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Some Questions for Conservative Voters

Ken Blackwell has a really good opinion piece today:

The fact that conservatives are going in different directions right now gives rise to three questions they need to ask themselves. This week's Family Research Council Values Voter Summit in Washington D.C. - where all the major GOP candidates will speak - presents the perfect forum.

The first question is whether they can vote for a candidate with whom they have disagreed on one or more key issues. If they can't, then they can't vote for any of the top-tier GOP candidates. Messrs. Giuliani, Mitt Romney, John McCain and Fred Thompson have all had stances on key issues with which social conservatives have disagreed.

If they can vote for someone with whom they have disagreed, the second question they need to ask is: Do they vote for the candidate who personally shares their views on marriage, abortion and Second Amendment rights, or do they vote for the candidate who will best advance conservative beliefs on those issues?

Ronald Reagan is not running this year. Then again, even before he was president, Reagan did not live up to the standard of President Reagan.

Mr. Reagan was a former Democrat who was divorced and who supported President Roosevelt's expansion of the federal government. He enacted tax increases and expanded abortion rights when he was governor of California. Yet conservatives now rightfully recognize him as one of the greatest presidents in our country's history.

As president, he gave us tax cuts, a stronger military, respect for religious expression, pro-life policies, a major pro-Second Amendment law, and a more conservative Supreme Court. He delivered, and America is better off for it.

Blackwell makes a good point. There are big differences between Reagan and the GOP hopefuls today though. Reagan ran for President as a pro-life conservative, changing his positions on social issues not on the eve of a run for president, but rather over time before entering presidential politics. But Blackwell's points in the excerpt above and in the full column are good ones (read the whole column), and the questions he suggests are ones many conservatives will be asking themselves over the coming year. Rudy Giuliani suggested voters ask similar questions when I heard him speak in Raleigh this spring. Here is an excerpt from my post on his speech then:
One thing that seemed to impress, and I heard this independently from at least four different people, was the fact that at no time did Rudy try to pander to the conservative audience by trying to wiggle out of any position or explain any of them away. He explained it this way, if you agree with a candidate on 80 percent of the issues, then for the 20 percent you don't agree you have to decide how significant your differences are and how important those issues are to you overall. He said straight up that some people will find his positions on some issues will make it unable for them to vote for him. He said he would tell those people they should vote for someone else. In response to one question about gun control he asked the questioner "what do you think my position is?" making the point that some of the things people believed about his positions on gun control, abortion, gay rights, etc., are not the same as his positions.
Blackwell says in his piece that liberals are delighted that many Republicans are unhappy with the choices in front of them, but that they should not uncork the champagne yet. I agree. The Dobson threat to start a third party if Giuliani wins the nomination got big attention, but getting a little less attention is the less than enthusiastic support for the Democrats' leading candidate, Hillary, by many liberals. There are more than a few liberals in the "ABC" (anyone but Clinton) camp. This is definitely going to continue to be an interesting race to watch.


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Comments (21)

Don't think Dobson is going... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Don't think Dobson is going to make good on that threat because he realizes that it will hand a win to Hillary on a silver platter. Important Christian political figure Ralph Reed recently stated as much.

The finickiness of Christians is way overblown. Does this tell you anything?:

Bob Jones III Endorses Romney

There's more different type... (Below threshold)

There's more different types of conservatives than liberals, which splits up their efforts. For example, social conservative Sam Brownback is likely to withdraw in the next day, because his appeal splits with others who are socially conservative in their views, but do not really share his radical views about culture, while an economic conservative more on the order of Romney draws support from the founder of Ebay and big real estate developers looking to profit under a Romney government.

My best guess is that many in the business community will offer support to Clinton hoping that she'll be as good for business as her husband, although many in the business community are not really in agreement with her core politics.

Bush won in 2000 and 2004 only because he was able to merge many economic and social conservatives, although he has often managed to disappoint both. I don't really see any Republican candidate quite able to merge economic and social conservatives at this point, although that could always change at some point.

