What’s Happening to Conservatives? Have we Forgotten the Last few Years?


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I have to be honest, and blunt-I’m thoroughly disgusted.  I’m mostly disgusted by field of candidates for POTUS.  For the most part, they represent nothing more than what we have been served for years, progressive, RINO, establishment types.  And, I see people that I thought were more Conservative, come out in support of these candidates.  I’ve seen the “just win” philosophy of Rove creep back into our narrative.  As these things jump out at me, I want to scream, because we’ve seen it all before.

To get to my points, I do need to share some personal observations and experiences.  Let’s just say that like so many others, I came out of college with a degree, and a head full of mush.  Needless to say, I was in for awakening, as real life didn’t quite measure up to what I had been taught.  In fact, I got the impression, nearly right off the bat, that much of what I had been taught was completely false.  It was at that point, that some of my friends convinced me to listen to talk radio.  The rest, as they say, was history.  What I heard resonated with me, because it matched my observations.  When Clinton’s tax increase went through, I got zapped-retroactively.  When the Contract with America passed, the economy took off.  When welfare reform passed, no one died, but a lot to people started escaping the government plantation, including people I knew.  I became a Conservative because it matched the reality that I was directly observing.  It wasn’t always popular with some family members and many co-workers, but I would prefer to be right than popular any day.

But all was not well, for me, or Conservatives (or at least people that called themselves Conservatives).  What I didn’t do through much of the 90’s, and into the early part of this century, is read enough about Conservatism.  I didn’t take the time to learn the history of it, and more importantly, the rationale for it.  I had a cursory understanding of it, but I caught, in the process of NOT learning, something I now call “NeoCon Disease.”  That terrible malady is centered on the concept that government can successfully intervene in economic and social problems, provided that said intervention is done in a “Conservative” way.  Of course, as most of us should know,  any big government solution will fail, because by their very nature, big government solutions fail.  That, and big government is antithetical to Conservatism.  I didn’t get it, and apparently, nor did many Republicans, as we kept voting for the people that took advantage of our NeoCon Disease.

As the 90’s ended, and George W. Bush won the election, there seemed to be a growing unrest in my gut.  We were always presented with candidates that talked about being Conservatives, but once in office, governed like progressives.  Spending increased, regulation increased, and freedom decreased.  We got one justifiable war, and a complete waste of another.  We got the Patriot Act, as well as porno-scanners and sexual assault in the name of  “security.”  The outcries to secure the border were ignored.  Failed programs were not de-funded, but made more powerful.  In the end, these “conservatives,” presented little to no difference to the Democrats that we were resisting.  I completely faulted the GOP for losing the Congress in 2006.  I blamed their lack of principle, as well as their progressive actions, for their loss.

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Even before Obama won the election in 2008, I was referring to the two parties as the “demicans,” and the “republicrats.”  I wasn’t seeing that much of a difference between them.  For me, the GOP was “Socialism-lite,” driving the country off the cliff, only at a slightly slower speed than the Democrats.  I was posting at a Conservative forum (now defunct) about all of the ideas I have mentions so far, but the admins there allowed trolls to run free.  My response was to start the original Conservative Hideout, as a forum.  Even as I began blogging, I did it as a very sarcastic parody/insult blog.  I was still too angry to approach issues seriously without issuing long streams of profanity.  I felt betrayed, as well as angry, both at the politicians that lied to me, but also at myself, for being so easily taken in by those establishment tools.

I really rebounded when the Tea Parties emerged.  At last, there were people talking about real principles.  Real change was openly discussed.  True cuts to programs that are not Constitutional, and do not work were suggested and embraced.  And, more importantly, there was a push to learn, and grow.  Consequently, I’ve read more (still not a much as I should).  I’ve listened to Conservatives of all stripes, as well as our Libertarian friends.  In the end, I think I’ve managed to shake much of the NeoCon Disease out of my political thinking.  However, I’m now questioning how universal that trend is.  Since I’m starting to see more and more people settling for a Romney or a Gingrich for POTUS.

