The Fiscal Conservative “Go It Alone” Strategy Failed
From the diaries by Leon…
Let me begin with two brief qualifiers. First, I believe in fiscal conservatism. I am a 100% fiscally conservative believer in small government. I also happen to be 100% in favor of social conservatism and a strong national defense. So, in short, I am a Reagan conservative. The following diary is not a critique of fiscal conservatism but rather those fiscal conservatives who continually bash social conservatives while at the same time asking for their vote. Second, those aforementioned fiscal conservatives were not exactly loners. They simply wanted social conservatives to shut up and move to the back of the bus. Despite their rhetoric, they still very much need social conservatives to triumph at the ballot box.
Throughout 2010 and 2011, fiscal conservatives loudly proclaimed that the upcoming presidential election was their election. Jobs, the economy, and small government would be the issue. Now was not the time, we were told, for a divisive cultural war or social conservative issues so we needed to call a truce and work with like minded Democrats to get the economy going again. Now, less than 10 months away from the general election, we find ourselves hoping for the Sweet Meteor of Death to save us from our own potential nominees. Where did we go wrong? The fault lies with the Fiscal Conservative “Go It Alone” strategy.
The strategy first failed us in the area of leadership. Surprisingly, in the year tailored made – we were told – for fiscal conservatism, no fiscal conservative leader stepped forward to take up the mantle. Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie, etc. all shuck their heads and walked away. Now, all three of our nominees can legitimately be called “big government” conservatives with establishment ties. Way to go fiscal conservative leadership.
The strategy failed us again because it unnecessarily provoked a rivalry between fiscal and social conservatives. Mitch Daniels provoked the struggle and ended his own candidacy with his call for a truce on social issues. Others, here on RedState and elsewhere, have trumpeted that refrain. Many fiscal conservatives [although not all] mocked and dismissed Rick Perry due to his social conservative credentials and for his call to prayer in Houston. Articles abounded about how social conservatives were no longer a force in the Republican party. Even a few days ago we saw articles about how Rick Santorum’s social conservatism was a liability that he had to overcome. The rivalry was unnecessary. It weakened the field. And it helped pave the way for Romney.
Fiscal conservatives need to understand that without social conservatism they are doomed to irrelevancy. We need unity and not division.
The left does not segregate itself into fiscal liberals, social liberals, and weak national defense liberals. They are simply liberals and each leg of their stool feeds into and feeds off of the others. Their ultimate goal is to reduce us to absolute despotism under the federal government. Fiscal liberals want a well-funded government to serve as our nanny in the same way Louis XIV considered himself the father of the French. They fund federal programs including socially liberal ones in an attempt to create that dependency. The focus on domestic programs, as well as their own flawed liberal worldview, leads to less spending on defense. Yet, we erroneously divide ourselves in the face of their unity in an attempt to break their coalition. We think if we ignore abortion then we can reach an agreement on more fiscally responsible spending. But, it does not work that way. The Left is no longer content with abortion. They want publicly funded abortions. [More on why in a later post.] The fiscal liberals are more than happy to oblige because it increases the power of the government over the individual by demeaning the individual. Abortion is about the collective not the individual child or even the mother.
Fiscal issues are social issues. There is no division. The character qualities that lead to personal responsibility, thrift, and self-dependence are social conservative values. Despotism comes when social liberalism triumphs and the people become less than God created them to be. In a society that honors and has reverence for God, the sanctity of marriage, the preciousness of life created in the image of God, and the inherent dignity of man, fiscal responsibility and independence from government is not a problem. The decadence of the Great Society flowed from the union of fiscal liberalism and social liberalism.
We need unity amongst conservatives. We need a Reagan conservative who embraces all three legs of conservatism. We need someone who can articulate a conservative (fiscal, social, and strong national defense) worldview. Any leg that tries to stand alone will cause the fall of the movement. Romney, the big government candidate, has already based his candidacy on the fiscal strategy with his focus on jobs and the economy. It will fail. He is too flawed a messenger for an already flawed message.