For any of the GOP candidat... (Below threshold)
yetanotherjohn:

For any of the GOP candidates, on the issues you disagree with them do you think the democratic candidates would be any better?

To use Rudy's analysis. On the 20% that you can't agree with the candidate on, do you really think the democrats would do better?

Take the supreme court. Would you trust Hillary, Obama or Edwards to nominate people you would agree with or do you think that the GOP front runners would be more likely to put forward nominees you could support?

So pick your prefered GOP candidate. Donate, volunteer, vote for them. But don't tear down any of the GOP candidates while you do that. Because as much as you may dislike any particular candidate's view on a given issue, do you really think you are going to like the democratic alternative better?

"As president, he gave us t... (Below threshold)

"As president, he gave us tax cuts, a stronger military, respect for religious expression, pro-life policies, a major pro-Second Amendment law, and a more conservative Supreme Court. He delivered, and America is better off for it."

That was about Reagan? For a second there I thought he was tslking about Bush.

Bush won in 2000 and 200... (Below threshold)
Veeshir:

Bush won in 2000 and 2004 only because he was able to merge many economic and social conservatives
Yeah, he merged them because they liked him killing the people who want to kill them (us).

I would suggest the Dems "merged" them far more with their disastrous and laughable choice of John Effin Kerry. Just ask my two staunch Democratic aunts who both voted for GWB because they were furious over the over-stuffed, arrogant, elitist, flip-flopping, denigrator of our military the Dems nominated.

Bush's biggest pander in '04 was his Medicare-AARP vote-buying scheme, which pissed off many kinds of conservatives.

As I think James Lileks put it in relation to Blair, "Let's save civilization and then worry about the direction we're going." (paraphrase)

The Dobson threat to sta... (Below threshold)

The Dobson threat to start a third party if Giuliani wins the nomination got big attention,

Gee, you think a Hillary nomination would energize the Right, think about what would happen on the Left if Dobson were nominated.

"As president, he gave u... (Below threshold)

"As president, he gave us tax cuts, a stronger military"

Actually, he started the process of dismantling the military to cash in on the peace dividend and did great damage to the services.

Reagan ran for President as a pro-life conservative, changing his positions on social issues not on the eve of a run for president, but rather over time before entering presidential politics.

Less generously, he ran for president for about 12 years, changed his views many time, and finally grasped onto popular issues to advance himself into office. He could be whatever we wanted him to be.

In politics, as in acting, if you can fake sincerity, you've got it made.

"Actually, he started the p... (Below threshold)

"Actually, he started the process of dismantling the military to cash in on the peace dividend and did great damage to the services."

Uh, you have proof of that? What "peace dividend" are you talking about?

"Less generously, he ran for president for about 12 years, changed his views many time, and finally grasped onto popular issues to advance himself into office. He could be whatever we wanted him to be."

Really? Try reading Reagan's pre-presidential writngs and compare them to his presidency, and you'll see a remarkable consitency. I'll refer you to Reagan in His Own Hand, a collection of his 1970s radio broadcasts.

I won't vote for a liberal ... (Below threshold)
Baggi:

I won't vote for a liberal no matter how many times people try to frighten me with a Clinton presidency. I seem to remember the previous Clinton presidency worked out alright. Thanks to the previous Clinton presidency we got Newt Gingrich and the Contract for America and a majority in Congress. We even got welfare reform.

So while I find the idea of another Clinton presidency to be repugnant, it won't force me to vote for a liberal like Rudy Giuliani. Party identification is about my 10th priorty, after stuff like Conservative and Religious.

The sad thing is, if it comes down to Hillary or Rudy, Hillary will be the candidate who speaks more respectfully about religion and Hillary will be the candidate who has been faithful to her spouse and only married one time.

I respect Ken Blackwell and his opinion but this Christian Conservative Republican will not be voting for a liberal for President just because they have an R next to their name.

