Are Our Ideologies Our Idols?

The Wall Street Journal has an editorial up entitled McCain’s Apostacies.

Think about that for a minute. His differences with his party are not differences, they’re “apostacies.” He is, for some, a heretic who has departed too sharply away from the dogmas and sacraments of The Church of Conservatism.

And he’s the pro-life guy!

I’ve been thinking for a while that the hyperpartisanship on both sides was beginning to resemble the Protestant/Catholic sectarian troubles in Northern Ireland. Hate and malice are being extended by both sides to those “others” over there. The “other side.”

Nothing else matters but that they don’t believe the same things “we” believe (whoever “we” are, Conservative or Liberal). Because they don’t believe the same things “we” believe, they are bad, undesirable people and we shun them and will not have them in our midst.

It’s downright unAmerican, if you ask me. And the tenacity with which both sides cling to their beliefs makes one wonder if the political extremes are not misplacing their faith – putting it not in God, but in “the party” and “the movement.”

I did something I almost never do, recently, and spent a little time exchanging ideas within the thread of another blog. Within that exchange, someone wrote:

I just don’t see what [George W]Bush has done for the movement or the party.

That stopped me in my tracks. All this time I thought the president – any president – was expected to serve the interests of the whole nation and all its citizenry. Apparently not; apparently the president is supposed to serve “the party” and “the movement” and if he does not do that – he is a poor and despised president.

That “movement or the party” remark recalled the histories of fascism and communism and their ugly progeny – totalitarianism; all of those “isms” began with the notion that “loyalty to the party” trumped everything else – new ideas, tactics, statesmanship, economics, social unrest – whatever the question, loyalty to the party – the growth and sustainment of “the movement” was the answer.

That’s all bad history. It is history we want to remember, but not repeat. But here we are, the mightiest and most democratic nation in the world, and the extremists within both ideologies have deemed fealty to the “ism” – whichever ism it is – to be the defining characteristic of a desirable candidate.

Someone else wrote:

Well here’s the thing – conservatives are conservatives because they believe conservatism is what’s best FOR AMERICA.

That’s quite true and un-objectionable. But of course, liberals are liberals because they believe liberalism is what’s best for America, and centrists are centrists for the same reason.

It just seems to me that within those little ideological spheres which are full of ideas, a president must be permitted to listen to ideas and debate them and perhaps even to choose portions of ideas from each position, left, right and center, in order to formulate policies which are best FOR AMERICA, and which address the concerns of all the country, not just “the party,” and which serve the whole citizenry, not just “the base.” The best recipes call for more than one ingredient. The best policies do, too.

If we are determined to shut out whole blocks of people because their thoughts are not ours, their ideas are not ours, their beliefs are not ours, then we’re doing democracy wrong – we’re turning it into something else. And I don’t think the “something else” is necessarily a good thing.

Thomas More, the patron saint of politicians, was a good and trusted adviser to King Henry VIII, but his faith and conscience took precedence over that fealty. When Rome refused Henry a divorce, Henry broke away and formed the Church of England. More could not go where Henry went, saying at his arrest, “I am the King’s good servant, but God’s first.”

I am by no means comparing President Bush to St. Thomas More, but it does seem to me that part of his problems within his own party stem from a similar attitude: He is the party’s good servant, but America’s first. And America’s good servant, but God’s even before that.

Those priorities seem like good ones to me, and perhaps in a healthy society, they would be appreciated. But we’re not healthy right now – I doubt anyone would truly suggest we are – and in this society, sadly, the precedence of “the parties” and “the movements” over everything else is disconcerting. People who six months ago declared they would “crawl over broken glass” to prevent a particular presidency now declare they’d prefer to see that presidency over the “impure” alternative, and that seems oddly disoriented.

How can an undesirable candidate suddenly become an acceptable, good faith alternative? I know there is a school of thought that says, “well, that will teach others and they’ll be more loyal to the party, next time.”

But that’s being too clever by half, isn’t it? One of President Bush’s errors was in thinking he could sign a campaign finance reform into law and count on the Supreme Court to find it unconstitutional. The Supreme Court did not meet his expectations.

Signing off on this election while counting on people to “do the right thing” in the next one seems to me equally hazardous and just as likely to disappoint. And it feels a little bit like putting one’s ideology before all else, and trusting in it, alone.

I am no “McCainiac.” At this point I have no idea who I will be voting for in November, particularly since there is ugliness in every campaign. I’m merely offering food for thought.
***

Eloquent Jonah Goldberg:

…this disaster talk leaves me cold. McCain wouldn’t be my first pick. Then again, none of the candidates were really my first pick. But I think the notion that, variously, conservatism, the country or the party are doomed if he’s the nominee or the president is pretty absurd.
[...]
I think both the GOP and the conservative movement could benefit from a slightly more adversarial relationship. George W. Bush moved the party leftward and/or damaged the image of the GOP in many respects precisely because he was given the benefit of the doubt by conservatives who saw him as “one of us.” It’s not obvious to me that having a more transactional relationship with a Republican president would be altogether bad for the country, the party or the conservative movement.

Sister Toldjah has more thoughts.

Palm Tree Pundit has a quote for you.

