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Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Sellout of Conservatism

I read about this a few days ago from John Fund, but it was so stunning at the time, and seemed a little lacking in original sourcing, that I held off on saying anything.

But now Robert Novak has come out and said pretty much the same thing.

Here's what Fund said on Jan. 28:

Mr. McCain bruised his standing with conservatives on the issue when in 2005 he became a key player in the so-called gang of 14, which derailed an effort to end Democratic filibusters of Bush judicial nominees. More recently, Mr. McCain has told conservatives he would be happy to appoint the likes of Chief Justice John Roberts to the Supreme Court. But he indicated he might draw the line on a Samuel Alito, because "he wore his conservatism on his sleeve."

McCain, of course, denied this; it doesn't fit well with his new "conservative" motif.

But Novak apparently walked the cat back to a first hand source:
I found what McCain could not remember: a private, informal chat with conservative Republican lawyers shortly after he announced his candidacy in April 2007. I talked to two lawyers who were present whom I have known for years and who have never misled me. One is neutral in the presidential race, and the other recently endorsed Mitt Romney. Both said they were not Fund's source, and neither knew I was talking to the other. They gave me nearly identical accounts, as follows:

"Wouldn't it be great if you get a chance to name somebody like Roberts and Alito?" one lawyer commented. McCain replied, "Well, certainly Roberts." Jaws were described as dropping. My sources cannot remember exactly what McCain said next, but their recollection is that he described Alito as too conservative.

Rush Limbaugh has been making a lot to do the past couple of days about how, though NONE of the remaining GOP contenders are solid conservatives, the state of conservatism is fine and dandy. Limbaugh says so on the basis that all of these guys are claiming to be conservative; in other words, they acknowledge what the GOP standard is, they want to claim that mantle, they acknowledge what they should be...even if they aren't.

There is some validity to Rush's analysis here, but I'm afraid I can't be as optimistic about the state and future of conservatism as he.

What does it say about the GOP and/or conservative voter base if they can be so easily fooled by charlatans like McCain, Huckabee, and even the lately-converted Romney? What does that say about the powers of observation, or the powers of discernment, or the informed status of GOP voters?

To me, it's a sad state of affairs when all the conservatives drop out of the GOP primary first, and with the exception of Giuliani, all the front runners are liberals, suspiciously "recent converts" to conservatism, or, in the case of Ron Paul (who isn't a front-runner, but a hanger-on), so liberal on Iraq and the war on terrorism that he'd be dangerous in the White House.

That tells me either the average GOP voter has lost a few dozen IQ points in recent years, or they're supporting candidates out of blind ignorance, or they are so scared of Hillary Clinton that they'll abandon their principles if that's what it takes to beat her.

If I'm right about any or all of those, it doesn't bode well for the future of conservatism. Conservatism as a philosophy or ideology remains intact and unrefuted, but if the adherents and defenders of conservatism are incapable of defending and propelling the philosophy, it doesn't have much of a future in a culture where the elites and media apparatus have it vastly outgunned.

HT to the American Spectator blog.


Sirkowski said...

Maybe it's the people that is right and the elitist pundits who are wrong?

caheidelberger said...

Yeah, elitist pundits like James Dobson, who just endorsed Huckabee.

Bob Ellis said...

I don't know Dobson's reason for doing so, but if I had to guess, I'd say it's the lesser of two GOP evils.

Dobson's main issue is abortion, which is one of the few if not the only area where Huckabee has never wavered.

Of the three remaining, I could safely say my choice wouldn't be McCain. Leaving Huckabee or Paul...after I threw up and the shakes settled down, I'd probably end up voting for Huckabee. Ron Paul is better in more areas than Huckabee, but Paul is so far off base on Iraq and the war on terror (which are critical to our safety and security), that Huckabee's mushiness would probably win out in the end.

I think I'm going to throw up, just having said this...

caheidelberger said...

When you get done barfing and shaking, I'll look forward to the full post on what Dobson's endorsement of Huckabee says about "the powers of observation, or the powers of discernment, or the informed status" of Dobson and any other contributors to the Truth Project.

I will try to do some penance for taking such raw, selfish pleasure in Mr. Dobson's apparent desperate political opportunism (that's the only explanation I can come up with) in endorsing a man who "lacks understanding of the nature of evil." (No, my penance will not include watching The Truth Project.)

caheidelberger said...

Besides, I'll likely dish up plenty of crow for myself for moving toward Obama.

Bob Ellis said...

As I said before, Huckabee is probably the best remaining choice available...as pathetic as that is to say.

Huckabee is seriously mistaken and misguided about a number of things, but then McCain is mistaken and misguided about most of those same things.

At least Huckabee isn't hostile toward Christianity and Christians as McCain seems to be.

So I could only commend the powers of observation, discernment and information of Dr. Dobson in coming to that conclusion.

I have disagreed with Dobson before, but not in this case. And even when I disagreed with him, I never doubted the sincerity of his intent to do what is right.

I had a chance to meet him and talk with him informally when I was in Washington in October, and he is as down-to-earth as anyone you will ever find--not the self-centered power broker you seem to think he is. I told my wife that when he shared what was on his mind and heart, I didn't feel like I was in the presence of one of the leading evangelical leaders in the country; meaning no respect to Dr. Dobson, I felt like I was talking with "Uncle Jim." He was just that humble and down-to-earth.

So if you were looking for me to rip Dobson, sorry to disappoint you.

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