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To begin, so that there is no mistake, I am recommending no candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, much preferring that the process and conservative primary and caucus voters work their will. The focus here is about principle in politics, not about picking personalities. And I certainly agree that there was no “Reagan Senate” between 1981-1986 but rather, just as Mr. Viguerie says, a “Republican Senate.” Yet even Mr. Viguerie admits that “many of these Establishment Republicans went down to defeat because they did not advance the Reagan agenda.” That, of course, is precisely my point. But while some of these candidates did not support all of the Reagan agenda, they did support pieces of it, and their mere physical presence in majority numbers guaranteed that the Reagan agenda did, in many critical respects, get a hearing and a vote as provided by the Senate leadership machinery.
Under no circumstances am I critical of Dr. Dobson (or others) for appealing to “moral principle.” Bravos all around. I am certainly on board with the Viguerie assertion that Establishment Republicans have squandered victories won by conservatives. And yes, I have not the slightest doubt that if there is a GOP “thumpin’” in 2008, Establishment types will be out there blaming Dr. Dobson for the loss just as they blamed Goldwater or Reagan in 1964. But this isn’t 1964, it’s post-Reagan 2007 and there is a considerable conservative army that simply learned decades ago how utterly eternal and bogus the allegation will always be. The plea to be Hillary-lite will be dismissed (just as was the idea that we could be Lyndon-lite or Jimmy-lite). As a matter of fact I cited an original version of this (in the 2006 December issue of The American Spectator) that popped up in paperback book form barely a month after the Goldwater defeat. It’s a very old dog, it will be set loose yet again if there is a 2008 loss, and it will never hunt.
Mr. Viguerie and I do seem to disagree, or perhaps the better phrase is talk past one another, on one point. I do not blame conservatives for losing elections because they take conservative positions. To the contrary. Given a choice between a real liberal and a liberal-lite, voters will take the real thing every time. Never would I advocate that conservatives seek to be the un-conservative. It’s bad politics and, as we have found all too often, dreadful governance as Goldwater so aptly pointed out with the phrase “dime store New Deal.” I do blame conservatives for walking into a general election voting booth long after the primary choices have been settled, knowing something as important as Roe v. Wade is at stake, having a full understanding of how the Constitution has set up the legislative, executive and judicial machinery and deliberately taking a pass because the GOP candidate is imperfect.
The genius of the Constitution, and it is admittedly a politically frustrating fact, is that it is specifically designed to keep any one group from completely running the show. History shows very clearly that even FDR and LBJ had problems with members of their own party in the Congress, each man given only a brief window in time to get his way. Knowing this to be the case, the idea that control of the White House or the Senate or the House should be pitched overboard at a critical moment because the winner will not be a Reagan-clone or a 100% collection of Reagan clones seems to me a willful acceptance of the other side’s agenda. Something I am not prepared to do. This is particularly so when the issue at hand is appointments to the Supreme Court and the federal bench. Willfully electing someone (Hillary) who is sworn to cement this case into law forever because we just don’t like her opponent’s stance on something else — while the same opposition candidate is openly committing to appoint constitutionalists in the mold of Scalia and Thomas etc. — seems to me to be, as I feel was amply demonstrated in 1986, a less than full commitment to overturning Roe.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?