Jay Stephenson surveys the mood – and confusion – on the right.

Beth minces no words.

As I said in the comments section:

Once upon a time I might have agreed with the statement that the left is all about “feelings and emotions” while the right was about thinking and issues. I’m not entirely sure I would, anymore. Both left and right are doing their share of emoting.

Related: The Nation Needs a Time-Out

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • ferrous

    Hi Anchoress. Not to sound like a “seminar” poster, but I absolutely love this blog and have been reading off and on for the past year — much more often as of late.

    Anyway, I think it can be fair to say that McCain’s disloyalty issues are a problem. Just bear with me. You seem to be claiming he’s just being loyal to the country. I, instead, observe more over the last few years or so that he is loyal to one thing — himself. Many of the ideals of the Republican Party and particularly Prez Bush have been better for the country. The very first post of yours I read was the one talking about going ahead and impeaching President Bush. It was splendid because in all the various points it detailed how Bush’s Republicanism is different (and better for the country I might add) than the Democrats and moveon.idiot crowd that have caused nonstop rancor since 2000 if not before! When McCain decides to go on his maverick streaks and break with the party, he does it in such a way that it contributes to the tense bipartisan bickering. It’s like he not only crosses the line, he spits as he walks over. And the media and Democrats eat that kind of thing up because it’s dramatic. Is dramatic really all that good for the country? Look to the Clintons on that and decide. Personally I don’t think so. At his least destructive, McCain is a drama whore. At other times, he’s not only wrong, he’s actively hurting the country.

    Personally I consider McCain to be a very good man and a very poor public servant. I also don’t think means that I and hundreds of thousands of potentially similar minded conservative voters are in danger of becoming too much of an “ism”. No offense intended. Rudy dropping out has me in a bad mood. LOL.

  • ferrous

    Hi Anchoress. Not to sound like a “seminar” poster, but I absolutely love this blog and have been reading off and on for the past year — much more often as of late.

    Anyway, I think it can be fair to say that McCain’s disloyalty issues are a problem. Just bear with me. You seem to be claiming he’s just being loyal to the country. I, instead, observe more over the last few years or so that he is loyal to one thing — himself. Many of the ideals of the Republican Party and particularly Prez Bush have been better for the country. The very first post of yours I read was the one talking about going ahead and impeaching President Bush. It was splendid because in all the various points it detailed how Bush’s Republicanism is different (and better for the country I might add) than the Democrats and moveon.idiot crowd that have caused nonstop rancor since 2000 if not before! When McCain decides to go on his maverick streaks and break with the party, he does it in such a way that it contributes to the tense bipartisan bickering. It’s like he not only crosses the line, he spits as he walks over. And the media and Democrats eat that kind of thing up because it’s dramatic. Is dramatic really all that good for the country? Look to the Clintons on that and decide. Personally I don’t think so. At his least destructive, McCain is a drama whore. At other times, he’s not only wrong, he’s actively hurting the country.

    Personally I consider McCain to be a very good man and a very poor public servant. I also don’t think means that I and hundreds of thousands of potentially similar minded conservative voters are in danger of becoming too much of an “ism”. No offense intended. Rudy dropping out has me in a bad mood. LOL.

  • phargado

    St Thomas’ surname is More, not Moore.

  • phargado

    St Thomas’ surname is More, not Moore.

  • TheAnchoress

    Hi Ferrous – welcome.

    I’m not claiming – as you suggest – that McCain is just being loyal to his country. I wasn’t actually even thinking about McCain, and as I said, I’m no McCainiac.

    I was actually thinking – and trying to get all of us to think – about whether or not we’ve given our ideologies more reverence than they’re due. That’s all.

    I’m a “take me at my word” sort of writer. Basically I write what’s in my head of a moment…and yes, I am naive – that’s both a good and bad thing.

  • TheAnchoress

    Hi Ferrous – welcome.

    I’m not claiming – as you suggest – that McCain is just being loyal to his country. I wasn’t actually even thinking about McCain, and as I said, I’m no McCainiac.

    I was actually thinking – and trying to get all of us to think – about whether or not we’ve given our ideologies more reverence than they’re due. That’s all.

    I’m a “take me at my word” sort of writer. Basically I write what’s in my head of a moment…and yes, I am naive – that’s both a good and bad thing.

  • TheAnchoress

    phargado THANK YOU. I knew that but I’m a bit under the weather. I kept looking at it wondering why it didn’t look right! Much obliged.

  • TheAnchoress

    phargado THANK YOU. I knew that but I’m a bit under the weather. I kept looking at it wondering why it didn’t look right! Much obliged.

  • Joseph

    “But here we are, the mightiest and most democratic nation in the world, and the extremists within both ideologies have deemed fealty to the “ism” – whichever ism it is – to be the defining characteristic of a desirable candidate.”

    Actually, up until the Howard Dean candidacy, the dominant force in the Democratic Party were our “centrists” such as Bill and Hillary. They were largely within the Beltway, well-connected with the K-Street lobbyists, and completely indifferent to State and local politics. They still constitute a huge influence in our Party, Hillary would not be the last one of two standing if they didn’t.

