cause its internal destruction. It should preclude a McCain-Palin victory in a few weeks; it will certainly prevent any growth in the party unless it is cured.

As I noted in my previous post, the present day GOP and its conservative followers have embarked on an anti-intellectual course where education and study have been scorned as “elitist” and the political and civic discourse reduced to class division and name calling. They have abandoned the intellectual nature of conservatism.

On one side of the Party, the one now embraced by both John McCain and Sarah Palin, the former recently and in the waning days of their campaign, are the “social conservatives” who remain skeptical the very group Senator McCain was trying to mollify by picking Sarah Palin as his running mate. This includes the faithful of the religious right who remember McCain as their enemy in 2000 and parts of the gun crowd who always saw McCain as soft on their issues.

That McCain felt a need to make such an outlandishly risky choice speaks to how insecure his hold was on the core Republican vote. A candidate is supposed to rally the base during the primaries and reach out to the middle at election time. McCain got it backward, and it's hurting him.

Yet the pro-Palin right is still impatient with McCain for not being tough enough -- as if he has not run one of the most negative campaigns in recent history. This camp believes that if McCain only shouted the names "Bill Ayers" and "Jeremiah Wright" or words like “socialism” at the top of his lungs; the whole election would turn around. And in past years it worked. In 2008, real life and real events have overtaken this group and they are ill prepared to seek modification.

John McCain’s decision to choose Governor Palin has been the focus of the split in the GOP.
Ever since the adoption of the Southern Strategy many of the elite conservatives were happy to harvest the votes of devout Christians and gun owners by waging a phony class war against "liberal elitists" and "leftist intellectuals." They knew better, these readers of Human Events and National Review. Suddenly as the most informed and knowledgeable conservative writers are discovering that the very anti-intellectualism they courted and encouraged and fawned over has begun to consume their movement.

The theories and principles of Edmund Burke, Leo Strauss, Robert Nisbet and William F. Buckley Jr. are now in the hands of Rush, Sean, Ann -- and Sarah Palin. Reason has been overwhelmed by propaganda, ideas by slogans, learned manifestoes by direct-mail hit pieces.

It is not the fault of the social conservatives, alone. The truth is that slogan and mantra, scare words and threats of “socialism” do not resonate anymore and there is only an exceedingly small cadre of remaining thoughtful and educated men and women to help formulate a substitute.

For example, the buzz swear word is “socialism” (and in the more senior group, it is identical to “communism”). But in reality, we already accept government ownership of many once private bastions of capitalism. In order to cushion the impending economic disaster, there is accepted federal ownership of banks and investment houses. We proclaim that business should live or die, falter or succeed on their efforts and worth to the economy. But we will bail out the poorly run company, and its wealthy executives, if the price in lost employment exceeds the cost of ignoring ideals.

The social conservatives divided the country into two classes, the patriotic, God-loving and fearing, anti-abortion at all costs, with no flexibility, and the others, anti-patriotic, anti-Christian, traitors who would bomb the rest of us. They exhibited a refusal to acknowledge that the "real America" is more diverse, pragmatic and culturally moderate than the place described in Palin's speeches or imagined by the right-wing talk show hosts.

Their anti-intellectual beliefs, the concept that “smart” is pointy-head unrealistic and not-of-this-world, are finally being recognized by their own Party.

It's about time.

(Much of this material has been published in EXAMINER.COM)

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8 Comments. [ Add A Comment ]

Comment by jmccaz

October 26th 2008 02:50
You are very correct to the extent you see the issue. But very incorrect in your assessment.

Christians are correct in their beliefs. John McCain is so afraid of stepping out totally to us because he is afraid that libs have control of the most hearts and minds.

One thing is certain though. Christians have been given enough info to recognize who the party of death is. The moral decay that will result from an Obama victory will take down this country. You liive in this country too. You need to really search your soul and remember that.

The first right guaranteed in our founding documents is the right to life. The party that will trample that right will not hesitate to disregard other rights.

