Pragmatic Conservatives Exist? How I see 2012.


Question – a reader in a discussion group on Facebook asked: “William – just for a matter of perspective, my understanding is that you consider yourself a conservative, is that correct?”

Hmmm… could be a trap.

The author had not really identified their own perspective. Earlier in the day I had gotten a broadside from another Facebooker when I posted the picture below.

Election 2012 - Republicans for Obama

The broadside writer wanted to know: “Why do you post crap like this? There are no real “Republicans for Obama” – only pretend Republicans trying to give an extremist legitimacy.”

Maybe. Maybe not.

My purpose wasn’t to support either Obama or to support these Republicans.

There seems to be no discussion these days that isn’t a bit dangerous to one’s reputation.

+++++++++

Back to the question:

“William – just for a matter of perspective, my understanding is that you consider yourself a conservative, is that correct?”

Yes. I do consider myself a conservative.

What passes for conservatism these days is mostly a reactionary push back against a world that has changed and some folks know that their days are numbered. Their days are numbered because they have chosen to embrace a political ideology that is at the same time just as much exclusionary as it is generational. Except for Ron Paul’s fans, the Republican Party is older, overwhelmingly a party of caucasian America, and seemingly tone deaf as to how others see America.

I myself am a caucasian so the issue is not with that as a cause. The cause of the numbering of the GOP’s days is that Republicans have played so long to themes embraced by those that have enjoyed white privilege that its tone deafness just feels normal for it. What? Problems? No, the average GOPer sees the rest of the world as having problems but not it. Maybe not. Except for RINOs. RINOs see things in a multitude of colors – ergo they have got to go too. They are a cancer in the Republican Party. You either see things as black and white, good or bad, evil or our way.

Election 2012 - "The Plan"

Election 2012 - "The Plan"

Until 2009 I considered myself a Republican. I considered myself a conservative Republican.

I was active in the Tea Party at the very beginning. Met many fine people. Met many strange ones, too. Most of the strange ones are still there but the pragmatic conservatives have moved on.

The Tea Party very quickly attracted a different sort of conservative: those full of anger. There are those that say such a depiction is full of bull droppings. But it is not. Perhaps they were mad at themselves — hopefully they were because they had won almost total control of U.S. national government and they botched it. They did such  a poor job that conservatives like myself no longer wanted to be associated with the party.

Reality is that you don’t have to be Republican to be a conservative. It is a good thing too as many conservatives in the Republican Party are what I consider wingers: they’ll do and say whatever they believe it takes to get the party back into power.

There is no real home for pragmatic conservatives at this time. Most still cling to calling themselves ‘Republicans’ but I don’t think that such will survive the election of 2012.

In 2010 it appeared that the conservatives surged back to power. What I saw was that our country was still very much in the depths of economic downturn. There was no good news with Obama’s name on it, and a very angry 24/7 campaign to attack Obama and to demonize Democrats paid off. (It didn’t hurt that most Democrats jumped at seeing their own shadow. That was extremely helpful to the 2010 GOP election efforts).

However, a recent study of policy positions rated Obama THE most moderate president of any Democrat since FDR’s day. His positions (except for health care) are scarcely different that President Bush’s. There are conservatives and libertarians that realize that. (Outside of the party we conservatives don’t think in talking points.) Add in just a tad of good economic news and people will come to  stop and to think about that. People think much clearer when their homes aren’t being repossessed.

So as a pragmatic conservative I spend much of my time battling to save what little good remains of the ‘conservative’ bumper sticker.

Liberals aren’t evil. Neither are philosophical conservatives that believe that we are all in this together.

My prediction for 2012 — although it is still early in the game: Obama wins reelection courtesy of the GOP and many of the angry nutters that have the loudest voices. Democrats retain the Senate. And as for the House of Representatives … the Dems get it back by 10 seats.

Yes, I am conservative. But that doesn’t make me blind and tone deaf. Although, you just never know.

4 Comments

Filed under Democratic Party, Election 2012, Republican Party, TEA Party

4 responses to “Pragmatic Conservatives Exist? How I see 2012.

  1. George S. Harris

    Some very good points here Bill. Although I have been a lifelong Democrat, I consider myself conservative on some issue. Perhaps that makes me a moderate Democrat. I think there is an absolute role for the government but at the same time I don’t want them to be too deeply involved in my personal live vis a vie the things that have been happening in Richmond with Republicans prying into the vaginas of the women of Virginia. I think the contraceptive provision mandate that has people all stirred up was very poorly vetted by the administration–they should have known that when you link the words “Catholic” and “contraception” together it is like pouring gasoline on a fire. Conversely, the Catholics have their head where the sun doesn’t shine–they have been and are practicing contraception–they just don’t talk about it. Kinda like the Baptists who don’t admit they drink or dance.

    The Tea Party and the long “debates” have been the Republicans worst enemies. I agree with you about the Tea Party folks–Congressman West from Florida is a good example of the “angry” people. But in his case, I think it is going to backfire. The so called “debates” have shown just how mean and nasty Republicans have become–Ronald Reagan must be spinning in his grave. Both parties have done themselves no good with their intransigence on even trivial things. What will it all lead to? I agree that the Dems will keep the Senate but may change leadership and the House will return to them also–no numbers on my part. I have a strong feeling that John Boehner leadership role will fade–he has been a BIG disappointment to Tea Party folks as well as run of the mill Republicans. I also think that Eric Cantor will get his just due–too petulant.

    • The Republicans themselves are no doubt very worried. The party is fractured very badly. By chasing out the RINOs (like myself) because they refused to support 24/7 rancor and anger as a conservative value they are encouraging a signficant portion of the party’s core base to consider other options. Most will pinch their nose and vote Republican. But if even 3-5% refuse to pinch their nose then the Republicans are in trouble in 2012. I know a number of Republicans that qualify as ‘staunch’ party supporters historically but would vote Obama in 2012 just to make sure that the fringe doesn’t win.

  2. George S. Harris

    It just may be that the Republicans and their various fractionates may just have to take a drubbing in order to get them to reevaluate who they are, what they stand for and who their allies are going to be. The so called “debates” have shown that they are, as you have noted, very fractured and perhaps in Navy terms rudderless. The idea that someone who was publicly disgraced has aspirations of running on the Republican ticket is beyond my understanding. To me it is an act of desperation on the part of some conservatives. The fact that the conservative electorate cannot make up its mind after 20 “debates”, tells me even more. As Bette Davis said in “All About Eve”, “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”

  3. Robert

    One of the more sensible posts I have read this campaign season on the makeup of congress and the presidential race.

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