    The critique someone like myself would apply to them is that they embody a rootless opportunism that doesn’t stand for much of anything. And their utter indifference to local and State politics was slowly destroying the capacity of Democratic Party to win even national elections.

    The true “Reagan Revolution” of the past 25 years had really far less to do with anyone in Washington and far more to do with Republicans in places like Terre Haute than most people realize. Out in the boonies the Republicans were consistently cleaning our clocks both in organizing and fund raising, the first largely through the Christian Right and the other through the local business communities. Backroom operators like Karl Rove also had enough sense to encourage George Bush to travel to the sticks now and then to pump up The Faithful.

    What we were doing was inviting DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe in for fund raising and watching him take all the money back to Washington. We also were watching a President Bill Clinton on television, and never saw his face anywhere but there.

    What Howard Dean did [and is still doing while teaching even our blockheaded centrists to do it] is revive the grassroots organizing and small-dollar fundraising–and turn it back into genuine political force. The Barrack Obama candidacy is the result. The Republican loss of Congressional majority status was also the result. They did as much as possible to shoot themselves in the foot in 2006, but it would have come to nothing if our grassroots organizing had been where it was in 2002.

    As hysterical as people with my views sometimes sound when
    gassing off in blogs [and they can sound quite hysterical] nobody’s going to walk away from the voting booth or the grassroots organization merely because a “centrist” candidate might be nominated. We may be “the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party,” but we held our nose and voted for John Kerry, the epitome of “politics as usual”.

    We won’t because we know that we can parlay a Democratic Presidential victory in 2008 into more Democrats in office in our State or our town. And those Democrats will largely share our views, because they will be us. They are the Party’s farm team for the next generation. With any Democratic President and any Democratic Congress,
    whether “liberal enough” or not, we will thrive and prosper.

    So we have time to wait.

  • Joseph

    “But here we are, the mightiest and most democratic nation in the world, and the extremists within both ideologies have deemed fealty to the “ism” – whichever ism it is – to be the defining characteristic of a desirable candidate.”

    Actually, up until the Howard Dean candidacy, the dominant force in the Democratic Party were our “centrists” such as Bill and Hillary. They were largely within the Beltway, well-connected with the K-Street lobbyists, and completely indifferent to State and local politics. They still constitute a huge influence in our Party, Hillary would not be the last one of two standing if they didn’t.

    The critique someone like myself would apply to them is that they embody a rootless opportunism that doesn’t stand for much of anything. And their utter indifference to local and State politics was slowly destroying the capacity of Democratic Party to win even national elections.

    The true “Reagan Revolution” of the past 25 years had really far less to do with anyone in Washington and far more to do with Republicans in places like Terre Haute than most people realize. Out in the boonies the Republicans were consistently cleaning our clocks both in organizing and fund raising, the first largely through the Christian Right and the other through the local business communities. Backroom operators like Karl Rove also had enough sense to encourage George Bush to travel to the sticks now and then to pump up The Faithful.

    What we were doing was inviting DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe in for fund raising and watching him take all the money back to Washington. We also were watching a President Bill Clinton on television, and never saw his face anywhere but there.

    What Howard Dean did [and is still doing while teaching even our blockheaded centrists to do it] is revive the grassroots organizing and small-dollar fundraising–and turn it back into genuine political force. The Barrack Obama candidacy is the result. The Republican loss of Congressional majority status was also the result. They did as much as possible to shoot themselves in the foot in 2006, but it would have come to nothing if our grassroots organizing had been where it was in 2002.

    As hysterical as people with my views sometimes sound when
    gassing off in blogs [and they can sound quite hysterical] nobody’s going to walk away from the voting booth or the grassroots organization merely because a “centrist” candidate might be nominated. We may be “the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party,” but we held our nose and voted for John Kerry, the epitome of “politics as usual”.

    We won’t because we know that we can parlay a Democratic Presidential victory in 2008 into more Democrats in office in our State or our town. And those Democrats will largely share our views, because they will be us. They are the Party’s farm team for the next generation. With any Democratic President and any Democratic Congress,
    whether “liberal enough” or not, we will thrive and prosper.

    So we have time to wait.

  • dellbabe68

    If conservatism goes down, it’ll be because of hubris on the part of Conservatives, who are so angry at their side of the electorate for not getting into step that they are willing to throw the country under a bus for the sin of us not being convinced by True Conservative Thought. They have not considered that some of us (I, likewise, am not necessarily a McCain fan, but geez, all the invective?) are watching with interest at people who believe they are entitled to decide for us all what to think and whom to support. I say let the cards fall where they may. If Conservatives want to keep their ideas at the table, they had better remain at the table themselves. This “take your marbles and go home” attitude is for the birds. I am amazed at people who might stay home on Election Day. Better yet, those who think that “in 2012 we will put up a true Conservative and we can coalesce around that person.” We cannot even predict the weather for next week with accuracy, and we are going to predict that? Not to mention all the Supremes in the balance, and the rollback of judicial good progress made in recent years.

    The country has tilted more right recently than in past years, but I do not believe it is an entirely conservative country. While I am glad conservatives have stuck to their guns on a number of issues, and shown this person the light on several, I still think they need to realize they need to build some coalitions in order to further their agenda. They seem unwilling to do that. I think it’s not really in their nature to want to compromise, which is what you need to do with people who you want to see vote your way, but who are not in total agreement with you. I’m not sure how to do it otherwise.

