someone once told me that if you're not a liberal when you're young then you have no heart and that if you're still a liberal when you're an adult than you have no brain. sage words, these. but do they really apply in the here and now?
now-a-days all the kids are talking about this guy being a "moderate republican" that guy being a "compassionate conservative". excuse me? conservatism, by its very nature is compassionate and what does it mean to be a "moderate" republican. seems to me that's just liberal-lite.
i believe that there are four major components to being a conservative: fiscal, security, social and constitutional constructionism (is that a word?). it is not a pick one from column a and one from column b chinese dinner. it is an all or nothing proposition. without all of these qualities represented, what is the real difference between the republicans and the democrats?
i am a red state conservative. i make no apologies for it and i certainly don't make any excuses for it. i believe that the constitution means what it says. if i have a question as to the intent, i believe that i can find the answers in the federalist papers and sometimes even in the anti-federalist papers.
that said, as far as the 2008 republican race goes, this is the way i see things taking shape:
mitt romney may win iowa and/or new hampshire. he's been spending all of his capital (and then some) to make that happen. however, he currently has nearly double the amount of campaign debt as cash and so for all intents and purposes his campaign is about bankrupt. if it weren't for his use of his personal funds thus far, his race would already be in the "also ran" category.
john mccain is done and has been nearly since the time of his declaration of intent to run. he's nearly bankrupt and completely out of sync with the americans he claims to represent. his status as hugely unpopular can be traced to his insane views on immigration, the gang of 14 on judges confirmation, and even campaign finance reform. his refusal to aggressively interrogate terrorists isn't helping him any, either.
mike huckabee has small pockets of supporters who would like to see a baptist minister elected, period. as near as i can tell, he is conservative only in his pro-life stance and his support of one man + one woman = marriage. even if he somehow wins iowa, he won't go any further.
ron paul may be just a tad touched in the head. at the very least he's an isolationist who doesn't understand that we live in a global economy. and while ronald reagan did say "The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.", that hardly makes me feel better where mr. paul is concerned. additionally, his ties to white supremacists and anti-semitics are starting to surface - all of which means there is no way he will ever be a serious contender for the republican nomination.
duncan hunter and tom tancredo are both awesome men. either of them could represent the country and the party quite well. however, for whatever reason, neither of them has been able to capture the attention of conservative voters nationwide and so make it unlikely that either one of them could get voters to unite behind him. i do hope that they each find a position in any republican administration that is formed as a result of the 2008 election. it will be very interesting to see which candidate each endorses - i really wish they'd concede already and allow people to start uniting under one of the others.
that leaves two players really left standing after super tuesday 2008 - fred thompson and rudy giuliani. fred is the only one i see who is able to reconcile all four points of conservatism that i listed above. he is the only one who seems to truly understand how our government is supposed to work as laid out by our founding fathers and ratified by our ancestors in each of the states.
rudy is trying to move to the right on the issues that are of concern, but i don't think it will work. there are just too many holes. i know people who say he's great except for the abortion thing but that he says he'll appoint conservative judges so that's good enough. but is it?
rudy has also said he's going to leave the second amendment question up to the states and it's where that question belongs. nothing could be farther from the truth. the second amendment is specifically mentioned and protected by the constitution and so is not a states' rights issue. he doesn't want to answer questions on this because he doesn't believe the second amendment should be left to stand. one need only look at his history of dealing with guns (and the ownership and manufacturing thereof) to see that.
according to university of pennsylvania's factcheck.org only 14 of the 23 tax cuts that rudy giuliani has been claiming can actually be credited to him. they further say:
In fact, he strongly opposed one of the largest cuts for which he claims credit, reversing himself only after a five-month standoff with the city council. In addition, the ad's claim that Giuliani turned the budget deficit he inherited into a surplus, while true enough, ignores the fact that he also left a multibillion-dollar deficit for his successor, not including costs associated with 9/11.
from the campaign spot at national review i got some further insight on this issue:
FACT: Mayor Giuliani Not Only Wanted To Keep The Tax, He Wanted To Raise It:
Mayor Giuliani Said That The Commuter Tax Should Be Increased Rather Than Eliminated. "Earlier today, Mr. Giuliani assailed the Legislature for seeking to end the commuter tax, saying that if anything, it should be higher." (Clifford J. Levy, "Leaders In Albany Plan To Eliminate Tax On Commuters," The New York Times, 5/13/99)
Mayor Giuliani Threatened Politicians Who Considered Voting For The Tax Cut. "At the City Hall event, Giuliani also warned Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and any other city-elected backers of the tax cut: 'Voting against the interests of the city, somehow, some way, you will pay for it.'" (Dan Janison, "Former Foes United," [New York] Newsday, 5/17/99)
in august of 1996, on the charlie rose show, rudy stated that he didn't fully agree with tax cuts proposed by bob dole, but thought that it was a good political ploy to get people focused on bob dole. so is rudy using it as a political ploy now? makes me wonder.
also, when questioned about how he was justifying his claim of being responsible for all 23 tax cuts the exchange went like this:
The former mayor summed up his position in this exchange:.
Saltonstall: All you have to do is say, ‘I support it,’ and you get credit for it?
Giuliani: Of course. That’s exactly right. Of course.
i disagree with this statement, as do tax experts quoted by the Daily News.
rudy ran new york as a sanctuary city but says he didn't. his stated stance was that it is up to the federal government to deal with illegal aliens. rudy says that he supports a tamper-proof id and such, but how would he enforce it? the cities and states MUST work with the federal government, not against it, to enforce anything having to do with immigration - illegal or otherwise - else the problem will simply continue to grow. sounds like he agrees with kansas's stance which is just plain ridiculous. it's like saying "yes, it's illegal to rob the bank, but once you have the money it's yours." whatever.
his spending was nothing to write home about either. while he claims to have had a surplus when he left office, that's not quite the truth. when rudy took the reigns for nyc from dinkins, the city had a $1.4 billion budget shortfall. when he left, the after math of 9/11 not withstanding, the city had a $3.5 billion budget shortfall - more than twice the amount as when he took over. if you factor in the damages from 9/11 (which i don't think it fair to do) the budget shortfall is greater than $5 billion.
we have had nearly eight years of "compassionate conservatism" and what has it gotten us? don't get me wrong. i am NOT bashing bush for the sake of bashing him, but while he has been steadfast in his effort to appoint conservative judges and executing the war on terror, he has been an excessive spender as well. we can't afford another "compassionate conservative" or "moderate republican".
there are other issues as well, too numerous to list in this post, but he is not the conservative he is claiming to be. the long and the short of it is that middle america or texas or anywhere else outside of new york, really, is not new york. by and large, red state conservatives will not vote or unite behind a new york republican. this means that if rudy gets the nod from the rnc, we are very likely looking at the democrats winning the white house. can you say "madame president"?
so do the words from the start of the post apply to the here and now? in my mind yes. if the republican party is not the party of conservatives then what is the point of having the republican party? if the alternative to the secular, anti-american liberals is the pro-american, secular "moderate" republicans then, again, what's the point?