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Back to Basics Time for American Conservatism

First, some perspective on the Iowa Caucus from Rick Moran at RightWingNuthouse:

Having lived in Iowa for 7 years, I would say that there is nothing much wrong with the people as much as the process of choosing a Caucus winner. It virtually guarantees an extraordinarily small group of people can have an enormous impact on the choice of a candidate for president.

Iowa has about 600,000 registered Republicans. Mike Huckabee got 39,000 votes. That’s about 8% of Iowa Republicans choosing a man who will now seriously compete for the GOP nomination.

Got that? 8% of one State’s registered Republicans voted for a candidate and now people are freaking out. There is something seriously wrong with people who want to call that a “victory” and now say that Mike Huckabee is riding a wave of political support to the Republican nomination for President in 2008.

8% of 600,000 Republicans voted for Mike Huckabee. Please explain to me how that result constitutes a ringing endorsement of a candidate. Please explain to me why 39,000 people in Iowa seem to dictate how the Republican nomination process will go.

I just don’t get it.

Anyway, some political bloggers and pundits are now hyperventilating at the prospect of a Mike Huckabee nomination and, because of that, are now throwing aside their principles (if they have any) and focusing on who do we support to make sure Mike Huckabee does not get the nomination??!!??’ Simply amazing how 39,000 people in Iowa have so much power over the actions of the rest of the nation’s Republican voters, huh?

Oy.

I prefer to focus on principles and values and specifically, Conservatism. I prefer to focus on voting FOR something, rather than against something or someone. I don’t like the fact that the Republican base seems to have taken on the strategy of the 2004 Democrat voters who used the “ANYBODY BUT BUSH!” strategy to try to win. Now, it seems, Republican voters are doing the same thing. First, they supported Rudy Giuliani, because they had the strategy of “ANYBODY BUT HILLARY!” And now, after they see 39,000 people in Iowa pledge their support for Mike Huckabee, Republican voters are in a panic and have decided on the strategy of “ANYBODY BUT HUCKABEE!”

I’m sorry, but being against something is not inspiring. It was not inspiring when the Democrats used it in 2004 and it is even less inspiring when I see Republican voters having that mentality now.

Which leads me to Rush Limbaugh today, who, instead of talking about ‘ooh! ooh! Which RINO are we going to support now to derail Mike Huckabee??!!??, he turned the focus back to Conservatism:

Folks, as far as conservatism is concerned, it’s back-to-basics time here. It looks to me, and it’s tough to make assessments here after one state has had its caucus, it may be even tough to make a seasoned analysis after even New Hampshire because New Hampshire and Iowa are both very liberal states. We’re going to get into the turnout, the nature of who voted, why the turnout was so large, the demographic breakdown because a lot of it is fascinating. But just looking at things after Iowa, it looks to me like many in the Republican Party, despite all their yearning for conservatives in Washington, are rejecting conservatism. I say that with all seriousness. It may change once we get out of these more liberal states, but with Huckabee and McCain leading in New Hampshire — look, they’re fine guys. I don’t want what I’m saying here to be interpreted as criticism. These are just observations. But with Huckabee and McCain leading in New Hampshire, they’re not consistent principled conservatives. Now, you may be saying, “So what, Rush, conservatism is old, it doesn’t matter, and Reagan was Reagan, and it’s gone,” and I understand that about Reagan, but I don’t accept that about conservatism. I’m not going to accept it.

New Hampshire will be influenced by independents who can vote in the Republican primary. It’s going to be an advantage for McCain, as it was for him the last time. I’m struck by the fact that conservatives call this program — and you know who you are — you have been calling this program for four years, complaining about the lack of a conservative in the White House. You’ve been complaining about the lack of conservative behavior and governance on the part of elected Republicans in both the House and the Senate. So I know you’re out there. You definitely want conservatism, but there’s something troubling out there. You seem to be rejecting it at the same time. Some people do. I don’t mean all of you in this audience. One of the things that I picked up watching all the various networks last night and listening to the candidates is that populism seems to be just soaring. Candidates with a populist message, not conservative, but a populist message are just soaring. Obama with a clear populist message in his speech last night. Obama is as liberal as Mrs. Clinton, if not more so. And that’s saying something.

Governor Huckabee: clearly populism. It was a great speech he gave last night. I’m not taking anything away from him, very articulate, very personnel personable, relaxed. He connects with his audience. It’s very crucial. He doesn’t talk over anybody’s head, doesn’t talk at them. He really makes connections. Now, the thing that bothers me about populism, though, as it relates to conservatism, there is this continuing refrain that there is economic insecurity, that it is widespread, that there is terrible angst, and people are at their wits’ end, particularly in the middle class, over their economic future. I happen to disagree with just how widespread the economic problems are, but I don’t disagree that there is angst. I don’t disagree that there’s some people that are feeling pressured and insecure about their economic future. I don’t deny that at all, but I’d like to find out why rather than just react to it. This does not make me a patrician — well, according to Susan Estrich it might. It’s amazing the evolution that the libs have assigned to me since I started in 1980. Now I’m a George W. Bush, a George H. W. Bush patrician, I’m an elitist looking down. It’s just amazing how I have gone through this evolution as far as they’re concerned.