    BTW, excellent post.

  • dellbabe68

    If conservatism goes down, it’ll be because of hubris on the part of Conservatives, who are so angry at their side of the electorate for not getting into step that they are willing to throw the country under a bus for the sin of us not being convinced by True Conservative Thought. They have not considered that some of us (I, likewise, am not necessarily a McCain fan, but geez, all the invective?) are watching with interest at people who believe they are entitled to decide for us all what to think and whom to support. I say let the cards fall where they may. If Conservatives want to keep their ideas at the table, they had better remain at the table themselves. This “take your marbles and go home” attitude is for the birds. I am amazed at people who might stay home on Election Day. Better yet, those who think that “in 2012 we will put up a true Conservative and we can coalesce around that person.” We cannot even predict the weather for next week with accuracy, and we are going to predict that? Not to mention all the Supremes in the balance, and the rollback of judicial good progress made in recent years.

    The country has tilted more right recently than in past years, but I do not believe it is an entirely conservative country. While I am glad conservatives have stuck to their guns on a number of issues, and shown this person the light on several, I still think they need to realize they need to build some coalitions in order to further their agenda. They seem unwilling to do that. I think it’s not really in their nature to want to compromise, which is what you need to do with people who you want to see vote your way, but who are not in total agreement with you. I’m not sure how to do it otherwise.

    BTW, excellent post.

  • dellbabe68

    I would add only that Conservatives are not inclined to compromise because they believe they are 100% correct and infallible in their thinking. Some of us are not as convinced. I wonder whose problem that will ultimately be.

    I do acknowledge that they have been forced to deal with compromise on issues dear to them. But it has not been done in the interest of being in the driver’s seat and forming solid support for something that will stick. They have done it with long faces, and now are making noises about throwing the board game on the ground because they don’t like how they aren’t being heeded.

    Hubris.

  • dellbabe68

    I would add only that Conservatives are not inclined to compromise because they believe they are 100% correct and infallible in their thinking. Some of us are not as convinced. I wonder whose problem that will ultimately be.

    I do acknowledge that they have been forced to deal with compromise on issues dear to them. But it has not been done in the interest of being in the driver’s seat and forming solid support for something that will stick. They have done it with long faces, and now are making noises about throwing the board game on the ground because they don’t like how they aren’t being heeded.

    Hubris.

  • http://AmusedCynic.com driver

    Anchoress,
    I thought that the “McCain’s Apostasies” theme was largely facetious on the part of the WSJ editorial headline writers. Far from being a blast of excommunication, the piece as a whole struck me as more of an attempt–in the manner of the recent NRO symposium–to figure out how to reach a compromise with the man who seems likely to be the next Republican candidate, whether we like it or not–and who happens to agrees with the WSJ ed board on such things as anti-terrorism, abortion, and, to the chagrin of much of “the base,” immigration.

  • http://AmusedCynic.com driver

    Anchoress,
    I thought that the “McCain’s Apostasies” theme was largely facetious on the part of the WSJ editorial headline writers. Far from being a blast of excommunication, the piece as a whole struck me as more of an attempt–in the manner of the recent NRO symposium–to figure out how to reach a compromise with the man who seems likely to be the next Republican candidate, whether we like it or not–and who happens to agrees with the WSJ ed board on such things as anti-terrorism, abortion, and, to the chagrin of much of “the base,” immigration.

  • TheAnchoress

    Indeed driver, that is what the WSJ was doing, but it was also pretty clear that they were using the word “apostasies” because that is what the hard-right considers them! :-)

  • TheAnchoress

    Indeed driver, that is what the WSJ was doing, but it was also pretty clear that they were using the word “apostasies” because that is what the hard-right considers them! :-)

  • http://AmusedCynic.com driver

    Ha. Agreed…if they truly intended facetiousness (as in poking fun at the hard right), it would have helped to have place “apostasies” within separate quotation marks.

  • http://AmusedCynic.com driver

    Ha. Agreed…if they truly intended facetiousness (as in poking fun at the hard right), it would have helped to have place “apostasies” within separate quotation marks.

  • ferrous

    If McCain gets the nat’l nod, I will be going to the polls but I will be sorely tempted to just simply abstain from voting for President. My Congressman still needs my vote as does the R candidate for governor in this misguided state of Washington, but I know that it is so liberal here that if I vote for McCain, the state will still go to whoever gets the Dem nomination. I know that’s terribly defeatist, but I’ve always been a pragmatist at heart (and that pragmatism is why I vote Republican!!!).

    Thanks for the welcome, Anchoress.

  • ferrous

    If McCain gets the nat’l nod, I will be going to the polls but I will be sorely tempted to just simply abstain from voting for President. My Congressman still needs my vote as does the R candidate for governor in this misguided state of Washington, but I know that it is so liberal here that if I vote for McCain, the state will still go to whoever gets the Dem nomination. I know that’s terribly defeatist, but I’ve always been a pragmatist at heart (and that pragmatism is why I vote Republican!!!).

