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What is a Conservative?

Most people think of the Republican party as being made up of evangelicals and fiscal conservatives, held together by AM radio and Fox News. Never mind that when Republicans were in power they spent money like drunken sailors while not accomplishing much in their social agenda (and even going backwards on gay rights). But at least they pretended to be social and fiscal conservatives.

But a strange thing happened on the way to this election. If you’re like me, you’ve noticed that Trump is winning more evangelical votes than Cruz (even though he has obviously never even glanced at the bible), and he wants to run up even more deficits building big walls and starting even more wars in the middle east.

So what do Republicans stand for anymore? And what does it mean to be a conservative? An interesting opinion piece by Leonard Pitts Jr. asks that question, and concludes that conservatives don’t really stand for anything other than a mood. And that mood is “surly, nasty and put-upon”.

Conservatives were always happy to attack liberals, but Reagan’s 11th commandment required “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican”. Even that seems to have gone down the toilet, as Republicans seem to be “feuding with a bitterness and constancy that would make even the Hatfields and McCoys tell them to tone it down.”

And the party that used to complain about the “culture of victimization” now whines incessantly “about how they are victims of biased media, bullying gays and political correctness.”

Remember when George H. W. Bush chastized “The Simpsons” for violating decency and “family values”? Now they have candidates who make penis jokes.

After badly losing the last presidential election, the Republicans briefly did some introspection and decided that they needed a gentler tone and more inclusiveness toward minorities. Does that include calling Mexicans criminals, drug dealers, and rapists, and passing laws whose purpose is to disenfranchise blacks?

They should not have ignored their own advice. “On the other hand, when your base is the Ku Klux Klan, Ted Nugent and people sucker-punching strangers at rallies, it’s a sign that a little self-reflection is overdue.”



  1. Jwhat wrote:

    I think it will be VERY ironic if our first atheist president comes from the Republican party.

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016 at 7:21 am | Permalink
  2. Hassan wrote:

    Donald Trump is not going to start war, that is the only good thing about him.

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016 at 7:49 am | Permalink
  3. ThatGuy wrote:

    Trump may not start a war, but he will prosecute the current conflicts with what amounts to war crimes, if you believe his rhetoric.

    Almost certainly more damaging (at least immediately) will be the trade wars he promises to start.

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016 at 9:16 am | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee wrote:

    Oh great, he’ll just murder the children and family members of our enemies. How could that start a war?

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016 at 9:38 am | Permalink
  5. Hassan wrote:

    IK, that will be finishing up already existing wars in bad fashion. (blowback in future…)

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016 at 9:42 am | Permalink
  6. Hmm wrote:

    I can’t see how he wouldn’t start wars. And if not, he will bring sanctions down against the US, which would be just as bad.

    Thursday, April 28, 2016 at 8:29 am | Permalink