The Spectacle Blog

Re: Promises. Etc.

By on 1.12.08 | 3:05PM

John, I'm Jennifer, not Phil but I agree with James on this.

Writing people in and out of the movement disturbs me for several reasons. I have a substantial article in a print magazine on the subject coming out in February so I don't want to give away the ending but I'll give a couple of thoughts here. First, there are people who are clearly more or less conservative but to say McCain is "not conservative" I think is poppycock and will result in a very, very small conservative movement that can fit in a phone booth. Reagan in 1980 or after the 1986 amnesty bill wouldn't measure up to the definition some folks are constructing. Second, I think it is very unhelpful in evaluating what the candidates are actually saying and where they stand on issues. Is Romney "not conservative"? Is Huckabee "not conservative" I think it is more accurate and instructive to say "Mittcare is not conservative and here is why" and "Huckabee is socially conservative but doesn't espouse free market, low tax economic principles." (Yeah, it doesn't fit on a bumper sticker but I think precision does count for something.) Moreover, since the argument phrased as "so and so is not conservative" is so vague and imprecise a reasonably adept opponent can usually rebut the argument rather easily.

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