May 23 2008

The Fight Over The Future Of Conservatism And The GOP Is On

See Update Below

Well, it started back in 2006 when Bush nominated ex-democrat (wasn’t Reagan an ex-dem?) Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court and the far right went ape.  The far right rose up again on Dubai Ports World’s selection to run some US docks.  Even though the UAE, home of DPW, hosts the largest US naval port in the Middle East, some felt those Ayrabs were too much of a threat to be allied to have majority ownership (no dock hands of course) in a company that loads and unloads ships.  The ignorance on how things work demonstrated at the time was stunning – and ugly.

Then came a real issue, a national issue.  Then came comprehensive immigration reform and the far right went ballistic and called all who disagree with them traitors, un-American and worse.  Compounding their disgusting behavior towards political allies (acting like Sadrists to Maliki’s Shiites) they basically started lying to themselves and America about what was in the bill, what was the utility of existing laws, and equating all immigrants with the few bad apples all populations have.  In the irony of all ironies the bad apples they held up as examples of the evils of immigration were the very ones they insured would stay around as they stopped a bill that would deport criminals!  Great thinking there.

Now that issue is back because all those who opposed comprehensive immigration reform have fallen by the wayside since 2006 and 2007.   The standard bearer of the hard line crowd on immigration, Tom Tancredo, lost his bid for President and his seat in Congress.  Many others followed his example and the one left standing is John McCain.  McCain, like Bush and many other republican conservatives (as opposed to ‘true’ conservatives), supported the comprehensive bills proposed in 2006 and 2007.  He supports it now. Bush has done more than any other President to seal our borders, turning back 1.3 million illegals last year alone.  There is no more catch and release plan.  Caught and sent home.

Now is the time to deal with registering workers and those who have been here a long time making a living as undocumented workers.  Now is the time to register foreign workers and remove the underground economy that can not only hide 20 million illegal immigrants for decades, but hide cells of terrorists.  It is time to step away from the fringes on the right and left (who have unrealistic desires with no public backing) and deal with the problem realistically.  And that is what McCain is going to do:

In yet another sign of his pivoting toward the general election, Senator John McCain said at a roundtable with business leaders here today that comprehensive immigration reform should be a top priority for the next president.

Mr. McCain’s willingness to address the issue was striking given how the topic became something of a third-rail for Republican presidential candidates during the primary.

The response by the far right was predictable and swift – and signaled the final chapter in the purity wars of the conservative movement.  Either the purists win and the GOP goes into terminal minority status or the broader coalition wins and progress is made through compromise and teamwork.  Personally I already know the answer because politics in a democracy only divvies out power to those who make broad alliances and who can compromise.  Ideologues who demand everyone bow to them always end up on the margins.

If McCain wins he will have made clear that the GOP and conservative movement can achieve success without the ‘true’ conservatives.  I am an independent conservative.  I have resisted joining the GOP for decades because of the purists.  It is a combination of being repulsed by their arrogance and completely unimpressed with their solutions.  Arrogance needs to be backed up with something, and there is not a lot there in many cases (not all of course, and I am focused on leaders and leading voices).  I actually have no dog in this fight accept to find the best opposition to liberal policies.  I don’t look for the purist conservative because the world changes to much and too fast to lock into one concept.  It is a false sense fo security some seek in defining rigid dogma.  

It is not my path, nor the path of many.  Who will win?  In the long run the ‘true’ conservatives will lose.  the question is whether a short term success can be won when fighting the liberals on the left and the fringes on the right.  I think this is the year of the centrists where America shrugs off the fringes and marches to the center to get some problems solved.  

Update:  Some other folks people should be listening to on this matter of whether there is a conservative GOP (big tent) or only ‘true’ conservatives (pup tent).  The Anchoress, who is leaving the GOP, and Harold Hutchison, who links other voices who have decided the purists are not the future.

If I may be so blunt as to remind those on the right that we are at war with religious fanatics who demand purity to their views at gunpoint.  I am not equating Islamo Fascism with ‘true’ conservatives.  I am only pointing out that a country which is tired of the war on fanatics, but sees no path out except to keep soldiering on, may take its frustrations out on the next best example they can find and impact.  

There is too much demand to toe-the-line on ideological grounds for this nation to stomach anymore.  By far the most cancerous and destructive variant comes from the Jihadis.  But the endless griping between far left and far right is not earning respect or support either. At some point America is saying enough to the purists, we are going back to the respect on peaceful coexistence of diversity and impurity.

The reason the far right is losing so badly is they have not given up their purity wars.  We are a war weary country and would trade diversity and peace over anger and fighting any day of the week.  Just as the Iraqis are settling into their diverse, common ground to end the real fighting there, America is doing the same. With or without the fringes.