If gays get the right to marry one another nationally, it will have to, by law, be taught in schools. If I tell my children Homosexuality is wrong, and the state goes right behind me and undermines my authority in the lives of my children and grandchildren, then we have a real big PROBLEM. That sir is the kind of problem that revolutions are started over.

If you don't know that in your head, then you aren't as intellectual as you may wish to believe.

To sum it all up, Christians will vote against Obama. And, by the way, so will the Jewish community, without which there would be no United States of America.

Comment by DeAnne

October 26th 2008 03:18
Not ALL Christians will vote against Obama. I'm sick to death of people lumping all Christians together politically. Many Christians believe that Obama is the right man for the job. That his plans for health care, education, and other "social" services are better for our country and our people.

Believe it or not, there are liberal Christians! Personally, I like to think in terms of that cute little slogan taught to Christian youth - WWJD. What do you think Jesus would do? Support big businesses and the extremely wealthy, or provide for the basic needs of everyone?

Some Christians are actually smart enough to think for themselves and not believe all the propaganda.

I, for one, am a Christian who WILL vote for Obama! (I actually already have.)

Comment by Jeff Musall

October 26th 2008 04:46
DeAnne, the problem with Christianity in America is that it is little represented by you, and more represented by the thuggery of the writer above you on the post...people who think the fate of a nation rests with subjects like gay marriage. The kind of person who is much in need of the education they so desire...

Comment by Randy Inman

October 26th 2008 14:08
He is not a thug and has a right to his opinion. He is a hell of a lot more open minded than the real right wingers.

Comment by Anonymous

November 3rd 2008 18:31
As somebody who volunteered and voted for Ronald Reagan, who voted reluctantly for George Bush I, but switched when the party put forth George Bush II, this was right on the money.

As somebody who is both intellectual and hard working, The last eight years have been offensive. The Republican party cultivated a political base of hatred disguised as conservatisim. What tenets of the original conservative ideals has this party been loyal to over the last eight years? smaller government? Free and open Markets? No nation building? Judicious and responsible use of our military power? What was once my own party has become a caricature of itself. I have no idea what the party stands for anymore because I can't hear above the hate mongering. We transfered power from the liberal elite to the religious elite. We put in power not the most thoughtful and intellectual candidates, but the most mallable. And in the end, what do we have to show for it?

Ditch the Rush Limbaughs, Anne Coulters, and the Pundits of hate. Give me back the National Review and the Geroge Wills. Give me back a party that would never associate with a candidate as overtly anti-intellectual and offensive as Sarah Palin and I would consider coming back. Short of that; R.I.P.

Comment by Randy Inman

November 3rd 2008 18:45
Give me a party that does not support tax breaks for companies that send jobs out of the country and I would go back.

But i did vote for McCain. The lesser of two evils.

Comment by DeAnne

November 3rd 2008 18:59
Jeff, I totally agree. I am sickened by the "face" of Christians in this country today. Christianity should stand for helping others, not telling them what to do and believe.

I heard someone the other day on a news channel put it really well - she said, "Being a Christian is about fixing yourself and helping others, not helping yourself and fixing others." I think she said it was a favorite quote of her mother or grandmother. I think it was very well put, though.

I'm at the point now, where I don't even want to go to church anymore. I love having a time of joint worship and fellowship, but not when it is with people who are so closed minded and think only about money and what it can do for them, as opposed to what it can do for others.

In fact, when I voiced my opinions about this election (see this post,) many people from my church basically shunned me. I'm now looking for a church with more open minded people.

Comment by Jeff Musall

November 4th 2008 23:52
Good insights, Anon and DeAnne...yes, the conservative movement of today is nothing like the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, And Eisenhower. And a good deal of the blame lies directly on the evangelical movement, the driving force behind today's conservatism and it's fear/hate machine. To borrow a phrase from the bible, they may find indeed that they "reap what they sow."

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