Am I Not Conservative Enough?

I ran across an old post by Joe Scarborough that bears the same title as this post. He wrote it in response to criticism of his flavor of conservatism. Here are a few excerpts:
My crimes against conservatism were much worse. Brent Bozell has accused me of committing the unpardonable sins of saying unflattering things about George W. Bush, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.
I wrote the book "Rome Wasn't Burnt in a Day" in 2004, and predicted if Mr. Bush and the GOP Congress didn't stop spending money at such a reckless rate, they would lose their majority and wreck the Congress.

Even though I was correct on both counts, I received a firestorm of criticism from Washington conservatives who blog on sites like Newsbusters. Their main complaint seemed to be that I was being too tough on Mr. Bush.
As I said at the time to these statist Republicans, my positions on taxes, spending and limited government have not changed one bit since the first day I walked into Congress in 1994 when I was known as a right-wing zealot.

Unfortunately, it was the Republican leadership who became more liberal with Americans' tax dollars and it was large swaths of the Washington conservative establishment who sat silently by because they enjoyed being in power so much that they never bothered to let their principles get in the way of supporting reckless GOP party bosses. Speaking truth to power was not in vogue when Republicans were in charge. That spinelessness led to a Pelosi speakership.
To win, conservatives will need instead to follow the wise practice of Ronald Reagan, who won hearts and minds of Middle America by being conservative when it came to ideology but moderate when it came to temperament.
I asked Brent to name one issue where I had changed since the first day I entered Congress in 1994. He could not. I then asked how he could no longer consider me a conservative if, in fact, I had remained more consistent over the past 15 years in my views than the entire Republican Party.

Brent sputtered a while and then finally spit my crime against humanity out."You attacked Rush!!!"

Hmm. Very interesting.

As was the case for 8 long years with George W. Bush, too many people on both extremes defend partisan personalities instead of principles. Just as too many on the Left worship Barack Obama without questions, many on the right now focus more on pledging allegiance to media figures or populist personalities. The conservative movement marched in lockstep behind George W. Bush for nearly a decade and he took us over a cliff.

Forgive me if I don't do the same over the next decade.

My positions remain unchanged. I have always fought for smaller government, less federal intrusion into our lives, more personal freedoms and the end of a Wilsonian foreign policy.

If you don't think I am a true conservative because I comment on talk radio personalities when I think their approach is hurting the cause of small government conservatism, that is your right. But I will continue focusing on the issues that really matter. And I hope that my old friend Brent will have his website do the same.
Many tell me similar things about my independent style of conservatism. Some do not like the idea that I have difficulty with the temperament of so many shock jock squawk radio and TV hosts. Looking back I think that I can say with Joe that what has changed is not my positions but my moderate temperament in walking them out. I am still a conservative.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Bob,

    I'm avoiding the media circus as much as I possibly can, due to the extreme vexation it causes. I am particularly vexed because the media has chosen its "darlings" and lesser known candidates are being totally shut out of the debates. All I know is that if grown men and women can't behave themselves in the national spotlight, I do NOT want them deciding national policy for me.

    I agree with Scarborough, (and you) that too many people see the least bit of criticism of their political favorite as being unpatriotic and unAmerican. It's become all about labels and no longer about truth. Perhaps it's always been that way to some extent, but the "worship of labels" seems have grown absolutely monsterous within the last couple decades.

    BTW, I consider myself a conservative independent, Bob. I burnt my ties with the Republican party years ago when my state's legislature (both parties) decided I had to declare a political affiliation before I could vote in our state's primary, which I considered a constitutional violation of my right to a secret ballot. The law was repealed fairly quickly, but the taste of it left such a bad taste in my mouth, I've since refused to affiliate myself with either party.


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