    Thanks for the welcome, Anchoress.

  • TheAnchoress

    I’ll tell you what, ferrous, in ’96 I did what you’re talking about. I couldn’t bring myself to vote for Clinton (I was transitioning from left to right) but I also couldn’t vote for Dole, so I voted in all the other races, but left the presidential lever unpulled.

    I hated that. It felt awful.

  • TheAnchoress

    I’ll tell you what, ferrous, in ’96 I did what you’re talking about. I couldn’t bring myself to vote for Clinton (I was transitioning from left to right) but I also couldn’t vote for Dole, so I voted in all the other races, but left the presidential lever unpulled.

    I hated that. It felt awful.

  • Pingback: The Strata-Sphere » Blog Archive » McMentum

  • Pingback: The Strata-Sphere » Blog Archive » McMentum

  • http://postmodernpapist.blogspot.com Kyle R. Cupp

    Russell Kirk argued that to be conservative is to be free from ideologies.

  • http://postmodernpapist.blogspot.com Kyle R. Cupp

    Russell Kirk argued that to be conservative is to be free from ideologies.

  • Pingback: Chuckz Blog II » Blog Archive » Are Our Ideologies Our Idols? (By The Anchoress)

  • Pingback: Chuckz Blog II » Blog Archive » Are Our Ideologies Our Idols? (By The Anchoress)

  • TheAnchoress

    Russell Kirk died in the 1990′s when modern conservativism was emerging as the retrieval of “classical liberalism” which had been abandoned by the Democrats (recall, Reagan said, “I did not abandon the Democrat party; it abandoned me.”) – and well before “conservatism” embraced this current streak of ideological puritanism. When I came in, the tent was much bigger than it has become.

    Once upon a time I might have agreed with the statement that the left is all about “feelings and emotions” while the right was about thinking and issues. I’m not entirely sure I would, anymore. Both left and right are doing their share of emoting.

  • TheAnchoress

    Russell Kirk died in the 1990′s when modern conservativism was emerging as the retrieval of “classical liberalism” which had been abandoned by the Democrats (recall, Reagan said, “I did not abandon the Democrat party; it abandoned me.”) – and well before “conservatism” embraced this current streak of ideological puritanism. When I came in, the tent was much bigger than it has become.

    Once upon a time I might have agreed with the statement that the left is all about “feelings and emotions” while the right was about thinking and issues. I’m not entirely sure I would, anymore. Both left and right are doing their share of emoting.

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    A good argument could be made that John McCain has held a grudge against George Bush since 2000 for perceived slights against him, and so he has spent the last seven years pitching a hissy fit against him. So, if you don’t think that McCain would/will hold a grudge against the conservative wing if he were elected, then you are pretty naive indeed.

    I do not think that McCain can, in all fairness, ask the party and conservatives to be any more loyal to him than he has been to them these last seven years, which is to say, hardly at all. (Indeed, on June 2, 2001, The Washington Post ran a front-page story with the headline “McCain is Considering Leaving GOP; Arizona Senator Might Launch a Third-Party Challenge to Bush in 2004.”) Conservatives can only trust McCain to be McCain. And don’t give me this nonsense about conservatives having nowhere else to go, and that the conservatives have some sort of moral obligation to vote McCain to prevent Hillary from being president. The McCain faction should not believe that they can take conservatives for granted — screwing them at every opportunity and still expect them to give servile support.

    And if conservatives cannot, in all good conscience, vote for McCain, even if it is to stop Hillary, do not say that the party was not warned that such a thing might happen. Conservatives have given ample notice that many of them might just stay at home, rather than vote for one in whom every fiber of their being says that they should distrust.

    When the first version of McCain ran in 1996, when he went by the name of Bob Dole, I too could not in good conscience vote for him, so I’m pretty sure I left the ballot blank when I couldn’t remember the name Mumbly Joe (I sure wasn’t going to vote for Kang or Kodos).

    By the way, back when I still publicly called myself a Republican — and when I was Chairman of the College Republicans at my school — I went to a campaign breakfast for Bob Dole (1988), even though I was supporting Jack Kemp. Bob Dole was a nice enough guy, but he gave this story about his early political life. After the war, and after his rehab, he came home and decided to go into politics, but he was initially unsure as to whether he should run as a Republican or Democrat. He then took a look at the party rolls in his area and saw that there were more Republicans than Democrats, so he became a Republican.

    True story. Or, at least, that’s the story that Bob Dole gave about himself. (not that surprising, really, after all, here in Northern Virginia, everyone is a Democrat — even the Republicans are Democrats (if they want to hold public office)).

  • Bender B. Rodriguez

    A good argument could be made that John McCain has held a grudge against George Bush since 2000 for perceived slights against him, and so he has spent the last seven years pitching a hissy fit against him. So, if you don’t think that McCain would/will hold a grudge against the conservative wing if he were elected, then you are pretty naive indeed.

