Republicanism and Conservativism
Is it true that Republicans are conservative? Overall that is certainly true. There are some moderate Republicans left; blogojournalist Andrew Sullivan, Olympia Snowe, Lincoln Chafe spring to mind. But the heart and the power of the party lie much farther to the right -- the very conservative. Ironically, they claim to be mainstream, meaning that they are in line with most Americans, but the facts are that Bush languishes in the low 30s approval rating, with Republican legislators not far behind. Not to mention that roughly two thirds of America thinks we are on the wrong track concerning policy. How this overwhelming dissatisfaction translates into 'mainstream support' is beyond my cognitive abilities.
What I want to focus on are actual current conservative policies. They call themselves conservative but are they really?
Conservative used to mean "tried and true", caution, traditional. 20th century conservatives supported segregation and isolationism. Vietnam was a Democrat debacle (even though it was conservative Dems, the liberal Dems hated the war). Those conservatives were willing to trample the first amendment in their rush to defend the second amendment. The conservatives of yore at least pretended to honor the Constitution. Conservatives then opposed equal rights for women, defended 'traditional' marriage by fighting interracial marriage, supported conservation of national lands and parks, fought taxes and government spending, regulation of any sort, supported limited government and states rights. Most importantly, conservatives fought conservative religio-social issues being included in political functions on the grounds that if included, Catholics and Jews would control the country. (This is supported by the famous JFK campaign statement promising not to let his Catholic beliefs skew his presidential duties, in response to Nixon's charges.) The only conservative exceptions were segregation and abortion -- but this was mainly due to those issues being thrust into political discourse by Supreme Court decisions mandating laws be changed. This brings me to one final major conservative issue that used to define conservatives, a very strong bias against the Judicial Branch of the federal government. Claims to be believers in ‘the rule of law’ were as much of a canard then as it is now for conservatives.
Conservatives then had an anti-judicial bias then whereas today conservatives have an anti-judge bias.
According to the intent of the Constitution, the third branch of government, the Judicial Branch, was set up to protect the rights of minorities against the tyranny of the majority. Both Executive and Legislative Branches were designed to be majority rules, they were to be voted into office, and were intended to govern according to the will of the majority -- they are the representatives of the people in Government. The opposite is true of Judges, they are not elected, rather appointed by the executive and voted on by the legislative. Judges are to determine constitutionality of laws passed. What this means is to make sure guaranteed rights accorded by the constitution are not taken away from certain minorities at the will of the majority. At certain times, even the constitution itself has been checked by the judicial to ensure it meets the spirit behind the constitution: That all humans are equal in the eyes of government, and that inalienable rights of all are protected. This almost universally means the rights of minorities (without the power) are protected from the tyranny of the majority (with the power).
Conservatives of the day hated the Judiciary because as an institution it threatened segregation and tried to give 'coloreds' some power traditionally held by whites. Judges of that day were 'strict constructionists' in that they believed the constitution was a living document that should reflect the ideals of the founding fathers -- and they all categorically threw out segregation. Conservatives didn't want to remove judges they wanted to eliminate the institution because as an institution all judges were 'strict constructionists'.
Conservatives today are the opposite, they want to keep the judicial branch and turn it into a theocratic judicial institution. They want to rid the judiciary of so-called activist judges (those very same 'strict constructionists' of yesteryear) and replace them with theocratic judges who want to shred the entire constitution and replace it with a 'Christian Nation' monarchy -- all the while claiming that was the true intent of the founding fathers. Thus laying claim to the term 'strict constructionists' judges. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Danbury Baptist Church and told them the first amendment was meant to be a "wall of separation of Church and State", yet conservatives today claim that Jefferson was only foolin', and that it was not the intent of the founding fathers. It is this type of twisted logic that they lay claim to in their non-reality-based community. Only absent reality can that type of logic make sense. Today, the rule-of-law conservatives advocate the murder of judges who protect the constitution from the conservative's butchery. Pat Robertson and Ann Coulter have come out with these types of statements publicly. Tom Delay, Rick Santorum, and a number of other conservative legislators have also released strongly worded threats against these judges.
Let us break it down, today’s conservatives are FOR:
- Nation Building
- warrantless wiretaps
- bigger Government
- large deficits
- assassination of ‘activist’ judges
- permanent incarceration without formal charges or a trial
- Corporate welfare while Pell grant money evaporates
- influence of special interest groups over what’s best for the American people
- cronyism and nepotism over talented, skilled and knowledgeable people
- skyrocketing gas prices while Oil Companies rake in record profits
- gouging Grandma and Grandpa in favor of lining the pockets of Pharmaceutical Companies
- protecting party allies who damage national security by leaking classified information
- hiding (and/or covering up) information affecting policies Americans care deeply about (Energy policy, etc.)
- spreading propaganda through the media in place of facts and truth
- causing the deaths of nearly 2,500 patriotic Americans based on a BIG LIE (not to mention seriously wounding over 15,000 patriotic Americans)
- stifling protest against government actions
- hiding the fact that an entire American City was destroyed when it could have been saved
- taking vacation and ignoring warnings that this country could be attacked by terrorists
- sitting on one’s hands for SEVEN minutes doing nothing while this country was being attacked, then hiding for the rest of the day
Today’s conservatives are AGAINST:
- Congressional oversight of anything the president does
- Allowing ALL Americans to keep their rights given them in the Bill of Rights
- Conserving our national forests
- Making this country energy independent by developing new energy sources (unless its more oil)
- Protecting this country from terrorist attacks by refusing to inspect imports and by giving away control of our ports to proven terrorist-supporting countries
- state’s rights, if states want to allow same-sex marriages or abortions
- The American Dream, stifling all hope for advancement through education or hard work and by placing the tax burden on the working poor and middle class
- The Statue of Liberty
- Freedom of Religion, if the religion is anything other than protestant Christianity
- America’s competitive edge in science and technology
- serving in the military, rather slapping a “I support the troops” magnet on their car is enough
- patriotism. Anyone who stands up for the values the founding fathers fought and died for are now branded traitors
- reality, they make their own reality, and no facts or truths will stop them from this goal
- Democracy. The American people are not knowledgeable or wise enough to know how to govern, only conservatives can do this, thus they should not be allowed to participate
- Democracy. Free elections are irrelevant, if voters can be disenfranchised in Florida and Ohio, all the better
- Democracy. Gerrymandering is not only good, it’s God’s way.
- Democracy. If petty and cruel dictators support our objectives, who cares about democracy in those countries.
- Democracy. Muslim countries who elect Muslim governments are illegitimate, but Pluralistic countries who have their government hijacked by Christians are perfectly legitimate.
- Democracy. George Bush is above the law and do anything he wants because he is president. Bill Clinton gets impeached because he lied about getting his dick sucked.
- Democracy. Far-right Christian leaders can shape policy in this country, regardless of their status as elected officials
- Democracy. Iraq… Need I say more?
WWGS? (What would Goldwater say?)