But let me stick to this angst business. We had the Pew poll the other day on New Year’s Eve, 84% of the American people very satisfied with their individual lives, at the same time 70% of the people think the country is going in the wrong direction. This is easily, to me, explainable. Eighty-four percent of the people, a clear majority, by the way, of the 84% are very satisfied with their lives and feel good about their futures. So where does this angst come from? Well, the angst comes from, I believe, the media. As I commented yesterday, there is no such thing as good news allowed in the American media today, and particularly as the Drive-Bys are doing everything they can to get Republicans out of office and Democrats in; and, of course, making people believe the economy is in the tank is one of the key ways that they hope to be able to accomplish this. We could have news today that cancer has been cured and the Drive-Bys would put four experts, four examples of how this may be bad news. Iraq deaths, Iraq citizen deaths practically came to a screeching halt. How did the Drive-Bys report it? The funeral business in Iraq is hitting tough times. It’s this kind of thing, and this happens daily multiple times in this country regarding your children’s health and their future and their obesity, the economy and the subprime market and the crisis and the credit crunch and the housing markets and all of these things.

So it is what it is. And if people feel the angst, the angst is real. And so if there is a lot of economic uncertainty among American conservatives — and we know the liberals are pessimistic by nature. We know that liberals get up as pessimists, they go to bed as pessimists, and in between they’re mad as hell all the time. But this is not the characteristic of conservatives, but sadly it seems to be coming to that, which troubles me greatly. We live in the greatest country on Earth. When there are economic ups and downs, which there are, and some of you may think that there are bad times down the road, and maybe at present we’re in the midst of them, or you are, in your personal circumstances. The conservative attitude and mentality about this is not to look to a human being running for president for solutions. The solution is not getting up every morning and hoping something in Washington happens to change your individual life. I’m asking myself during all of these laments about the angst and the crisis and the insecurity, what happened to good old self-reliance? What happened to the can-do spirit?

What happened to the notion that we live in the greatest country on Earth and there are options, opportunities for prosperity unrivaled on this planet, here in this country? Why the eagerness on the part of seemingly so many conservatives to accept victimhood status? Why the attitude on the part of so many Republicans and conservatives to all of a sudden believe they’re helpless and that only a particular person running for president can fix their circumstances? This is something that is not characteristic of the conservative mind-set, the conservative ideological understanding, and yet it seems to be happening. I can’t deny that it’s happening. So it has to be dealt with. And how is it dealt with? It may be back-to-basics time, folks, in terms of explaining what conservatism is, what it’s not, why it’s important. I must take a break here. We’re going to come back, we’ll start on the Democrat side. I will continue to elaborate on this mini-brilliant monologue as the program unfolds.

January 4, 2008 , 11:40PM Posted by | 2008 Presidential Election, Conservatism, Fred Thompson, Iowa Caucus, Mike Huckabee, Rush Limbaugh | Comments Off on Back to Basics Time for American Conservatism

Why Conservatism Matters Most

Rush Limbaugh was back yesterday and in excellent form. He took explained why Mike Huckabee and John McCain are not Conservatives (despite they and their supporters claiming that they are such) and he also explained why Republicans should vote for Conservatives otherwise the Democrats will win the Presidential nomination and the Congress this November.

RUSH: [ … ] This question: “Who else is there?” He’s talking about Huckabee when he asks me this question. Who else is there with conservative bona fides? Let me ask the question again I just asked about Senator McCain. If somebody told you that a conservative was someone who supported amnesty for illegal aliens, who supported limiting free political speech (McCain-Feingold) who embraced the ACLU’s brief for terrorist detainees getting US constitutional rights. If someone told you that a conservative is someone who opposed tax cuts during the Bush administration, and has recently confirmed he would do it again, what would you say? Most likely you would say, “Hell no! That’s not a conservative.” Yet I just described to you several of Senator McCain’s positions over the years. Now, the idea that he’s a great conservative in this race is an affront to conservatives. The media is pushing McCain hard now, particularly the local New Hampshire media. They are just going overboard with this love that they have for McCain. In fact, let’s go back to December 3rd, I just want to show you what it means to be listening to this program and being on the cutting edge of societal evolution. I predicted that the Drive-Bys had switched from McCain to Huckabee and that they would move back to McCain. I said this on December 3rd a month ago. Listen.