    I do not think that McCain can, in all fairness, ask the party and conservatives to be any more loyal to him than he has been to them these last seven years, which is to say, hardly at all. (Indeed, on June 2, 2001, The Washington Post ran a front-page story with the headline “McCain is Considering Leaving GOP; Arizona Senator Might Launch a Third-Party Challenge to Bush in 2004.”) Conservatives can only trust McCain to be McCain. And don’t give me this nonsense about conservatives having nowhere else to go, and that the conservatives have some sort of moral obligation to vote McCain to prevent Hillary from being president. The McCain faction should not believe that they can take conservatives for granted — screwing them at every opportunity and still expect them to give servile support.

    And if conservatives cannot, in all good conscience, vote for McCain, even if it is to stop Hillary, do not say that the party was not warned that such a thing might happen. Conservatives have given ample notice that many of them might just stay at home, rather than vote for one in whom every fiber of their being says that they should distrust.

    When the first version of McCain ran in 1996, when he went by the name of Bob Dole, I too could not in good conscience vote for him, so I’m pretty sure I left the ballot blank when I couldn’t remember the name Mumbly Joe (I sure wasn’t going to vote for Kang or Kodos).

    By the way, back when I still publicly called myself a Republican — and when I was Chairman of the College Republicans at my school — I went to a campaign breakfast for Bob Dole (1988), even though I was supporting Jack Kemp. Bob Dole was a nice enough guy, but he gave this story about his early political life. After the war, and after his rehab, he came home and decided to go into politics, but he was initially unsure as to whether he should run as a Republican or Democrat. He then took a look at the party rolls in his area and saw that there were more Republicans than Democrats, so he became a Republican.

    True story. Or, at least, that’s the story that Bob Dole gave about himself. (not that surprising, really, after all, here in Northern Virginia, everyone is a Democrat — even the Republicans are Democrats (if they want to hold public office)).

  • alecheva

    To my knowledge, the Republican party hasn’t really had conservative ideals for a while now. Neoconservatives are a far, far cry from any brand of real conservatism, in my estimation. Politics should emerge from philosophy- it is extremely important to engage with others in serious discussion, and to self-educate, before arriving at one’s own personal, political philosophy- but once that philosophy is developed, if it really is well grounded (and it really should be before anyone stands up and declares x or y to be the way to run the country), one cannot be faulted for being passionate about its defense and execution. Unfortunately for this country, people are so eager to arrive at the end, where they can become a part of a community, of a movement, of a party, that they skip over the beginning, and often enough substitute introspection and education with a combination of blind intuition and inherited views from their parents- a dangerous cocktail that, unsurprisingly, leaves many American voters staggering wildly and spouting jibberish.

    I am a young conservative, both in terms of my age, and of how long I’ve considered myself one, but it is central to my identity. My conservatism is defined ultimately by a strong belief in personal responsibility- this dictates not only my politics, but how I live my life. As a college conservative in New England, I know what it feels like to be a minority in the political spectrum, to be straw-manned, prejudged, and brushed aside because I label myself as such, and I can understand where the combative, defensive attitude stems from within the Republican party (of which I am not, and likely never will be, a member), for while the definition of “conservatism” varies wildly within this country, it seems that nowhere is it a word without stigma. I have no small amount of resentment towards the “GOP” for providing the manure in which this anti-conservative attitude has grown so well, and I think they’re starting to understand it too, which is why they’re clawing so wildly for a core philosophy, a real return to basic principles- whatever those are.

    I think it’s good that they’re trying to reshape themselves, but I do hope they ask “what IS conservatism?” while they’re doing it- it’s been too long since anyone in this country has done some real, political soul-searching.

    Although I think it’d help if they had a certain Dr. Ron Paul there while they asked the question. :P

  • alecheva

    To my knowledge, the Republican party hasn’t really had conservative ideals for a while now. Neoconservatives are a far, far cry from any brand of real conservatism, in my estimation. Politics should emerge from philosophy- it is extremely important to engage with others in serious discussion, and to self-educate, before arriving at one’s own personal, political philosophy- but once that philosophy is developed, if it really is well grounded (and it really should be before anyone stands up and declares x or y to be the way to run the country), one cannot be faulted for being passionate about its defense and execution. Unfortunately for this country, people are so eager to arrive at the end, where they can become a part of a community, of a movement, of a party, that they skip over the beginning, and often enough substitute introspection and education with a combination of blind intuition and inherited views from their parents- a dangerous cocktail that, unsurprisingly, leaves many American voters staggering wildly and spouting jibberish.

    I am a young conservative, both in terms of my age, and of how long I’ve considered myself one, but it is central to my identity. My conservatism is defined ultimately by a strong belief in personal responsibility- this dictates not only my politics, but how I live my life. As a college conservative in New England, I know what it feels like to be a minority in the political spectrum, to be straw-manned, prejudged, and brushed aside because I label myself as such, and I can understand where the combative, defensive attitude stems from within the Republican party (of which I am not, and likely never will be, a member), for while the definition of “conservatism” varies wildly within this country, it seems that nowhere is it a word without stigma. I have no small amount of resentment towards the “GOP” for providing the manure in which this anti-conservative attitude has grown so well, and I think they’re starting to understand it too, which is why they’re clawing so wildly for a core philosophy, a real return to basic principles- whatever those are.

    I think it’s good that they’re trying to reshape themselves, but I do hope they ask “what IS conservatism?” while they’re doing it- it’s been too long since anyone in this country has done some real, political soul-searching.