66 responses so far

66 Responses to “The Fight Over The Future Of Conservatism And The GOP Is On”

  1. WWS says:

    Nice post, Ivehadit. Pretty much my views across the board.

  2. ivehadit says:

    Thanks, WWS.

  3. VinceP1974 says:

    >75, first of all, I am a conservative who supports Roberts and Alito, who were considered by Ann Coulter as, Let’s see how conservative they are, I’m not sure they are conservative enough.

    I supported them too.

    >And I support the President’s immigration stance.

    I agree with it generally in the abstract. I have trouble believing that a “Guest worker program” will enforce the “Guest” part… Europe had a “Guest Worker Program” and now they’re facing jihad from within their own broders.

    The Immigration Bill that McCain drafted was a piece of crap. Why were there no hearings? Why was the public not allowed to participate in the drafting of the bill and the compromises?

    Why was it treated like the 10 Commandments descending from the Mountain.

    These asses in Congress have hearings for steroids by athletes but no hearings for something as critical as the future of our nation?

    The Bill stunk to high heaven.

    >I want english as our stated language.

    Me too

    >And I supported the Dubai ports deal.

    I didn’t support it, but I didn’t oppose it either

    >And I supported his hardline stance on terrorists.

    Not hard enough. But he’s doing better than anyone else would.

    >Abortion is not one of my pet issues but, I do support the ban on third term abortions.

    Abortion should be “deConstitutionalized” and allow the States to settle their own policy. This is a Republic not a Judicial Tryanny.

    >And I understand what the President is trying to do regarding the global warming farse.

    Bush has Triangulated the Republicans into obscurity.

    I want Leadership not Calculation.

    >I support the ban on gay marriage but would allow civil unions.

    I support the people and the State Legislatures deciding and not courts. In principle I oppose gay marriage.

    >I supported Terry Schiavo being kept alive.

    Me too. It baffles me that people complain about this.

    > And by all means, cut taxes as much as possible and keep the government out of our business.

    All tax cuts are going bye bye next year.. thanks for the tax hike, Bush and GOP Congress.

    >It’s apparently the SOCIAL conservatives who have more stringent views than me.

    The SoCons weren’t looking for much… but given their abuse by the GOP and the lack of follow up with any other of the pillars of Republican conservative base, the SoCons were the first to finally say BASTA.

    >So who’s more conservative: fiscal conservatives, paleo conservatives, social conservatives, neoconservatives, Bush conservatives? Get mey drift?

    Bush is not conservative. Cutting taxes and fighting our enemies shouldn’t really be something that we should thank our lucky stars a Republican has done… that’s the bare minimum!

    >It’’s been quite a coalition made up of Evangelicals ( who, on the whole believe in global warming!), social conservatives, religious right, fiscal conservatives, moderates and libertarians we have in the republican party.

    And all groups betrayed by that party.

    >See, as the proverb states, there is a time to reap and a time to sow. It’s not all black and white ALL of the time.

    The GOP has reaped the whirlwind or something.

    Ask not for whom the bell tolls.. it tolls for the party of Lincoln.

    >You’re not giving up anything of what you believe to govern this country as President when you realize that this is a country where 48% of the people voted AGAINST the conservative in ‘00 and ‘04. They actually voted for John Kerry, a true liberal. The President has to govern ALL the people and he can’t be a dictator (which is what a liberal will do!)

    Uh huh.. just wait till Obama wins… you won’t hear any of this mamby pamby “lets rule as if we’re still in the minority” policy the Republicans have stuck to since the Govt shutdown.

    >Jihadists believe that they are 100% correct all of the time and that all of us should believe as they do. They are not governed by the people, of the people or for the people. They are dictators, which is what I am saying many on the social right have become and don’t realize it. They are trying to hold all the factions in the republican party hostage and then crying that moderates are trying to do the same. Whether or not moderates are trying to do the same is up for debate, but I can say this: WE MUST WIN IN NOVEMBER. My children’s and grandchildren’s lives depend on it, not to mention our beloved America.

    You make them sound like Leftists. Thanks to gutless republicans, there’s no one to fight the Left.

  4. 75 says:

    Ive, my thoughts exactly. 100% of Jihadists are wrong. 48% of Americans are wrong. And now the republican presidential candidate is someone willing to compromise with the 48% of America that is wrong. The republican party has entered that realm where pandering is more important to them than what’s right for or country. Enter, the centrist McCain, the candidate who’s greatest asset for being elected is that he’s not Obama or Clinton. And McCain will exit the same way all centrists do and America will go right back to looking for a strong conservative to lead the country back to the very place they abandoned so many times before. It matters little to me if the Terryes and AJs of the country believe it. It only matters that it’s happens again and again and again and they still don’t get it.

  5. 75 says:

    Terrye, you finally got something right.
    You still don’t know why McCain is the candidate.

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