Lineholder put together a beautiful diary reminding us all of the both the significance and the insignificance of our recent battles. She reminded us that the fight will be tedious and difficult and unrewarding at times, but that we are optimistic by nature and our optimism has borne fruit again and again. That we have reason on our side and should use it to defend conservatism. She also reminded us that we are creative beings and that our position in the scheme of things requires us to be creative to win. So I respond to one of the most thoughtful, considerate, and positive posters on RedState with reflection on each of her points.
I invite others to add their own stories or thoughts of tenacity, practicality, optimism, and creativity in conservatism.
In 1992 I was able to gather 3 or 4 friends ad hoc to form the Muskingum College Young Republicans and attend a campaign speech by Dan Qualye at the Zanesville mall. We made a barely legible sign that read, “Everybody needs a little Bush.” Despite the frat boy signage, and immaturity beyond my years I found my 21 year old self quite dissatisfied to learn that with what passed for a campaign rally was even more rude, crude, and uninformative than my sign. I was supposed to be immature, and had no problem meeting expectations, but I expected more from the candidate for the Vice Presidency of the United States of America than 20 minutes of negative one-liners about the opposing candidate. Yet here I am today, still fighting the good the good fight. Why?
Because sometimes George W. Bush will steal the show by answering Jesus Christ is the philosopher or thinker who most shaped his beliefs, sometimes God Bless America will be spelled out on every sign post in America and you can’t drive more than a block without seeing the stars and stripes waving proudly from a front porch, sometimes Sarah Palin will rejuvenate the conservative movement with the word “lipstick,” sometimes if you stay up till 4:00 in the morning you see a staggering sweep of conservatives into office, and sometimes Marco Rubio gives hope that another great communicator is in our midst.
What could be more optimistic than George Will responding to what must have been an absolute deluge of contempt for his “Tea-Partiers support Obama” piece – than an homage to Libertarianism less than a week later. Balm? I guess it depends on how much you disdain libertarianism in your conservatism and Will’s apparent mea-culpa to the latter by calling them the former. I guess the only thing that could be more optimistic is that the latest polls that indicate the anti-Romney conservative vote appears to be well over 60%.
Whether George Will can ease the tensions dividing Republicans in the last few weeks or not, his piece brings to the fore the reality of our time. Do not count on anything to be permanent. Change often seems the natural enemy of conservatism doesn’t it? Morals, language, borders, and culture – we want to protect them from the change of progressivism. But relativism is not honest change no matter how much lipstick you put on it. It is not honest or positive change to eliminate God from our lives – it is positive change to read the bible on your ipad, or Xoom, or kindle. Conservatism cannot be squished to one dimension by sloganeering anymore than Paul Krugman can save Keynesian economics by re-arranging the deck chairs for the 1000th time.
Honest change is renewal, and it is the beating heart of conservatism.
Conservatism seeks nothing but to remove all obstacles to righteous growth, change, and renewal. To keep power as local as possible is to keep it as fresh and responsive and adaptive as possible. To allow the market to work is to move from cotton gin, to assembly line, to the internal combustion engine, to the Wright brothers, to a man on the moon (OK government did that, but only because of competition!), to a geek starting in his garage competing with a geek who couldn’t come up with anything better than “Apple,” only to be outdone by a geek in his dorm room competing with a geek who couldn’t come up with anything better than “Google,” and everything in between. To keep the people’s money with the people, to allow charity to help the right people at the right time is more progressive than progressivism. To keep a strong military that can address a changing class of enemies and protect and preserve the greatest engine for true change the world has ever known is conservatism. Progressives hate honest change and would leave it undefended as a means to encourage a world of uniform mediocrity.
And this leads me to creativity. Sparked by the lefts dogmatic refusal to accept an honest debate on Fox news in 2008. Sparked by George Will’s reminder that the world has changed and so has politics. Sparked by the inspiration of those who held the line?
In 2012, it is time for a new debate format. Do the liberal networks hold some permanent monopoly on presidential debates? Only if we let them. The candidates get to ask each other questions using the full spectrum of multimedia available. Don’t just ask Obama what he would do if the debt ceiling weren’t raised – show him the video of himself threatening seniors and ask him how he justified the threat in the face of options galore to make sure seniors got paid. Ask him if he thought house R’s were extremist but play the video of his speech just a few years prior – explaining his no vote to raise the debt ceiling. Ask him about his theory on “paying your fair share” but make him sit through his ties to Jeff Immelt and the fact that GE paid zero taxes last year before answering. The respondent must answer the pre-prepared multimedia question on the spot - but will also have time for researched multimedia rebuttal during the second half of the debate.
Simply put, the truth is always the friend of conservatism and the enemy of liberalism. Take debates out of the hands of the network anchors who tell lies about conservatives and conservatism for a living. It’s a simple matter of our candidates refusing any debates unless and until the Democrat agrees to such a progressive, renewing, and honest multimedia debate. Will they be stuck in their stodgy old network TV ways – or will they truly embrace honest change. Forcing them into the 21st century would simply be a matter of …. Holding the line.
God bless you and your family lineholder, and I hope to see you back here real soon.