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AMERICAN CONSERVATISM IN 2008 AND BEYOND

 
 
Foxfyre
 
Reply Sat 8 Mar, 2008 12:44 pm
It has been widely speculated that President Bush and the GOP fell into widespread disfavor and lost majority control of Congress when they abandoned basic conservative principles.

It is a given that most American liberals didn't like President Bush to begin with and didn't vote for Republicans for Congress either. Therefore, it can be concluded that the GOP lost power when it violated those issues most important to their base generally imbedded in an ideology known as modern Conservatism.

As a replacement for the "Bush aftermath" thread which is drawing to a close, perhaps this thread could be a place where we could discuss where conservatives got it right, where we went wrong, what we need to do to regain the confidence of the Conservative base, and other GOP/Conservative issues.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 51 • Views: 835,186 • Replies: 25,007

 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Mar, 2008 12:48 pm
For starters, some of the issues that I think have been large or small factors in the loss of confidence in the GOP:

The economy
The weak dollar
Immigration
The War in Iraq
Protection of marriage
Serious public relations stumbles
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Mar, 2008 03:58 pm
Hi, Foxy. Is this the new Anti-conservatives, -Republicans and -Bush thread?
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Mar, 2008 04:03 pm
I agree with you that Conservatives have it completely wrong on the Economy, Immigration and the War in Iraq. They are paying for each of these mistakes in elections.

I would add that Conservatives also have a big ethics problem (with the number of them that are found stealing, or the hypocrisy of anti-gay activists who "aren't gay")... but perhaps this is what you mean by "public relations stumbles".

Extreme religion-based positions like stopping stem cell research have really hurt conservatives, as has the fact that they are increasingly seen as racist (and are driving most minorities from the GOP).

I think that the "protection of marriage" thing has, up to this point, been a net political plus for conservatives. However society continues to change and this will become another liability as so many conservative issues (like segregation to keeping women from voting) have done in the past.

The real interesting trend is the breakup of the unholy alliance between conservative religious people, and conservative wealthy people. This was the alliance that Reagan rode to power (and so many followed).

This alliance was a fluke and is now fracturing as the demands of the religious (keeping people from doing what they consider to be "sinful") and the wealthy (making and keeping lots of money) are no longer aligned.
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Mar, 2008 06:43 pm
Isn't it fascinating...

less then .0001% of the conservative people in America seem to be harboring an anti-homosexual agenda while being closet homosexuals, yet the entire movement has ethics issues. The President says the Gov't will not fund stem cell research using new fetal stem cells, yet that becomes "stopping stem cell research".

Who know what the future will bring for those in the right. A McCain Presidency will surely bring the US back to a more conservative then Bush has placed us for sure. Being far more fiscally responsible then Bush shouldn't be a far stretch for him.

Liberal hyperbole will continue to stretch the patience of America and I think that will allow the conservatives to gain ground in the next election cycle.
JTT
 
  2  
Reply Sat 8 Mar, 2008 07:24 pm
McGentrix wrote:
Isn't it fascinating...

Who know what the future will bring for those in the right. A McCain Presidency will surely bring the US back to a more conservative then Bush has placed us for sure. Being far more fiscally responsible then Bush shouldn't be a far stretch for him.



Wanna try this paragraph again, McG?
JTT
 
  2  
Reply Sat 8 Mar, 2008 07:37 pm
Ticomaya wrote:
Hi, Foxy. Is this the new Anti-conservatives, -Republicans and -Bush thread?


No, Tico. This is the,

"After five interminable Bush supporting threads filled with falsehood after falsehood it's now time to distance ourselves from the bozo" conservatives' thread.
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Mar, 2008 08:24 pm
Foxfyre wrote:
For starters, some of the issues that I think have been large or small factors in the loss of confidence in the GOP:

The economy
The weak dollar
Immigration
The War in Iraq
Protection of marriage
Serious public relations stumbles


What have been the issues, specifically, about the war in Iraq that have been factors in the loss of confidence in the GOP by conservatives?
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Mar, 2008 01:41 am
JTT wrote:
Ticomaya wrote:
Hi, Foxy. Is this the new Anti-conservatives, -Republicans and -Bush thread?


No, Tico. This is the,

"After five interminable Bush supporting threads filled with falsehood after falsehood it's now time to distance ourselves from the bozo" conservatives' thread.




Actually on her invitation Foxfyre wrote:
On the theory that this thread has effectively run its course, I propose all the GOPers, Conservatives, moderates, fence sitters, and those who find Conservative topics interesting, resume the discussion HERE
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Mar, 2008 01:43 am
InfraBlue wrote:
Foxfyre wrote:
For starters, some of the issues that I think have been large or small factors in the loss of confidence in the GOP:

The economy
The weak dollar
Immigration
The War in Iraq
Protection of marriage
Serious public relations stumbles


What have been the issues, specifically, about the war in Iraq that have been factors in the loss of confidence in the GOP by conservatives?