    Although I think it’d help if they had a certain Dr. Ron Paul there while they asked the question. :P

  • Pingback: Brutally Honest

  • Pingback: Brutally Honest

  • Terrye

    A good argument could be made the right holds a grudge against McCain because he can win an election in spite of Ann Coulter’s screaming invectives.

    The thing that bothers me is that we have put all these young people into harm’s way and yet these socalled conservatives would render the sacrifices of our own soldiers meaningless rather than vote for McCain. What kind of short sighted, hypocritical, self involved stupidity is that? I mean really?

    The attitude toward McCain from some on the right is far more destructive to the conservative movement than McCain could ever be. They are basically saying that since McCain does not say how high when they say jump, they can not vote for him. Well, who died and made them king? What makes their vote or their principles or their beliefs any more important than anyone else’s?

    I am not a McCainiac either, but the man spent 6 years in a POW camp. He was tortured, he did not know if he would ever see this country again. If that does not earn him a modicum of civility from the right, then that says something rather nasty about the right, not him, but them.

    And btw, McCain’s coservative rating is too close to Fred Thompson’s for people to try and pass McCain off as a liberal Democrat and Fred! off as some conservative icon. It is just emotional silliness. Group think at its worse.

  • Terrye

    A good argument could be made the right holds a grudge against McCain because he can win an election in spite of Ann Coulter’s screaming invectives.

    The thing that bothers me is that we have put all these young people into harm’s way and yet these socalled conservatives would render the sacrifices of our own soldiers meaningless rather than vote for McCain. What kind of short sighted, hypocritical, self involved stupidity is that? I mean really?

    The attitude toward McCain from some on the right is far more destructive to the conservative movement than McCain could ever be. They are basically saying that since McCain does not say how high when they say jump, they can not vote for him. Well, who died and made them king? What makes their vote or their principles or their beliefs any more important than anyone else’s?

    I am not a McCainiac either, but the man spent 6 years in a POW camp. He was tortured, he did not know if he would ever see this country again. If that does not earn him a modicum of civility from the right, then that says something rather nasty about the right, not him, but them.

    And btw, McCain’s coservative rating is too close to Fred Thompson’s for people to try and pass McCain off as a liberal Democrat and Fred! off as some conservative icon. It is just emotional silliness. Group think at its worse.

  • Terrye

    Victor Davis Hanson has an interesting take on all this……. from the point of view of watching Hillary.

  • Terrye

    Victor Davis Hanson has an interesting take on all this……. from the point of view of watching Hillary.

  • Noatak

    I suspect that a lot of conservative dissatisfaction is from the recognition of a ‘frog in a pot of heating water’ or ‘death by one thousand cuts’ scenario playing out before their eyes. As the GOP has embraced increased federal spending, adopted reduced transparency (earmarks), expanded the size of federal and state government, gone wobbly on the concept of borders and respect for upholding existing law, and has even grown confused about the proper (constitutional) role of government, their dissatisfaction has also been rising. The emergence of ‘let’s poke these people in the eye’ John McCain is a direct insult to them. I understand the anger at the ‘moderates’. The ‘moderates’ are essentially saying ‘let’s keep on heating up that water’ or ‘Oh c’mon, a few more cuts won’t hurt!’

    Ronald Reagan had very solid core values. The Conservatives you slight are absolutely right not to let go of them so easily.

  • Noatak

    I suspect that a lot of conservative dissatisfaction is from the recognition of a ‘frog in a pot of heating water’ or ‘death by one thousand cuts’ scenario playing out before their eyes. As the GOP has embraced increased federal spending, adopted reduced transparency (earmarks), expanded the size of federal and state government, gone wobbly on the concept of borders and respect for upholding existing law, and has even grown confused about the proper (constitutional) role of government, their dissatisfaction has also been rising. The emergence of ‘let’s poke these people in the eye’ John McCain is a direct insult to them. I understand the anger at the ‘moderates’. The ‘moderates’ are essentially saying ‘let’s keep on heating up that water’ or ‘Oh c’mon, a few more cuts won’t hurt!’

    Ronald Reagan had very solid core values. The Conservatives you slight are absolutely right not to let go of them so easily.

  • TheAnchoress

    Noatak, is that what you think I am doing here, “slighting” the Conservatives and asking them to boil?

    Then I must be writing very badly. I thought I was giving them something to think about – and not just them – ALL of us, liberals too.

    It’s fine to have core values. It is strange – to me, anyway – to have core values that swing from “broken glass” to “let’s vote for Hillary!” That doesn’t seem like a core value to me. That seems like a very unwise tantrum.

    And to think…so many of these people excoriated me for supporting “baby killer, serial adulturer” Giuliani. Are you telling me that their voting for pro-government-funded abortion-big state” Hillary is consistent with their “core values”? Is the “pulling out” of Iraq and rendering meaningless much young sacrifice (and deserting a people who are starting to trust us) consistent with their “core values?”

    Well, crap then. Clearly, I never knew who they were!