RUSH ARCHIVE: Right now it is obvious the media wants Huckabee, and the reason the media wants Huckabee is because they know they’re going to, down the road, be able to portray him as a nutcase, Bible-thumping evangelical who’s going to take his religion and God into the Oval Office — and they’ll use that to incite fear among liberals and progressives and so forth. […] They built McCain up. McCain loved it when they built him up. They tripped him up over the war, and now they’re trying to revive his campaign again.

RUSH: Are they not doing so? Did I not tell you? Yes, I did! They’re pushing McCain hard now. They were waiting to see what happened. Now they’re pushing. They are willing, the Drive-Bys are willing to tolerate his position on Iraq in exchange for all of his other views: opposition to tax cuts, limiting free speech, siding up with the ACLU. These are things they’re willing to tolerate in McCain as they overlook his position on Iraq — and, really, they don’t have to overlook much because his position on Iraq isn’t all that different from Rudy or Thompson. So it doesn’t matter to the Drive-Bys, anyway. It would mean that in November, there is no conservative — quote, “real thoroughbred conservative” — running, and if we don’t have anybody on the ballot on the Republican side who is a conservative and who is willing to say he’s a conservative and espouse those principles, we are going to lose. The Democrats are going to win and win big. If our nominee is either not conservative and is pandering to the left to try to get some of their votes, or if our nominee is so afraid of his record that he’s relying on identity politics to get votes or if our nominee decides that the only way he can win is to go out and pick off some libs in the Northeast and out in the West, it’s going to be a bloodbath.

The Northeast liberal Republican elites are going to be loving the whole campaign because they think that their ideas have regained prominence and power in the Republican Party all before it goes down to defeat in a massive landslide. So the question that you ask is: “What do we want?” Now, this notion — getting back to the question asked by the guy from Grand Rapids, Michigan — who else has conservative bona fides? Ladies and gentlemen (sigh), Governor Huckabee — who might be a fine man, and is a great Christian — is not a conservative. He’s just not. If you look at his record, as governor, he’s got some conservative tendencies on things, but he’s certainly not the most conservative of the candidates running on the Republican side. There are other aspects, too, which, if I wanted to, I could spend time getting into. But I didn’t start this program today on Huckabee because I didn’t want people to think that the whole point here was to focus on Huckabee, and I’m going to keep some of the powder dry here because I don’t want to be accused of piling on. But if people are going to ask me questions, I’m not going to shirk from them and try to hem-haw around. So there you have it.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: I want to go back to the call, Rick from Kansas City. I want to play 55 seconds of his call because I did not have time to respond. Had I known more of what he was going to say, I would have delayed taking his call, because I only gave him about a minute or a minute and a half. But let me now respond to it. Here again, 55 seconds of what he had to say, just a moment ago.

(replaying of phone call)

CALLER: Okay, well, first of all, I want to ask you, priority-wise, which is a more important issue to you, the abortion issue or the tax issue?

RUSH: See, I don’t separate ’em.

CALLER: Right.

RUSH: You’ve got these people, “Well, I’m a fiscal conservative but I’m a social liberal.” You’ve just described for me a northeastern Republican.

CALLER: Right.

RUSH: A moderate Republican. Conservatism is what it is. You don’t pick and choose and say this aspect is more important, it’s a whole package.

CALLER: Right. Just real briefly, Rush, you know, I agree with you that if you give people the fruit of their labors, that technically this country should prosper, but I’m not a single-issue voter, but I am a priority issue voter. And to me, as someone who believes in God, I believe that if this nation allows the unfettered, wholesale slaughter of most innocent —

RUSH: Right, right.

(end phone call)

RUSH: Okay, that’s it. We had to interrupt the call. We’ve talked about abortion on this program countless times, the sanctity of life and how it is the root of many things. But in terms of electing a president, there are a couple things the president can do about abortion, one of them substantive, the other is somewhat ephemeral. The substantive thing that a president can do about abortion is to nominate judges, primarily Supreme Court justices. That’s it. Now, a president can lead, a president can try to inspire and motivate, change hearts and so forth, but, in a substantive way, there’s not much a president can do about abortion. Rick from Kansas City is a good illustration, a good example of what I mean when I describe Governor Huckabee as campaigning on identity politics. There are some people who will overlook every aspect of Governor Huckabee that is really something in total opposition to most of their beliefs, because all they will see is the Christian characteristic, particularly if it fits right with the abortion issue.