For me it has been gutless wonders bowing to political correctness pressure, not sufficiently defending our guys who are just doing their jobs over there, and not having the will to demand that we get with it and win it. Things have improved considerably in the last six months, however, along with public confidence in the War on Terrorism.

That is one (of several) issues that McCain does have it right though. He is not willing to disrespect our troops by declaring failure, tucking tail and retreating. And I think he will work very well with the commanders to get the job done.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Mar, 2008 01:45 am
Ticomaya wrote:
Hi, Foxy. Is this the new Anti-conservatives, -Republicans and -Bush thread?


Well maybe if we can just sorta ignore the trolls, they'll go away and we really can use this thread for those conservative issues that don't have a thread somewhere else.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Mar, 2008 01:55 am
McGentrix wrote:
Isn't it fascinating...

less then .0001% of the conservative people in America seem to be harboring an anti-homosexual agenda while being closet homosexuals, yet the entire movement has ethics issues. The President says the Gov't will not fund stem cell research using new fetal stem cells, yet that becomes "stopping stem cell research".

Who know what the future will bring for those in the right. A McCain Presidency will surely bring the US back to a more conservative then Bush has placed us for sure. Being far more fiscally responsible then Bush shouldn't be a far stretch for him.

Liberal hyperbole will continue to stretch the patience of America and I think that will allow the conservatives to gain ground in the next election cycle.


I sure hope you're right McG. Actually we're having a significant slow down right now, but I don't have any quarrel with the President on his handling of the economy. I do have a LOT of problems with his handling of spending issues and not standing up to the Congressional spendthrifts. And we've seen the GOP supporting and funding some social programs that I think should have been left to the states--that prescription drug bill for instance, and No Child Left Behind needs to be either seriously overhauled or scrapped.

I agree Mccain will do better on those issues.

I am holding my breath that he truly has seen the light re illegal immigration and won't follow the President's lead to grant amnesty.

The GOP really only has a few short months to get a decent platform together and sell it to the people out there. Without Newt at the helm for the needed new revolution, I hope there is somebody who knows how to do that.
0 Replies
 
mysteryman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Mar, 2008 08:05 am
As a conservative, the biggest failing with the currect admin is their spending.

This admin has been spending and expanding the govt in a way that no conservative would ever have done.
As a conservative, I wanted the current admin to seriously cut the size of govt.
Right now, there are to many people in Washington whose only job is to wander around and tell each other how important they are.

Instead of cutting spending and slashing the size of govt, this admin seems to have gone out of its way to increase the size of govt to an unmanageable size.
I expect that from the left, not "conservatives".
Of course, I have said it before that Bush is NOT a conservative, but many on the left seem to think that all repubs are conservatives.

I had no problem with Bush's stand on stem cell research, nor do I have a problem with building up the military.

My biggest complaint has been spending.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Mar, 2008 09:07 am
Foxfyre wrote:
Ticomaya wrote:
Hi, Foxy. Is this the new Anti-conservatives, -Republicans and -Bush thread?


Well maybe if we can just sorta ignore the trolls, they'll go away and we really can use this thread for those conservative issues that don't have a thread somewhere else.


Having a discussion on the future of conservatism while ignoring the trolls...

... this is an amusing ides indeed.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Mar, 2008 09:39 am
McGentrix wrote:
Isn't it fascinating...

less then .0001% of the conservative people in America seem to be harboring an anti-homosexual agenda while being closet homosexuals, yet the entire movement has ethics issues. The President says the Gov't will not fund stem cell research using new fetal stem cells, yet that becomes "stopping stem cell research".


Isn't this fascinating?

There are major major ethics problem within the conservative movement and it isn't limited to conservative government leaders although they certainly excel in sleaze, not to mention incompetence.

Yet, off they go on a new thread wondering how to get their grubby little paws back on the reins of power, ignoring all the crimes that have been perpetrated and continue to be perpetrated by the very government that they've been providing abject support for for far far too long.

The people of Iraq want to know how you're going to replace their loved ones, all the innocent little children, yes Foxy, someone's grandchildren; when you're going to come through with your "promises"; when you're going to rebuild the homes destroyed by your shock and awe; "shock and awe" against a defenceless country.

You ought to be ashamed showing your faces around here or anywhere, for that matter, in decent society, let alone starting a new thread that will, in all likelihood, be filled with self-congratulatory crap.

For once, just once do something right, something that might illustrate that you possess a semblance of morality. Demand that there are full investigations into how these abominations could have occurred. Search your own souls to discover how you could have supported such evil.
0 Replies
 
Advocate
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Mar, 2008 10:08 am
The problem is that Bush has been too conservative.