  • http://pierrelegrand.net PierreLegrand

    Anchoress this is about issues. Should we vote for McCain simply to stop Hillary? Is that inspiring to you? My rejection of McCain revolves around issues. Not purity. I was willing to vote for Guiliani for heavens sake. McCain has some serious issues with temperment that truthfully worry me should he get close to the Presidency.

    He is a liar of the first order. Witness the flip flopping on immigration, where one week he says he would sign his bill and the next week he says he won’t. Then we have the Keating five incident where the man who was willing to steal away our first amendment rights was caught with his hand in the cooky jar. Sowell says it better than I can.

    The passing years and a friendly media have allowed Senator McCain’s shortcomings in the character and integrity department to fade into the background.

    McCain was one of “the Keating Five” — senators who used their influence to try to protect a failing savings & loan company, which also became the subject of a corruption investigation.

    During the 2000 primaries, the Associated Press reported Senator McCain’s joking about people with Alzheimer’s.

    This went beyond bad taste because (1) it was known at the time that Ronald Reagan was suffering from Alzheimer’s and (2) the media to whom McCain was pandering hated Ronald Reagan.

    It is especially ironic now to see McCain wrapping himself in the mantle of President Reagan.

    With the momentum of his Florida primary win behind him, going into the “Super Tuesday” primaries, John McCain has now been restored to the position of front runner that the media gave him at the outset.

    Other Republicans are jumping on his bandwagon. This may have less to do with McCain’s own qualities than with the prospect of getting Cabinet posts or Supreme Court appointments as rewards for their political support.

    It may all look like a done deal. But the McCain-Kennedy bill giving amnesty to illegal aliens looked like a done deal two years ago — until the public realized the truth behind the spin and brought that sell-out to a screeching halt.

    Super Tuesday may be the voters’ last chance to bring the so-called “straight talk express” to a screeching halt.

    It should be called the “sell-out express” because McCain has sold out not only with amnesty for illegal aliens but also sold out the First Amendment with the McCain-Feingold “campaign finance reform” bill that was supposed to take big money out of political campaigns, but blatantly has not.

    McCain also sold out on judicial nominations by making his own side deal with the Democrats, undercutting Republican attempts to stop Democrats from filibustering judicial nominees instead of voting them up or down.

    This is quite a record for someone running as a straight talker.

  • http://pierrelegrand.net PierreLegrand

    Core values? Wait I thought you were the one who was saying that we shouldn’t have core values? I have been consistent with mine and I remain so.

    Illegal immigration must be stopped and employers must be punished for knowingly hiring illegals. Start with Tyson and Mohawk again since they still have not learned the lesson.

    My first amendment rights must be returned to me, we shouldn’t hire the architect of the dissolution of the first amendment to accomplish said task.

    The Government should be getting more out of my business, not more into it. Witness McCain various alliances with Kennedy and Lieberman.

    I want my tax cuts permanent.

    I don’t want my Republican President sounding like a Liberal Democrat when he talks about profit and business. I happen to make my living from both.

    I am true to my core values. It is Republicans who think that anyone but Hillary is enough of a reason to throw away all of their core values that worry me.

  • Noatak

    I was referring to your ‘goldilocks’ Republicans on Pajamas Media. I’m assuming you still stand by that article.

  • Noatak

    I’m not one of the ‘let’s vote for Hillary’ crowd. But i see the argument. A calmer way to state it might be ‘People are desensitized to this creeping socialism and nanny-statism going on here – shock therapy might be the only cure at this point.

  • TheAnchoress

    Excuse me, Pierre, I have never said people should not have core values and I think you know that. You think that going after “Republicans who think that anyone but Hillary is enough of a reason to throw away their core values” is being TRUE to your core values?

    See, I’m confused. You want Illegal Immigration stopped: Hillary will, what?

    You want your first amendment rights “returned” to you: Hillary’s talked about regulating the internet!

    You want the government out of your business: Hello Nurse!

    You want your tax cuts permanent: Hillary will give you that one, right.

    But by all means…hang on to those core values until you give them to her because you don’t like a man whose conservative rating is about 2 points below Fred Thompsons!

    Crap – I’m not a McCain fan…I’m a little tirde of defending someone I don’t even know if I want to vote for…but it seems to me this far-right wing needs to take a damn breath.

    The right is having a stroke over a man who has been the only staunch supporter of our young people overseas and in harm’s way. What about THOSE core values?

    The right has – for the last 2 years – been throwing under the bus a man who is NONE of the things they describe McCain as being, “vindictive, petty, self-agrandizing etc…”

    The right wants something that is not on the table just now. Maybe it will be, later, but maybe it won’t be.

    The right, it seems to me, is being played a little bit, here. McCain is not my own first choice, but he is no devil, either. Again I will say – people need to take a few breaths, turn off the radios and televisions and take a walk and read something fun and just clear the heads. I cannot tell you how many frantic emails I’m getting from people saying “I don’t know what I am going to do!”

    Do nothing. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. It’s not time to freak out. I wonder what Jesus thinks of all this. And where is everyone’s vaunted “Faith”?

    Pierre – must run but in answer to your second, longish comment…again…how does voting for Hillary FIX any of that? How does voting for a woman who fits your description of McCain become the better choice? That’s all I’m asking.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X