Friday, February 15, 2008

Dealing in Reality

February 13, 2008

One of the things that first attracted me to conservative politics was NOT conservative politicians, but rather conservative political theory was more reality based than Utopian theory.
Dealing with differences in politics is different than dealing with differences in Christianity. In Christianity (as opposed to religion), pragmatism to compromise the message is heresy. A good friend of mine used to use the slogan, Relevant When Reaching Out, Reverent When Reaching Up.

I have noticed increasingly since the “silent majority” was mobilized by Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson years back, that there has been a increasing tendency to use an orthodoxy test in the political realm.Basically, leaders have used the same tactics they would in a religious denomination to control their political adherents to their policies of political orthodoxy. Actually, it was quite a successful and brilliant sociological observation and application.

Unintended Consequences
As we saw in films like Jesus Camp, many evangelicals have wrapped Jesus, the Cross, the American Flag and the Republican Party into a package deal. While I know many evangelicals who truly do not understand how a Christian could vote for a democrat and still be a Christian, they have allowed their values to be defined by a political party, party leaders and pundits rather than the Bible.; allowing their worldview to be shaped by Dr. Dobson, Pat Robertson and Fox News.

Of course the fall out has not just been in the political realm, but also in the church, which is a movement that is many ways the antithesis to (and rejection of ) the moral majority, and it is varies from Rick Warren to the social gospel to some believing that the government should be the ultimate hope and savior of the poor .

We see another trend in conversions over the last decade where there is a larger scale testing of orthodoxy among the conservative. For example, Catholic converts intolerance of their former protestant brothers and tendency to be more catholic (or less tolerant) than their priest or bishop. And Creedal protestants (reformed) in a continual war on who can carry the reformed banner, with the converts being a brand of mean spirited brethren who is out to win an argument of who is the most orthodox, rather than to allow themselves to be used as the city of the hill. There has been a tendency to litmus test each other to see if we are really _______, or ________ enough. Just fill in the blank to the descriptive.

Good for the Goose
What is good for the goose is not always good for the gander. While the need to avoid a pragmatism in faith is obvious, unless one is a humanist whose faith (or god) is the government, political decisions are made in a much more pragmatic fashion.
Conservatives made huge gains for many cycles because of democrats reaching to their base in primaries caused them to by-pass candidates that would have won in the general election. This year, the conservatives are making the same error, demanding to be placated.

What have we done?

We had the same opportunity to field candidates and support them as anyone else did, but didn’t. We had the same chance to get out the vote, but didn’t. We had the same chance to generate enthusiasm for our candidate as anyone else, but haven’t. Why are we whining instead of solving???I look to some of the differences we are crying about and I find some real hypocrisy.

As a conservative I must speak out. We all see how much it cost to run for office and said it was broke, what was our solution? Do nothing. We all see the quality and the difference of choice of candidates (including not having one of our own for how long???) And we did what? Nothing. But somebody tries to do something and we boo it. Where has been our remedy to fix Campaign Finance Laws if we hate it so much? Where is the legislation? Where is the restoration of our lost first amendment rights we are screaming about? It is little more than a whining point until some action occurs.

Why is it a conservative position to have a marriage amendment to the constitution? Is not the conservative position for a smaller, states right government? Then why does the federal government defining marriage by constitutional amendment make any sense? What is in the constitution that makes marriage anything else?

Pro life? Where was George Bush and Jeb Bush with Terry Schiavo? If we want to get beyond abortion in defining pro-life , then there are a whole lot of litmus tests that conservatives are not going to be on the same page on. Oh, and what was Reagan’s position or his families?

On borders. Having been “a foot soldier in the immigration fight” ,firing illegal’s whose had bad social security numbers in Denver , witnessing the federal government notifying employers SSN’s didn’t match, and employers ignored it. The government knew where illegals were and ignored it, citing the positive effect it had in taxes that were received that benefits were not accrued. In other words, the government policy was to not enforce the law, not come down on employers heavily supporting our politicians for hiring illegals and allow the infrastructure of our communities to suffer supporting the impact the illegal labor brought with it in terms of healthcare and assistance.

Our conservative response, say it was out of control and sending them back was a pipe dream. So pragmatically, if that is the executive position, do you complain or do you find another alternative? But when you come up with alternative to just ignoring the problem and not enforcing the law, you are soft on immigration.

Ignore the pundits
While I may not agree with all the solutions that Senator Mc Cain brought to the table, I certainly like them much better than the ones the conservatives did not bring. I will always choose a leader who seeks a solution to a problem and is not afraid to fight the status quo over someone who has a eye on their ACU rating. That reminds me of quarterbacks who are more concerned about their passer ratings than the team winning.

A few questions; how can we expand budgets and cut taxes in a time of war and be fiscally conservative? Is being fiscally irresponsible and expanding the government ever a conservative position? Is overextending the military a conservative position? Is not enforcing the law a conservative position? Is amending the constitution a conservative position? And who gets to define what is conservative?

I have heard many of the pundits say now is the time for the Mc Cain to solidify the base. I disagree. Now is the time to reach out to the general public and start your campaign and compare yourself to others in the race. The base has their choice to make, you have nine months to compare and contrast yourself to the electorate. Be who you are, not who people want you to be. Don’t be a fake for anyone.

Let the voters decide if you are conservative enough, not the pundits.

3 comments:

juandos said...

Interesting posting...

Sadly I think McCain brings absolutely nothing and I mean nothing to the table but his dishonest, parasitic self...

I do have to disagree with this line: "This year, the conservatives are making the same error, demanding to be placated"...

I think conservatives are NOT making a mistake and they're not asking to be placated...

No conservatives are asking the electorate to NOT repeat the mistakes that have cost this country and its productive individuals dearly...