For instance, he hates government so much that he installed similar-minded people to head government agencies. He appointed as head of Medicare a person (Scalley) who made a career of denigrating that program. He put in political hacks to run FEMA and VA, and they failed miserably.

He believed in starving the beast, drastically cutting taxes and appropriations for agencies, which damaged critical programs.

He tried to partially privatize social security, even though this would not help the program, and such efforts in other countries were outright failures.

One could write a book on this.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  2  
Reply Sun 9 Mar, 2008 10:54 am
I believe we'd all include blatham as one 'interested in conservative issues'. Thank you for inviting me. It's an honor, of course.

Post # 1 contains the following sentence:
Quote:
It has been widely speculated that President Bush and the GOP fell into widespread disfavor and lost majority control of Congress when they abandoned basic conservative principles.


This is a true statement if one defines "widely" as "often, within a narrow and highly doctrinaire sector of the modern conservative movement"
0 Replies
 
Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Mar, 2008 11:01 am
If the Republican Party has lost ground with American voters it may not be because we've "abandoned" important conservative principles. It is just as likely that the Party has lost public appeal by been too far Right. Those who urge and rant about ideological purity are a turnoff, and present fat targets for the opposition. As Republicans, we need to ask ourselves if Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and Ron Paul truly represent conservative principles traditional to our Party. Ron Paul's candidacy was based entirely on ideological purity, and frankly many of his conclusions about what policies those principles called for were wide of both Republican and the relatively unaffiliated moderate voter's acceptance.

Still, the point of Foxfire's thread can be useful to us as Conservatives and Republicans. However, before considering whether the Party has strayed from fundamental principles on some hot-button issues, I believe we need to reexamine what our basic principles are. I believe that those fundamental principles are deeply rooted in the U.S. Constitution and the Federalist Movement of the late 18th century. Those fundamental principles are, I believe:

* A strong and effective central federal government capable of managing the domestic and foreign affairs of the nation.

* A Republic more closely modeled on the Roman Republic than the Democracy of Athens. The public chooses its representatives in accordance with the Constitutional system, and thereafter those representatives are expected to perform in the best interests of the nation without regard to public sentiment, or pressure from special interests.

* The Federal government was intended to be limited and constrained from interference into sovereignty of local and State governments. The purpose of the Federal government is to facilitate and orchestrate domestic affairs between the several States, and a common currency/financial system to facilitate interstate commerce and the economic well-being of the nation as a whole. Not only are foreign affairs reserved to the Federal government, the actual policy making is vested almost solely in the hands of the Executive.

* The Federal government is specifically designed to prevent any single individual or group from seizing unlimited power for long periods of time. The Checks & Balances system is a guarantee against despotism, and radical change of our Constitutional system on a wave of popular sentiment. Each of the Branches has its own responsibilities and constraints. The Congress is intended to be divided between representatives for those with out property or power, and the Senate was intended to represent the States where power of local politics is in the hands of those with property, wealth and influence. The Congress is as intended slow and contentious, while the Executive is left free to design policy and make prompt decisions affecting the nation. The Supreme Court was intended to be apolitical, and as a means of reigning in the two Branches from encroaching upon one another's turf and straying from the Constitution.

These I take to be the fundamental principles upon which conservatives and our Party are based. The antithesis of Federalism is found in the anti-Federalists and the political philosophy of that scoundrel Jefferson. They started out arguing for the decentralization of government where the individual and the mob decide policy. The result sought was a weak central government hamstrung from effective action unless supported by the various States and popular sentiment. The Articles of Confederation over the Constitution. Washington tried a "mixed" government by having the two radicals of "Left" and "Right", Jefferson and Hamilton in his cabinet. It was a disaster from the beginning, and should have taught us the importance of leaving the President to fill his government with those who reflect his own political philosophy.

We Federalists were annihilated by our opposition to the War of 1812, but survived with the Whigs and resurfaced with the "radical" Republican Party and Lincoln. The GOP dominated American politics through the end of the 19th century, largely by waving the "Bloody Shirt" and Reconstruction. A major change in the American political landscape resulted from the Dust Bowl and Great Depression that enveloped the world during the 1930's.

Economically things hadn't been so bad since Jefferson's Embargo, and multitudes of Americans demanded and needed governmental assistance to survive the times. The fundamental constraints against Federal involvement into the economic lives of Americans, were adhered to and the Democrat, FDR got elected by promising that the Federal government would fix things. He tried and most of his initiatives were declared un-Constitutional by a Supreme Court with very conservative leanings. FDR tried to pack the Court with New Deal liberals who would vote the way they were told, and that failed. Some initiatives did make it into law and the nation might have been responding to FDR's efforts, but it was WWII that finally pulled our fat from the fryer. In the wake of WWII, America had come to accept Federal intrusion far greater than at any time in the nation's history. Social Security touched and helped many who previously would have suffered. We had as a nation before us in Hitler's murder camps an example of where racism and prejudice can lead, and the call for reform began to build. Truman integrated the armed forces during the Korean conflict, and by the beginning of the 1960's Democrats were leading the call for total elimination of Jim Crow Laws. JFK and LBJ brought the power of the Federal government to bear, and one after another the States abandoned their racially discriminatory laws.