I do admit that defeating Obama is absolutely vital.  I get that 100%.  But in our search for a candidate, are we going to pick the same kind of charlatans that we allowed to deceive us for decades?  Are we going to go back to holding our noses and voting for the lesser of two evils-again?   Are we going to keep telling the establishment, “why of course, we’ll bend over again?”

We’ve all talked about limited government and free markets, but that is actually a difficult thing, because those things have not existed in the lifetimes of most of the people that will read this post.  That’s how  NeoCon Disease takes hold.  Since, for all of our lives, government has been meddling in things that it should not, we’ve been accustomed to it.  We have a hard time imagining, or acting on, concepts that we really haven’t seen in action.  So, when people come along and actually suggest that we eliminate large amounts of the government, or that we shouldn’t meddle in the internal affairs of other nations, it “feels” weird and uncomfortable.  When suggestions are made to dismantle part of the “security” structure that does nothing to keep us safe, people start to get nervous.  When it is suggested that perhaps we shouldn’t bomb the crap out of countries that look at us sideways, people want to attack the messenger.  I would submit that we all have to carefully and intently question all of our beliefs.  We have to set aside the rhetoric that many of us, including myself, have used for many years.  We have to expose it all to the most important litmus test of all-does it work?  Just because something has been done for decades doesn’t mean that it is right, or effective.  We can’t accept status quo, even when it is our status quo, just because it’s been the status quo for a long time.  If we do, we’re going to keep on making the same old mistakes, and getting the same old result, namely failure.

Now is the time to take a hard look at what we think and believe.  We’ve been sold down the river before, and if we don’t take time to carefully examine what we are thinking and doing, we’re going to get burnt again.  Frankly, we are running out of time, and I don’t want to lose the Republic because we didn’t take enough time to be honest with ourselves.

End of rant.

  • I agree, Matt. It is past the time that we should be examining how our past actions have served us and how those results should shape the actions we will be taking in the future. It is something we should be considering very carefully.

    • I’m just afraid that too many people are not considering past events. It’s very frustrating.

  • Great post Matt, and I agree fully! I see people who I know are conservatives who are planning on voting for Newt and when I tell them about who he really is it doesn’t seem to phase them because they are thinking in terms of who can beat Obama and not who is the true conservative. It is frustrating to me that Newt and Mitt can be the two frontrunners, and you have asked the million dollar question: has everyone forgotten the last decade?

    • Thanks Steve. This is the key question. I’m going to have a hard time defending a Romney or a Gingrich. In fact, I won’t. It’s mind blowing that so many people are endorsing RINOs for POTUS.

  • Great post. My biggest dissapointment has been with the Tea Party. I had high hopes that we at least could keep the wolves at bay. This fiasco this weekend, and the passage of the so called Ommnibus spending bill that no one had read, said it all.

    • Thanks for the kind words. You make a great point with the spending. How can we say that Republicans are different when they passed a gigantic bill without reading it?

  • Good rant.

    There is only one party in existence. The Republicans and Democrats are the same party. We need the rise of a major viable third party to replace the Republicans.

    That won’t happen as long as the government controls the ballot. Think about it. The government controls the voting and has decided that there shall be two parties: Republican and Democrat. Neither shall disappear.

    Gone are the days of the Whigs when a party could disappear overnight because the parties, not the government, controlled the ballot.

    • I don’t know that a third party is possible, at least for now. It would take too long to get it up and running, and it would split the vote enough for Democrats to win. It’s a double bind to be sure.

  • Karen

    Matt, I couldn’t agree with you more. Everything you say here is how I’ve felt for a long time. I hate to sound negative, but I believe that we are well and truly fucked and that we’re not going to fix things through just the voting booth.

    • Karen, it’s great to hear from you.

      It’s going to take time, a commodity that we do not have in abundance. There are a lot of people working on influencing the GOP from the ground up, but it will take time to win lasting influence.

  • Matt – you’re journey was interesting to read. I’m thinking many of your fellow bloggers who hide out here have similar stories of awakening, I know I did.

