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In Conservative vs ‘Moderate’ Debate, Scott Brown’s Good Showing in Massachusetts Proves Conservatives’ Strategy Correct

Since the Democrats gained supermajorities in both Houses of Congress in November 2008, the argument has been made by “moderates” in the GOP that the GOP needs to take its platform more to the Left in order to attract more voters. Conservatives have rejected that theory and have asserted that the reason the GOP has been losing is that the Party members have not stuck to conservative principles and not given the people a true alternative to the left-wing policies of the Democrat Party.

The compromise rebuttal then by the “moderates” is that the GOP must run “moderate” to liberal-leaning Republicans in liberal areas of the country and conservatives only in conservative areas of the country. Conservatives have responded to that by saying that we should not dilute the GOP brand and if an area wants a liberal representative, then it might as well be a Democrat. The “moderates” claim that that is a foolish losing cause which will never gain the GOP back the majority. Conservatives counter that it is better to at least provide people a conservative alternative and try to persuade people of our values, instead of just giving up.

Well, fast forward to the Massachusetts special election to fill the Senate seat opened by the death of Ted Kennedy. Republican candidate Scott Brown is campaigning against Democrat Candidate Martha Coakley. From everything I have read about the policy positions and political ideology of Scott Brown, he seems to be a solid conservative. And, other than his support for abortion, he’s even a social conservative in that he is against re-defining marriage.

In my opinion, this proves correct the conservative argument for campaigning conservatives, even in liberal areas of the country. “Moderates” argued back during the NY-23 Congressional election that Dede Scozzofava would be an acceptable GOP candidate in liberal parts of the country. Conservatives argued that she would never be an acceptable GOP candidate anywhere, that if people wanted a candidate with her far-left wing political ideology, then they might as well vote for a Democrat and the GOP should not dilute it’s platform to bring in liberal candidates such as her.

Well, here we have arguably one of the most liberal States in the Union, and all polls are showing that providing a conservative option for which the people can vote is a successful strategy.

Maybe now the so-called “pragmatists” can stop their ridiculous criticism (ie, “living in ‘fantasy land'”) of conservatives’ strategy. The success of Scott Brown in Massachusetts is a bright shining example that unapologetic conservatism is a winning strategy, even in one of the most liberal States in the Union.

Rush was great on this topic today as well, reminding people that he has been one of the prominent voices loudly rejecting the “moderates'” strategy from the beginning: A Look Back One Year Later: Reagan Conservatism Can’t Win?

RUSH: We were told ten months ago we couldn’t win in New England. We shall see. The entire argument a few months ago by liberal Republicans, Democrats alike, GOP was a regional party, conservatism is dead, must become more moderate, demographics make Reaganism impossible, the era of Reagan is over, all these pundits who said this, many of them on our side need to quit, many of them are people who denounced me and other conservatives. And look where we are now. We’re on the verge of taking ‘Teddy Kennedy’s seat’ and a large number of people in our own movement a year ago said nothing like this was ever possible, we couldn’t do it as conservatives. We’re doing it precisely as conservatives.


I mentioned earlier I was going to take a one-year look-back at the Republican Party, the GOP. Let’s do it now. The fact is that when the Republican Party and conservatives were at their lowest morale, 12 months ago, when they were completely out of sorts and near panic, it was I, and others, who stood up and insisted that we get back to basics, that we advance conservative principles, the only principles that had the answers for our time. That we relearn them; that we become confident in them; that we spread them; that we push back against the moderate Republicans who had nearly killed the party; that we reinvigorate the conservative movement, which had been left to die by successive Republican administrations and Congresses. We fought the David Brookses, the David Frums, the Colin Powells, the Tom Ridges. We fought some on our own side who proclaimed the death of Reaganism and Goldwaterism and insisted that we become more like those who defeated us. They urged that we drop the matters of small government, tax cuts, and limits on spending. They urged that we embrace global warming and amnesty for illegal aliens. They told us we had become a regional party. They told us we had become a white man’s party, that we either change and become more like our adversaries or we would perish.

We heard this from the self-appointed sages who claimed to be conservative leaders and Republican leaders. We heard it from so-called conservative columnists and commentators. And of course we heard it from the liberal media and their favorite liberal Republican guests. We were being assaulted with the notion that conservatism was out of date and out of time. The only way we could win was to become moderate, to attract independents and Democrats to our party. We’ve gotta drop the incivility of our discourse. We’ve gotta stop being divisive. Our own people were telling us this just a year ago, and they were wrong. They were all wrong. On this program we refused to accept the death of conservatism. On the contrary, my attitude, my position was to make our case for conservatism better than ever before, because it was the only thing that could save our society. I said then, as I do now, that it was and is crucial to expose Obama and his allies, to defeat them, to insist that they fail, which I knew they would, and to offer the nation an alternative, not watered-down arguments, not tweaks of their premises, not apologies. We don’t need to apologize for ourselves. We don’t need to excuse ourselves. We need to offer a real, solid, understandable alternative. And that was and is conservatism.

Related: Supporting Scott Brown: Pragmatism or Principle? by Rick Moran at Pajamas Media

An excerpt:

You can’t pigeonhole Scott Brown. He’s a conservative — but he’s not. He’s a squishy RINO — but he’s not. He’s pro-choice, pro-gun, pro-consumer protection, pro-free market, and pro-environment. He opposes gay marriage but supported a regional cap-and-trade scheme — a vote he now says was a mistake. He supported the Massachusetts health insurance plan promoted by Mitt Romney with its individual mandate, although he now says that they need to get costs under control.

The picture that emerges after examining this fellow’s record and his position on the issues is one of an independent thinker with conservative principles who doesn’t allow ideology to dominate his thinking or his politics. Prudent, pragmatic, reasonable, but not squishy about where he stands (see his fight to repeal the sales tax increase and his battle over gay marriage).

He appears to be thoughtful and nuanced. His abortion stance mixes classic libertarian thinking with the concerns of a parent with two daughters. He grants women the right to choose and opposes partial birth abortions, but he wants strict parental notification requirements as well.

Also, a good comment left at the post:

Big Red:

Does Brown pass the “Reagan Test”? Does he give me 80%? Fiscal conservative, pro-gun, anti-Obamacare, national defense, Crap and Tax a bad idea, illegal immigration, pretty good so far. Abortion, pro-choice not so good, but against partial birth and for parental notification so that gets me 2 out of 3. Romneycare, not much, but that is one of the powers left to the various States by the Constitution and Mass. doing it is up to the people of Mass. Just don’t tell me I have to pay for it, which seems to me a Conservative position. So he looks pretty good to me. Like Rudy, not total agreement, but on the whole, pretty close. To me, a RINO is not someone who disagrees with me on something, but pokes a stick in my eye while doing it. You hear me, Arlen?


January 15, 2010 , 7:56PM - Posted by | Conservatism, Republicans, Scott Brown

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