Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Geraghty on the "conservative crack-up"

We saw this coming, but we find it irritating to be honest. I'll cite the Geraghty post, and then I'll explain our thinking:

One of my readers suggested that, no matter who the Republican nominee is, the 2008 GOP primary will be marked by a tear between social conservatives and fiscal conservatives. Social conservatives have looked at Rudy Giuliani leading the national polls for much of the year, and asked in disbelief to their coalition partners, ‘how can you support that guy?’ Now fiscal conservatives, and perhaps hawks, are looking at Huckabee and asking the same question to social conservatives.

This reader contended that even if some consensus nominee wins, both factions will look at the other with greater suspicion. "Yeah, we've been through a lot of fights together since the 1970s, but how can I trust them as allies when they were eager to give the nomination to that guy?"

The reaction to the criticism of Huckabee from both the Corner and corners of the righty blogosphere has revealed a few surprising dynamics.

Identity politics have now taken root in the Republican coalition. Apparently, some evangelicals
believe that the opposition to Harriet Miers and Alberto Gonzales was based on opposition to their evangelical faith, not any policy decision, misstep, or lack of qualifications on their part. Apparently NRO can be deemed anti-evangelical, or perhaps we have insufficient number of evangelicals on staff. It’s not too dissimilar from the earlier critique, ‘you’re not an evangelical, you wouldn’t understand.’ Criticism of an evangelical from a non-evangelical source is deemed ipso-facto evidence of deep-rooted, long-hidden anti-evangelical bigotry.

We may see this from different factions, but I have yet to see, "You're not a war on terror hawk, you can't understand."

Everybody’s a victim: Apparently some social conservatives believe that they’ve gotten a raw deal from the Republican Party in recent years. This is baffling to me, as the list of efforts by the GOP on behalf of social conservatives in just the Bush years includes the Terry Schiavo intervention, Alito, Scalia, faith-based initiatives, the partial-birth abortion ban, reinstating the Mexico City Policy, introduction of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, along with various state initiatives… What has the GOP not achieved on behalf of these voters that they legitimately could have, given the political reality of the Senate Democrats’ filibuster?

And yet we hear, ‘the party takes us social conservatives for granted, the elites expect us to keep our heads down and vote for whoever they tell us,’ etc. Or a

“Nobody at the elite level seems to expect the economic conservatives to suck it up for the sake of party unity. What does that say about the place of social conservatives in the party all these years?”

Really? We're supposed to interpret this as a sign that they’ve been taken for granted? The fiscal conservatives feel like they’ve been betrayed as government has grown larger during Bush’s administration and the explosion of pork. The hawks feel like the Bush administration turned into David Gergen in the second term – safe, consensus-driven, conciliatory, multilateral, slow-moving, boring. Can the social conservatives really make the case that they’ve gotten the short end of the stick?

But every faction always claims they're being ignored or insufficiently catered to by the party leadership. Has anybody ever said, "the Republican Party has been way too dedicated to the causes of my faction, and has really risked its general election appeal by adhering to my faction's principles and demands"?
Everybody's always convinced that they're the real majority of the party, and that their issues have gotten short shrift.

No one wants half a loaf, or even three quarters. In 2000, there were folks whose initial choice was John McCain, or Elizabeth Dole, or John Kasich, or Gary Bauer, or Alan Keyes, or Orrin Hatch. But in the end, Bush beat them, one by one, and everybody who initially backed one of those other candidates had to decide whether Bush was acceptable. Most of them did.

This is a party primary. Life isn't fair, and your guy doesn't always win. This is the way it's always been in politics.Your guy may win, or he may not. Of all the competitors, only one is walking away a winner; one may walk away with the consolation gift of the running mate position.

Earlier this year we had third-party talk if Giuliani was the nominee, and now we're hearing murmured threats of departing the party if Huckabee's opponents don't "preserve both his dignity and those of the people for whom he speaks so eloquently" from
Lee Harris. I have a feeling that every faction is so tired of hearing "my way or the highway" from everyone else that there will be many temper-flaring responses of "don't let the door hit you on the way out."

I have opined about this problem within the base for some time, and frankly both of us are right there with Mr. Geraghty. We're sick of the "my way or the highway" snarkiness from the social conservatives who believe that they, and they alone, hold all the answers and all the keys to the presidency. Really, social conservatives may have some idea about politics, but they really do think too much with their emotions, and not enough with logic.

Anyone know why 2008 is so damned important? The social conservatives we speak with acknowledge the war with a wave of their hand and a "but" at the end of their statement. In other words, they really don't have national security high on their priority list. They have the social issues up there, and Mr. Geraghty is right when he states that they are whining that they get shafted. Not true at all. We only need to look at President Bush's years in office to date to see that he has tried to cater to the social conservatives, and at times it's been to the detriment of the nation. (All we need for proof is the exorbitant spending that he has signed off on.)

We're not saying that we should ignore them. Hardly. We all need to stand together, accepting the nominee chosen, or we're in trouble. We can't afford to see a Democrat in the White House. Look at what these people are promising for America -- universal health care, more money thrown down the bottomless rat hole of the NEA, an increase in taxes, and a retreat from the war in general. This is what the Democrats plan and promise for America.

Now we have tried our best to work on the race from a strategy point of view; that being, who is and isn't going to have what it takes to win. Marcie and I agree that there are a possibility of four people who could win -- Romney, Giuliani, Thompson, and McCain. The primary reason for these people is the fact that they have the money, they have the support, and their right on the single most important issue in this election. That would be the war, and the fact that they have promised to remain on the offensive. Social conservatives, especially evangelicals, miss this issue because they don't think it's all that important. We'll agree that some of their issues are important to the nation and the base, but if we don't stay on offense and finish off our enemies, the social conservative agenda won't ever be fulfilled. We'll have bigger problems on our hands.

If they want to walk away in a snit, like a Democrat throwing a temper-tantrum because they didn't get their way, fine. But don't toss around threats to the base. We don't take kindly to such idle idiocy. And if they do come back later, they may find themselves on the receiving end of a very frosty reception, and they may find themselves frozen out of important issues or events.

Publius II


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