Now, my friends, I’m sorry here. I haven’t spent a lifetime, and particularly the last 23 years on radio, advocating conservative principles only to throw them away to embrace some candidate. I don’t support open borders and amnesty, as does Governor Huckabee. I don’t support the release of hundreds of criminals. I don’t support repeated increases in taxes. I don’t support national health care. I don’t care what you call it, whether it’s in the name of the children or not. I don’t support anti-war rhetoric that sounds as if it was written by Nancy Pelosi. And yet I’m being asked to put all that aside in the midst of a Republican primary. As I’ve tried to point out countless times, a primary is a time to sort these things out. Now, I, speaking for myself, am not going to put aside my principles to accommodate a single politician or campaign operative, period. Too much is at stake here. And being asked to do this, to put all this aside for any single issue is not the point.

Now, I don’t want somebody in the White House who has no problem with abortion. I don’t want anybody in the White House who thinks that it’s okay and that we ought not do anything about it. Don’t misunderstand. But I also don’t want anybody to misunderstand what a president can actually do about it and how far a president can actually take the issue. It’s about judges, if your concern is overturning Roe vs. Wade. If it’s not, if you realize that’s going to be a ways down the line and yet we want to do something about abortion prior to that then it’s about changing minds and hearts. There are several ways of going about doing that, and one of the ways is not wagging your finger in people’s faces and telling them they’re sinning or telling them they’re wrong, you’re just going to seal their resolve against you. I think we’re in the process of changing minds and hearts. I think abortion figures are falling. I think as generations grow and change, there’s a greater repugnance attached to the whole practice. It is not an 80% majority issue, pro-choice isn’t. It’s not even 50% now. Progress is being made on this. But I’m not going to sit here and put aside all of these things that I believe in and have worked for and that I know work.

One of the most frustrating things to me about this entire Republican primary is sitting out there right in front of us for all of us to see. I don’t care how far you want to go back, if you want to go back to Buckley and Russell Kirk, if you want to go back to Edmund Burke, if you want to go back to Goldwater, you can do that and you can find how conservatism has positively influenced change in this country. But all you have to do, if you don’t want to go that far back, all you gotta do is go back to 1980. Now, I realize a lot of people get sick and tired of hearing about Ronald Reagan because there isn’t another Reagan out there, Reagan was a unique individual and so forth. I’m not pining away for somebody to be Ronald Reagan. What I am asking some Republican to see is that Ronald Reagan won two landslides coming off of a Jimmy Carter four years of malaise. Following Ronald Reagan, in 1994 we took back the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years, and we did this with conservative principles. What frustrates me is why the latest current crop of Republicans wants to ignore that and think that there’s a better way, when the evidence that shows progress, both economic, social, you name it, national security, defeating the Soviets in the Cold War, it’s all there. And why it is eschewed, why it is ignored, is something I’ve long told you this, in different ways, starting in the early days of this primary campaign. I’ve warned you that one of the things that concerns me most about all this is how conservatism is going to be redefined so as to fit whatever the current crop of candidates said it is. There’s a bunch of these guys running around saying they’re Reagan. None of them are. There’s not one Reagan conservative — well, I can’t say there’s not one, there may be one.

But the bottom line, the point is that the lessons are clear on whatever issue you want to raise: national security, taxes, economics, individual prosperity, domestic security. It’s all there: How to beat liberals; how to beat Democrats; how to take power from them. It’s all there. The frustrating thing to me is it’s being ignored. Or, some people are trying to redefine it. And I think I understand why, given some of the candidates here, based on the geography of their lives and where they live, it’s embarrassing to admit they’re a conservative because it causes them to be identified with a bunch of people they don’t want to be identified with when they go to parties or engage in their social life or what have you, all of which is profoundly frustrating to me, which is when I’m called an elite, I have to just chuckle. So that’s what’s frustrating to me. But I’ll tell you something else that’s frustrating to me. I’ve been behind this microphone 19-and-a-half years, behind a microphone during this type of show for 23 years, going back to 1984. And yet, identity politics, which is that politics practiced by the left, still is not seen through. Single-issue can cause people to end up choosing or supporting somebody, something, some candidate that is truly anathema to the rest of the lives that they lead. But we keep plugging away. But just don’t ask me to compromise my principles. You want to compromise yours, fine, but don’t ask me to make you feel better by joining you.

Amen to that Rush. Amen to that.

I feel the exact same way. If people like a certain candidate, fine. But I am sticking by my Conservative principles and will be voting for a Conservative. Knowing that, I am not going to fall for people trying to sway me to their guy by redefining Conservatism to fit their candidate. The only conservatives in this campaign are Fred Thompson and Duncan Hunter. Period. And I have already chosen to support Fred Thompson. If Fred Thompson ends up having to drop out of the campaign, then the only way someone is going to convince me to vote for their candidate is if they are first honest enough to admit that their candidate is not a Conservative. Then we can go from there.

January 4, 2008 , 2:15AM Posted by | 2008 Presidential Election, Abortion, Conservatism, Fred Thompson, John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Republicans, Rush Limbaugh | 3 Comments