I cannot recall either part... (Below threshold)

I cannot recall either party being "satisfied with the primary field" when they didn't have an incumbent running for reelection. Everyone wishes for more choices, hoping for that "perfect candidate" who believes exactly as they do on issues, has no baggage, and can win in a landslide. Republicans weren't "satisfied" with their field before the 1980 primaries, and Democrats weren't happy with their 1992 choices, either. Both managed to get over it.

~~~~~~

rick kennerly ~ Mark Twain said, "'Tis better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt." The Soviet Union didn't actually fall until after Reagan was out of office - even the Berlin Wall came down under Bush the Elder, whose Administration proposed certain cuts in the military (a/k/a 'the peace dividend') to avert more drastic cuts brewing in the Democratic Congress. The Clinton Administration cut the military further.

Reagan's 1968 "campaign" was symbolic, a rallying point for conservatives with the intent of forcing Nixon to choose a conservative running mate. Reagan didn't even begin his "run" until Nixon already had the nomination effectively locked up. He next entered a nomination race in 1976, after his second term as Governor. So it is not accurate to say he "ran for president for about 12 years."

The Soviet Union didn't ... (Below threshold)

The Soviet Union didn't actually fall until after Reagan was out of office - even the Berlin Wall came down under Bush the Elder, whose Administration proposed certain cuts in the military (a/k/a 'the peace dividend') to avert more drastic cuts brewing in the Democratic Congress.

Cut in the military designed to start cashing in on the expected peace dividend started under Reagan, who switch $250 Billion of military spending in his last budget to nuclear arsenal work and star wars.

Try Google Scholar "reagan history "peace dividend"

Hey rick, how about you lin... (Below threshold)
Veeshir:

Hey rick, how about you link to what you're quoting?
It's your job to prove what you say.

As for this
who switch $250 Billion of military spending in his last budget to nuclear arsenal work and star wars.
Ummm, you realize that his missile defense plan and his nukular arsenal work are military spending? You might have figured that out because of the words "arsenal" and "wars" (both of course relate to the military) that you wrote.

And "star wars" (missile defense) is one of the reasons that we beat the USSR, they couldn't afford the military expenditures it would take to counter that but they had to try.

If you want me to leave you alone, make sure your blatherings are very long, that's why I usually just ignore, you're not worth the time.

And "star wars" (missile... (Below threshold)

And "star wars" (missile defense) is one of the reasons that we beat the USSR, they couldn't afford the military expenditures it would take to counter that but they had to try.

But money shifted from the regular military crippled the regular services quite a bit in order to plus up the nukes.

Reagan got lucky we didn't have to deal with any major outbreaks in the waning years of the Reagan era. Draw down in the Navy began in 1989.

But money shift... (Below threshold)
Martin A. Knight:
But money shifted from the regular military crippled the regular services quite a bit in order to plus up the nukes.

Crippled? For real? Brigades, battalions, divisions, squadrons, fleets were cut to the extent that the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines were "crippled?"

Is this the community based reality again?

But then maybe you're a little confused as to the purpose of a military. It's not really to keep people in uniform, it exists to keep a nation defended.

Now if it is discovered that the best way to defend a nation against the biggest threat it faces is by spending 20 billion dollars (for example) on a particular weapon system instead of enlisting or commissioning another 100000 servicemen and women, it would be stupid to go with the latter.

That said, attributing any "peace dividend" activities to Reagan despite the fact that Reagan had left office before the fall of the USSR and the Berlin Wall ... damn.

Draw down in the Navy began in 1989.

Damn ...!

Reagan left office in January of 1989. And of course, two years later America was kicking Saddam out of Kuwait with the so-called "crippled" military Reagan left behind. Does that count as a major outbreak?

Where the heck did you learn all the crap you're spewing here? Are facts tangential to your belief system?