The obvious mistake is in electing a liberal regardless of whether he calls himself a compassionate conservative or some other silly label...

"Our conservative response, say it was out of control and sending them back was a pipe dream"...

Hmmm, which real conservatives have said that?

The lovely Ms. Malkin has a commentary that does a far better job that I could ever hope to do in explaining the conservative voice: In Defense of Conservative Talk Radio

John said...

juandos,

Senor~~thanks for the detailed response to the article.

In many ways I see a parallel to another situation I have observed with a similar subset of people. I was asked to serve in church leadership in a "historic creedal" church about two years ago.

The people I was to serve with and even those who attended the church have a great knowledge of scripture, doctrine, the confessions, and some of them greek, hebrew, aramic and church history.

I looked at this group with all their knowledge and saw great potential energy that was never put into motion. We were well read, we were well versed and yet no one came to our new church, and when they did come, they didn't stay.

I compared this to one of the best trained football teams assembled that never took the field. They could tell you (and did) where everyone went astray, was wrong (in error), how to correct it, but could never translate that into actionable useage that had a postive effect on the community.

I have heard several pundits remarked they doubted Mc Cain cared how they felt, or would respond, but yet do not seem to credit his reaching out. I had said, if I was him and had received the treatment (since 2000) that he had, I would not be worrying myself if the "conservatives" came along or not, because their opinions have been stated- I would never support Mc Cain, I would never vote for Mc Cain" Yet they think that CPAC was a start and we will see what more he does. That is wanting pandered to.

IN the post above I lay out much of what we discussed over the past two years as an overview where I feel the elected conservatives have lied and betrayed the conservatives themselves.

My concern is the actionable future, and who is my best bet for the dollar. I believe Mr. Elder makes a good case without overstating any points.

On the counter, I feel conservatives have been involved in too many half-truths dating back to first Bush years, which is nothing but democrats bs in repug's format.

I detest everytime I see Santorum broguht out as a psoter boy for conservatism. He flat out lied about Casey in the campaign when he didnt need to, he slit Toomeys throat, he supported Spector , but was to be the GOP future candidate for president in grooming. Well his crap all blew up on him and he is the embodiment of what I detest about the pseudo-conservative fraud foisted off on us when we had two branches in control and we did everything but the conservative agenda. What he said carries zero weight.

It is time conservatives get on what we are going to be doing and have boots on the ground doing it, not something in the etheral zone . The contract with american was more utopian than reality fourteen year later.

And we are to trust the same people? And those same people dont want us to trust other people? I think they all need an enema Russ, they have screwed us over and left our kids with a debt. If they were a business they would be in jail.

juandos said...

Hey John:

Your comment: "I compared this to one of the best trained football teams assembled that never took the field. They could tell you (and did) where everyone went astray, was wrong (in error), how to correct it, but could never translate that into actionable useage that had a postive effect on the community."...

A passing dig at the New England Patriots?...:-)

Naw, just kidding but your point here is well taken...

The one overriding problem I think I'm seeing with conservatives is that as a group they seem to have a hard time believing that other people, people in every physical way just like them can be so dang dumb...

This next comment: "I have heard several pundits remarked they doubted Mc Cain cared how they felt, or would respond, but yet do not seem to credit his reaching out."...

Well you do have to remember that McCain is a KNOWN liar so this alledged reaching out by McCain is at best questionable...

You know that old saying: "burn me once shame on you, burn me twice, shame on me"...

Now here's the meat of the present day situation: "I feel the elected conservatives have lied and betrayed the conservatives themselves"...

This obviously begs the question: 'are these politicos conservatives first and politicians second or are they conservatives at all?'...

Re: Santorum... Well John you are preaching to the choir here amigo...

This last comment by you: "And we are to trust the same people? And those same people dont want us to trust other people? I think they all need an enema Russ, they have screwed us over and left our kids with a debt"...

Well I for one have much the same feeling about it all...

Note how everyone talks about Reagan and his tax cuts...

Yet did Reagan get rid of even one of the bureaucracies spawned by LBJ's so called war on poverty?

NO!...

Thanks to Bruce Bartlett we do know the apparently dirty little secret about Reagan, he did sign tax increase bills...

A Taxing Experience

The only problem with this analysis is that it is historically inaccurate. Reagan may have resisted calls for tax increases, but he ultimately supported them. In 1982 alone, he signed into law not one but two major tax increases. The Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act (TEFRA) raised taxes by $37.5 billion per year and the Highway Revenue Act raised the gasoline tax by another $3.3 billion.

According to a recent Treasury Department study, TEFRA alone raised taxes by almost 1 percent of the gross domestic product, making it the largest peacetime tax increase in American history. An increase of similar magnitude today would raise more than $100 billion per year.

In 1983, Reagan signed legislation raising the Social Security tax rate. This is a tax increase that lives with us still, since it initiated automatic increases in the taxable wage base. As a consequence, those with moderately high earnings see their payroll taxes rise every single year.

In 1984, Reagan signed another big tax increase in the Deficit Reduction Act. This raised taxes by $18 billion per year or 0.4 percent of GDP. A similar-sized tax increase today would be about $44 billion.

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 raised taxes yet again. Even the Tax Reform Act of 1986, which was designed to be revenue-neutral, contained a net tax increase in its first 2 years. And the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 raised taxes still more.

The year 1988 appears to be the only year of the Reagan presidency, other than the first, in which taxes were not raised legislatively. Of course, previous tax increases remained in effect. According to a table in the 1990 budget, the net effect of all these tax increases was to raise taxes by $164 billion in 1992, or 2.6 percent of GDP. This is equivalent to almost $300 billion in today's economy.

So just how conservative was Reagan?