Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Self-Defeating Con Job

Good morning and welcome to Super Tuesday! This is the day of caucuses and primaries that could make or break the few remaining Republican and Democrat presidential candidates.

Unless, of course, you live here in Pennsylvania, or some other state that isn't going to fire up them newfangled ee-lectronic voting contraptions until after the Spring thaw. Still -- it may go neck-and-neck right up to the conventions late in the Summer.

At the moment, I am not concerned with which Democrat gets nominated. Those of us on the Republican side seem destined to be stuck with either John "Colonel Tigh" McCain or Mitt Romney as our candidate. After Florida, Tigh seems to have the momentum going for him -- so say the polls.

Establishment conservatives are doing everything in their power to rein in the McCain surge:

Working to extend the GOP battle as well, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney campaigned across the country yesterday, branding Mr. McCain, who seized the front-runner's mantle with victories in three successive primaries, as a threat to the conservative future of the Republican Party.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum campaigned alongside Mr. Romney, buttressing his assault on the Arizona senator, who has strayed from conservative orthodoxy on issues including immigration and campaign finance. Mr. Santorum told The Associated Press that conservatives "must vote for Mitt Romney. Because Mitt Romney is the only person in this race that can stop John McCain and the elite in the party, who don't as much care about those issues that a lot of folks in Georgia care about." Mr. Santorum also taped automated phone calls touting Mr. Romney to GOP voters across the nation.

Influential talk-show hosts, including Rush Limbaugh and Hugh Hewitt, also pressed the conservative resistance to the McCain momentum.

But the Romney strategy was complicated by the continued presence of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who was also competing for conservative votes while training much of his campaign rhetoric at Mr. Romney rather than the front-runner.

Limbaugh, Hewitt and Santorum (yes, he still wields influence) are heavy hitters in the Republican all-star lineup. Or should I say...in the conservative all-star lineup. These guys are ready to sell the Republican Party down the river if McCain gets nominated because he's not conservative enough. You could say the same thing about Mitt Romney. Sure, he has been saying all the right things on the campaign trail. But he has come to many of his positions rather late in the game. Who's to say he won't flip-flop back to his previous positions on abortion and socialized medicine, among other issues?

A big part of the problem is that too many influential establishment conservatives think of themselves as conservatives first, Republicans a distant second. That's fine most of the time; you want to get the ideas out there and convince people of the rightness of your way of thinking. Political philosophy transcends party registration -- some of the time. When it comes time to make a difference by exercising their right to vote, the philosophical conservatives don't always push the Republican lever. Remember the 2006 elections? Remember how the Democrats took control of Congress because moderate-to-conservative Democrats beat wishy-washy Republicans in swing areas? The conservatives triumphed over the Republicans. I hope they are happy with what they achieved that year.

Too much emphasis is placed on "conservatism" over party loyalty. Those establishment types are trying to destroy the party, whether they realize it or not. John McCain is not the alternative; he's on our side, whether they like it or not. Hillary and/or Obama is/are the alternative. Would you vote for either of those two over Colonel Tigh? Think long and hard about it.

I want to finish with a couple of points:
  • I am not fond of the term conservative. It suggests a certain degree of stodginess, of adherence to a strict system of beliefs and behaviors, and, if one strays from those ways, one is brutally shunned by the aforementioned conservative establishment. I much prefer to call myself a Right-Winger, for no reason other than that it scares complete idiots.
  • If establishment cons really cared about voting for the most conservative candidate, they would support Ron Paul. The only area where I strongly disagree with Ron Paul is on the war. He makes some good points about the way we entered into the war, but realistically, nearly everyone had been calling for Saddam's head for years. It was inevitable that we were going to do more than just drop bombs in Iraq. On just about everything else, Paul is dead right -- and clearly conservative. If conservative means adherence to the principals under which this country was founded; if it means cutting back and reducing the growth of the central government, thereby restoring the powers reserved to the states by the federal constitution; and if it means governing according to the oath of office, rather than pandering to special interests or the will of the mob, then Ron Paul is the ONLY conservative in this race.
You don't see the establishment cons rushing out to throw their support behind Ron Paul, though. We're going to get stuck with either Romney or Tigh, and we'd better be happy with what we get, or we are going to end up with Leftists running all three branches of the federal government.

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