    As a group, those of us in the Conservative blogosphere are right with you. I bet that Larry, Bunker, Infidel and the rest are all reading up on the Federalist, studying the Constitution and learning.

    I think the Tea Party folks are doing that too.

    Here’s where we get into trouble. The Tea Party is not represented by those who claim the honor. Dick Armey is as establishment as they come. The Tea Party Congressmen elected in 2010 were corrupted by Boehner in a matter of weeks; we’ve lost most of them.

    What’s left are the people who went to the first Tax Day Tea Party. The people who attended the 9/12 event, and the next year, Beck’s 8/28.

    We’re still here. We have just been co-opted in the media by the likes of Dick Armey and other self-proclaimed conservatives, i.e., Krauthammer, Rove, etc.

    So…. I think there is still reason to be optimistic. Let’s see what happens at the next election to the House and Senate seats. It is my belief that the Tea Party – the REAL Tea Party – is still there and still frustrated. We’ll clean house again next Fall.

    Also be interesting to see Tea Party types campaigning next Summer….

    • Lot’s of good points in that comment sir! I think you have a point with the base. And, I think we’ll see a better set of candidates in 2012.

  • Great post Matt. You said what needed to be said. Many conservative are falling into the same old trap that has ensnared them before. They are comfortable with big government in our lives because as you said many have not known anything different. We had better wake up soon Matt or the Republican Party will be done. A third party will rise I fear.

    • That’s my fear as well. We’re not ready for a third party. That would give Obama another four years, and then we’re toast.

  • Don

    Our best bet is to get majorities in both houses to force the GOP POTUS to the right.

    • That’s the best chance we have for now. I think we’re going to need some street protests as well, as a reminder.

  • Great post. I knew I wasn’t alone out here.

    • I have to be honest, I was discouraged and thought I was mostly alone in this as well. It was good to see some positive comments on this post. Thanks.

  • I think that we’re going to get some kind of GOP “charlatan” to vote for in 2012.

    And why is that?

    I believe that “the big machine” is in control. That “big machine” ignores the will of the people that the machine claims to represent.

    Moreover, Obama and his re-election team know how to work the media, broadcast and social. The GOP doesn’t know how to do that!

    Add to the above that so many of the electorate have the strangest criteria for voting once they get to the ballot box. Ever since the election of JFK, most voters are easily swayed by “a pretty face” or even one particular statement by a candidate. Madison Avenue has taken over! Especially in elections for POTUS.

    I can’t say that I have much optimism these days.

    • You make many good points there. I only add that the GOP is afraid to learn how. They are still as cowardly as ever.

    • Don

      AOW, I don’t necessarily think that the GOP doesn’t know how to work the media. I just think that there is such a philosophical divide between the lefist media and our side that our message never or rarely ever gets out.

      • I’m not too sure about that Don, from the 90’s, when Gingrich seemed incapable of explaining that his school lunch “cut” wasn’t a cut at all, to the current Congress, and it’s unwillingness to explain their resistance to the payroll tax cut, they have bungled their communications. We wouldn’t have to spend so much time explaining things if they would do it themselves.

        A good blogger could do their press communications for them.

        • Don

          True, I think I was talking more towards the fact that no matter the message from our side, the MSM will do its best to negate it. Of course, that could be the argument for our side to just get better at what the message is, since the MSM is the way it is.

          Not sure if I am clear on this, it is late and I am tired, and I’m not sure of my wording.

  • It was indeed a great post. I think where the problem really lies is that we, constitutional conservatives, are not going about this in a smart way.

    The Socialist Progressives saw that trying to push socialist views on the American public back in the early part of the 20th century got them nowhere. So they got smart and then little by little infiltrated all areas of the federal and state governments in order to progress their ideology.

    I know everyone wants major changes NOW, but we Constitutional Conservatives need to get smart and start inching our way back the other direction and infiltrate the Constitution and less government back into the American culture.

    Of all the candidates, who do you think could get us started back in the right direction?

    • I wish that we could move incrementally, but we are nearly out of time.

  • Oops watch it. “Nearly out of time” sounds really close to the “crisis” senarios that the regressives are always trying to sell us.