So, we have to recognize that departure from fundamental principles can sometimes produce "good" results. The problem is that the Democratic adoption of Federal intrusion into areas previously forbidden has opened the floodgates. Where is the line drawn beyond which the Federal government can not go? The trend pushed by the Left and the Democratic Party has been toward socialism, bureaucracy and central planning to impose "social justice" uniformly through out the nation. They urge the erosion of the Constitutional constraints upon the Federal government to be replaced by socialism, political correctness, and a sort of direct democracy that would lead to a Utopian society. They believe, it appears, in the innate "goodness" of Men, and the perfectibility of government. That is in stark contrast to what I hold to be fundamental conservative principles.

I believe we've come far too far in focusing on "issues", and have strayed far too far from the fundamental differences between the two political philosophies that have been at the core of American politics since 1800. We've perhaps come to believe too much that the radical wings of both major political parties are THE arbiters of what the Party's principles should be. Instead of arguing a candidate's position on any particular issue of current concern, I believe we need to evaluate where their political philosophy will take us.

I further believe that John McCain's political moderation founded upon the fundamentals of our Constitution is over due. The Right-wing ideologues over our Party, focusing on "conservative issues" have alienated moderates and driven them into the arms of the Democrats. The GOP does represent the traditional values of family, government, and public policy representative of most Americans, but that gets obscured by strident focus on anti-gay, anti-abortion, and etc. positions. The emphasis shouldn't be on those issues so dear to the hearts of the Left, but rather on the fundamental departures they wish to make from our Constitutional constrain on the Federal government.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Mar, 2008 12:20 pm
As always, superbly expressed Asherman. Zeroing in on this paragraph:
Quote:
So, we have to recognize that departure from fundamental principles can sometimes produce "good" results. The problem is that the Democratic adoption of Federal intrusion into areas previously forbidden has opened the floodgates. Where is the line drawn beyond which the Federal government can not go? The trend pushed by the Left and the Democratic Party has been toward socialism, bureaucracy and central planning to impose "social justice" uniformly through out the nation. They urge the erosion of the Constitutional constraints upon the Federal government to be replaced by socialism, political correctness, and a sort of direct democracy that would lead to a Utopian society. They believe, it appears, in the innate "goodness" of Men, and the perfectibility of government. That is in stark contrast to what I hold to be fundamental conservative principles.


I've never thought that modern American Conservatism represented stagnation but rather was the offspring of classical liberalism which Wikipedia, of which I'm usually not a fan, describes rather well as:
Quote:
Classical liberalism (also known as traditional liberalism[1] and laissez-faire liberalism,[2] or, in much of the world, simply called liberalism) is a doctrine stressing individual freedom and limited government. This includes the importance of human rationality, individual property rights, natural rights, the protection of civil liberties, constitutional limitations of government, free markets, and individual freedom from restraint as exemplified in the writings of Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill,[3] Montesquieu, Voltaire,[4] Thomas Paine and others. As such, it is seen as the fusion of economic liberalism with political liberalism.


So yes, a strong central government capable of preserving the principles of the Constitution, but neverthless a limited central government.

My own philosophy has been that government at all levels should not be doing that which can be done more economically, efficiently, and effectively by the private sector.

I agree that the radical right has not done the GOP any favors and these do not represent mainstream modern conservatism. At the same time, I do believe there are basic values and traditions that are worth conserving and defending and I do think that it is abandoning those principles: rule of law, fiscal responsibility, personal integrity, accountability, responsibility, etc. , that have gotten the GOP into trouble with its base rather than those fringe issues.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Sun 9 Mar, 2008 12:37 pm
Foxfyre wrote:
I've never thought that modern American Conservatism represented stagnation but rather was the offspring of classical liberalism which Wikipedia, of which I'm usually not a fan, describes rather well as:
Quote:
Classical liberalism (also known as traditional liberalism[1] and laissez-faire liberalism,[2] or, in much of the world, simply called liberalism) is a doctrine stressing individual freedom and limited government. ...



Your source opens the definition of Conservatism in the United States with:

Quote:
Conservatism in the United States comprises a constellation of political ideologies including fiscal conservatism, supply-side economics and large subsidies to private industry, social conservatism,[1] libertarianism, bioconservatism and religious conservatism,[2] as well as support for a strong military,[3] deficit spending, and federalism.


(I don't think you referring with the term "American Conservatism" to conservatism outside the USA.)
0 Replies
 
 

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