Baggi, you are talking in c... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Baggi, you are talking in circles. If you believe Hillary is the conservative in the race then you are deceived beyond belief. She is evil incarnate. Hell only knows what she has in store for America if elected; She certainly won't tell us. Just like they blindsided Americans with the homosexuals in the military issue. Not mentioned in the campaign but suddenly a number-one priority after election.

Clinton #1 blatantly lied when he campaigned on tax cuts, then reneged in two weeks after "trying harder than he had ever tried in his life" to cut taxes but simply couldn't do it.

You must have slept walked through the Clinton presidency if you think "everything turned out alright." Those two slimed the office in 100 different ways and are largely responsible for the present onslaught of the loony left. Do the words "perjury" and "impeachment" mean anything to you? How about 100's of illegally obtained FBI files on your political opponents? Trading military technology to the Chinese for campaign contributions?

Your comment must be a lame attempt at satire.

Reagan left office in Ja... (Below threshold)

Reagan left office in January of 1989. And of course, two years later America was kicking Saddam out of Kuwait with the so-called "crippled"

What other idiot other than Saddam would give us over six months to transport and stockpile troops and material on his border before we attacked?

Korea or an invasion of Taiwan would have been a completely different story.

Reagan's emphasis on nuclear and SDI at the expense of the regular military was an error in judgment that he didn't get called on.

Besides, who would have thought that once the bear retired to his den all these snakes would have slithered out?

But money shifted from t... (Below threshold)
Veeshir:

But money shifted from the regular military crippled the regular services quite a bit in order to plus up the nukes.

Reagan got lucky we didn't have to deal with any major outbreaks in the waning years of the Reagan era. Draw down in the Navy began in 1989.

That's just silly. We never had parity with the USSR in terms of conventional forces, we usually had much better stuff (especially toward the end of the Cold War) but we also usually had much less stuff.
We needed nukular parity and that made their conventional forces not so useful. That's just the way it was. So in other words, they had to counter our tech and nukular edge, Ronnie Raygun was fighting the war in a different way, he won the war without fighting a battle, that wasn't luck, that was balls and brains and Sun Tzu would have been impressed.

The USSR never seriously threatened us during that time because they knew, as did the whole world, that Ronnie Raygun would respond. They attempted to win by getting the lefties in Europe to agitate on their side. It's kind of funny when you think about it, Germany was divided and under a nuclear cloud. So Ronnie Raygun decides to outspend the Russians and drive them under. The Germans side with Russia over nukes on their land and yet, that very issue is one of the major, contributing factor to the nuclear cloud being raised and their country being united for the first time in 40+ years.

So parity in conventional forces is nothing, we had a bunch of Aircraft Carrier groups, nukular subs and a whole mess of ICBMs, that was our deterrent.

Oh, and, while I would like to see a link from you proving your point about the Navy cuts (I'm not disputing it, you just really should link to your facts, I'm not doing your work), what Martin said about Navy cuts in 1989, wrong president.

Sorry Rick ... You're just ... (Below threshold)
Martin A. Knight:

Sorry Rick ... You're just repeating the same counter-factual arguments and moving the goalposts while you're at it.

You have no cites, and you're confusing Presidents and timelines pretty badly and quite frankly I don't think you have anything approaching a firm grasp of military matters.

Heck ... why don't you start by defining "regular military"?

"are facts tangential to yo... (Below threshold)
bloodrage bob:

"are facts tangential to your belief system?"

heh. that's a good one; i shall of course shamelessly steal it. "community-based reality" was nice, too. christopher hitchens has a phrase for use in similar situations when dealing with brain-dead political dogmatists who think with their feelings: "surely you must have meant something more intelligent".

JeffBlogworthy wrote;... (Below threshold)
Baggi:

JeffBlogworthy wrote;

"If you believe Hillary is the conservative in the race then you are deceived beyond belief."

She's not the conservative in "the race". She's the conservative when compared to Rudy Giuliani.

Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney are the conservatives in the race. Rudy just happens to have an R next to his name.

Sophomoric, Rick.===... (Below threshold)
kim:

Sophomoric, Rick.
=================




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