Thursday, October 30, 2008

Is Conservatism Dying?

I've been asking myself the question for several weeks now. And this isn't about John McCain, who despite being a life-long Republican, has never really been a conservative. I think the question has been, at least in part, inspired by Rush Limbaugh, who I've listened to on and off for over a decade now. For me, Limbaugh was always the quintessential conservative, capturing both the limited government aspects of the ideology I could relate to and the populist issues (immigration, the culture wars, ect.) I so strongly disagreed on.

Limabugh has spent much of the past ten years bashing John McCain and bashing moderates and I haven't forgotten his words this election cycle. He can try and paint the election as a referendum on the "inexperienced socialist" candidate, but it just doesn't ring true to me. I'm more than a bit disheartened because the the words I hear coming from the mouths of a vast majority of the alternative conservative media doesn't ring true. It's not the support for McCain, which, truthfully, has been about as lukewarm as it probably should be. What troubles me is the dissent of previously respectable conservative media into the partisan gutter in such a way that has me thinking ideas and facts are being left behind.

The Obama is a socialist canard is just a version of the Obama-as-terrorist story for polite company. It's certainly not based on anything in the Democratic platform or on any of Obama's articulated proposals. Back in 2000, Al Gore wasn't called a socialist. In 2004, John Kerry was referred to derogatorily as a liberal, but not a socialist. So why is Obama any different? I haven't seen a huge lurch to the left in the Democratic Party. It's disappointing that the conservative media have become so complicit in partisan electioneering that real discussion about real policies is just off the table.

My other concern is with Sarah Palin and the Obama-like cult of personality that has grown around her. I really can't say how intelligent the woman actually is, but the folksy persona the woman has embraced is anti-intellectual to the extreme. It's as if she passed the litmus test for conservatism by keeping her Down's Syndrome baby, because other her position on abortion and the fact that she "loves America," I have trouble seeing anything conservative about Sarah Palin. She ultimately could be a better candidate for the Republican Party than John McCain, but a McCain loss, followed by a Palin run in 2012 would be highly discouraging. It would mean that the Republicans would attribute their '08 loss not to their abandonment of principles of limited government, but to .. I don't know, not enough anti-intellectualism.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I am worried. George W. Bush was a borderline figure, not really conservative, but also not an embodiment of the abandonment of conservatism. I'm worried now that my conservative friends are being pushed over a cliff from which there is no return.

2 Comments:

Anonymous rose said...

"The Obama is a socialist canard is just a version of the Obama-as-terrorist story for polite company. It's certainly not based on anything in the Democratic platform or on any of Obama's articulated proposals."

You're not gonna see it in his policy proposals, because its untenable to be open about being a socialist. But there's a lot of evidence that Obama leaned far left of democrat in the past. The most reported being his radio conversation in 2001 which I'm sure you've heard.

Read Stanley Kurtz (possibly you already have) Guy is not a whackjob and has done some very in depth research into Obama's past. There is a clear pattern.

If it were just the radio conversation, obviously you can't draw conclusions. But you have association after association and comment after comment in Obama's past that links him to people and ideas that are far left of democrat.

We'll see what Obama tries to do once/if in office. But its not unreasonable to believe Obama is a quasi-socialist at heart and realized that appearing like a traditional democrat to get elected and then chipping away once in office is the way to go.

11:52 AM  
Blogger lonely libertarian said...

I've heard the radio interview and it should be noted that Obama was fielding intellectual questions on the bastion of liberal thought, NPR. Even then, his answers appeared to be more thoughtful than ideologically rigid.

Will he wind up being to the left of Bill Clinton? More likely than not, particularly considering the economy. But theres a big jump from leftist Democrat to socialist, a much bigger jump than their is from Obama to McCain.

1:20 PM  

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