from September 2014, Government
Yes, I'm serious with that question: Are Conservatives Smart? I don’t mean in an IQ kind of way, but more in a street-smart, politically-savvy kind of way. The more I travel conservative circles and hear responses from those who claim to be conservative, the more I am inclined to think we conservatives are not politically smart.
One such item that bothers my colleague, G.W. Washington, and myself is the inability of conservatives to see the long-view on the political landscape. Conservatives are mostly about the next election. Rarely, if ever, have I been in the presence of conservatives and learn about their 20-, 10- or even 5-year plan. Why? Because most conservatives do not think that far ahead. Conservatives are easily angered by liberals and progressive policies, vowing to do all they can to get rid of the bums in Washington, Salem or Klamath Falls. However, if doing so requires building a strategic 10-year plan, all bets are off. Conservatives can not seem to seem to see beyond hill just in front of them.
This is why conservatives play defense so much of the time. We seem to be always voting “No” to liberal agendas. Very rarely are conservatives putting ballot initiatives together in order to move their agenda forward. Where is the ballot measure to make County Commissioners partisan again? Where is the ballot initiative to require 50% of voters to approve any sort of new tax or levy? Where are the ballot initiatives to lower property taxes? Where are they? Of course every now and then there are exceptions. But you will see this play out if you look at your November ballot. Notice that there is not one conservative agenda on the ballot — all of the ideas and ballot measures are progressive ones.
Problem: Your general ballot for congressman, governor, senator, state representative, county commissioner or city council person does NOT contain a conservative candidate. The general election is between a moderate Republican and a Democrat (who is liberal — that pretty much goes without saying). The common retort is to “vote as conservative as you can”. In other words, hold your nose and vote for the Republican, because it will be better than having a Democrat in office — or so the thinking goes.
This has been the conventional wisdom for about 50 years. Let me ask, how’s this advice working out? Do moderate Republicans deliver on conservative agendas? Are we moving in a more conservative direction as a country and as a community?
This advice, while helping ease our conscious, does little to help to move any conservative agenda forward, and actually does much harm. Why? Because moderate Republicans are not in the business of upsetting the status quo. Moderate Republicans find their home in better managing the current systems put in place by liberal Democrats. Think about it. Where is the outcry from the National Republican party over Obamacare? At first opposition and repeal language was loud and large, but recently have you heard anything? If asked, the GOP will say they can't do anything until the have control of the Senate. But stop and think, is this the overarching theme from the Republican party for their Senate candidates? Do you think once in control of the Senate the GOP will repeal Obamacare? Or do you think the GOP will instead try to make Obamacare better and more manageable? Will they work with the President on some sort of compromise to get something done? If you guessed the second answer, you're getting it. Moderate candidates and legislators are all about being liked and getting along. That’s how they get re-elected — which is their #1 goal that supersedes all other policy matters. Fighting to tear down a bureaucracy is not in their nature and therefore they won't take a stand unless there is complete political cover for such an action. Why? Because tearing down a government program means people benefiting from the program become upset. When people get upset they make a lot of noise and demonize the person taking away their freebie. Moderates melt in such conditions like an ice cube on the equator. Therefore moderates avoid any such activity of undoing government programs and bureaucracies put in motion by Democrats.