You Talkin’ To Me?

February 14, 2008 

There seems to be a growing Republican dismay and an equally Democrat glee that Conservatives are hesitant to throw their support behind the recalcitrant John McCain. 

“How,” Republican stalwarts ask, “can good Conservatives sit on the sidelines and watch a Democrat take the White House?” 

Well...yes and no. 

Many Republicans and most Democrats just don’t understand Conservatives.  Party loyalists are politicians driven by Party and self-interest.  Conservatives are ideologues. 

And, that ideology is simple to explain but, inextricably, hard for a politician to fathom...God, Country and Family. 

And even more difficult for a politician to understand is that these three pillars of Conservatism are inextricably linked.  What is good for God is also good for Country and Family.  This trio of values weaves a moral fabric to live by. 

On the practical side, a politician might try to persuade with the old fall-back argument, “Even if you don’t like McCain, would you rather see a President Hillary or President Barak?”  This has to be one of the worst reasons a person could have to pick a President. 

Can you imagine picking a husband or wife because he or she is not as bad as the alternatives?   

That’s a good reason to marry somebody.  Maybe it’s a better reason why this country’s divorce rate is 50% of first marriages, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages. 

In his pro-McCain remarks at this year’s CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference), Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) stated, “As conservatives, I know that most of us are sick and tired of politicians who tell us what we want to hear then govern in the opposite way...The fact is, we haven't had a president over the last eight years who had the guts to take on the excesses of a Republican and Democrat Congress.” 

This, perhaps, wasn’t the best strategy that Senator Coburn could have used to convince Conservatives on the merits of a McCain presidency. 

After all...Conservatives are in the final year of a somewhat rocky eight year marriage to a nominally conservative Republican President and a decidedly not conservative Republican Congress.  Who wants a 67% chance of failure the next time around?   

When, in 2000, the present administration was first elected to office, the US Congress slipped 4,326 earmarks with a cost to the taxpayer of $17.7 billion through the budgetary back door.  By 2005, the number of earmark had grown to 13,997 with a $27.3 billion price tag.   

It wasn’t until 2006 when the lunatics (Democrats) took control of the asylum (Congress) that the number of earmarks started to decline. 

How embarrassing is that?   

For a Conservative, it’s like finding out that all the while your spouse has been smiling in your face...they have been sleeping with your arch-nemesis. 

Every year at CPAC, good Conservatives are bombarded by a string of Republican politicians who mostly do three things: (1) quote Ronald Reagan ad nauseam; (2) point fingers at the Democrats and (3) rally the faithful with promises of Conservative governance. 

And every year, many good Conservatives are thinking the same thing...“Why are you talking to me about this?  I already know and believe it.  In fact, I am praying for the day your promises are finally delivered.  Why don’t you go back and talk to your Congressional Republicans about living up to your Conservative rhetoric?  Why don’t you look in the mirror and listen to your own pontifications?” 

Even Democrats know better than hitching a ride with Teddy Kennedy. 

For over a decade, every time Conservatives deliver the vote for the Republican leadership, Conservatives have had their efforts rewarded with Republicans who either: (1) couldn’t keep their zippers up long enough to serve this great nation; (2) couldn’t keep their hands out of the till and/or (3) couldn’t remember which Party got them elected and what values they were supposed to stand for. 

Democrats are equally as guilty but Conservatives expect the Democrats to deliver the lowest common denominator and that is why, traditionally, Conservatives have predominately allied themselves with the Republican Party.    

And, for this support from Conservatives, only a few very relevant quid pro quos were expected: a faith in God; a dedication to the national interest that nurtured the political, social and economic freedom of the individual and from the first two dedications would come the tools for the preservation and enhancement of the third...the family. 

It’s not as though Conservatives were asking for anything strange or unreasonable like a redefinition of marriage or the expectation that citizenship conveyed every entitlement up to and including a free lunch.   

Perhaps Conservative demands are just a bit too straightforward and normal to be taken at their face value...just give us a relatively secure environment and the individual economic and political freedom to go about the business of keeping America great.  We have the tools and energy...just don’t try to stop us from doing God’s work, the Country’s work and our Family’s work. 

And...don’t throw a hissy-fit because a Conservative might not automatonically support a Republican candidate. 

Can you blame a good Conservative for taking pause when, in an election year, John McCain takes his thumb out of your eye and cozies up with, “I promise you, I intend to...fight as hard as I can to defend the principles and positions we share”? 

As a great Conservative pointed out to me at the time...”How about the ‘principles and positions’ we don’t ‘share’ with McCain?”   

How many “promises” have been made only to be broken? 


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