Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Conservative Fratricide

this was to be merely a link to an excellent article by an Conservative Independent that has left the Republican Party behind and thinks it is doomed to destruction. Link Here

As you may have noticed, evidenced by Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama, over the past few weeks,* the Republican Party has been breaking apart under its own weight, due in part to fiscal mismanagement, incompetence from a Republican Administration, an ill conceived and ill managed war, misanthropic behavior towards those outside the fold and the ill conceived VP nomination of Sarah Palin. This has caused the exodus of many PBRs (pre-Bush Republicans), Conservatives with conscience, Libertarians, Independents, Moderates and Religious Folk (those that care about issues broader than abortion** and gay marriage). While McCain could win in the case of unpolled racism or an October Surprise (like the Bosox coming from 7 down in the 8th in game 5), the party is still in pieces.

The Democratic Party, through no effort of its own, beyond nominating someone appealing has been the beneficiary. The victims have been the Republicans and Conservatives that dare speak against the President, the Party line or the potential VP, some of whom are shining lights of the movement or true believers. Many have left of their own accord, while others are unceremoniously dumped, metaphorically fragged by teammates, or called RINOS (Republicans In Name Only). 

What many ultra-conservatives do not understand is that they are the cause for the dismantling of their movement. They supported Bush's incompetence, DeLay's crookedness, along with issues like torture, big government for their benefit and borrowing and spending-drawing a line in sand that many conservatives of good conscience (especially Religious ones) had no choice but to cross. They took a movement and turned it into a racket

It is not a coincidence that many smart conservatives are questioning their party, considering a vote for a Third Party or a Democrat. It is not a coincidence that Right Leaning newspapers are lining up to endorse Obama and Reagan/ Bush I era Republicans are leaning towards Obama or away from McCain/ Palin. It is not a coincidence that many reliably Republican strongholds are breaking blue and many Evangelical church members are speaking up about once secret party affiliations. This is an indictment of the Conservative movement and the Republican party, not an endorsement of Democrats and Liberalism.

In fact, I think the best thing that can happen to the Republican Party for the sake of America is to lose big. Such a loss can be cleansing.

Sadly, many in the Christian Right are among the last vestiges, valuing personality and profession of belief over competence and intelligence, assigning their names to non-Christian attitudes on torture, race, hospitality to the other, war and truth speaking (among others). They support a candidate for VP that would not qualify to lead many of their churches (not just because she is a woman). 
Does this make the Democratic Party good? No. It makes it the only option in town for many since the Republicans started this friendly fire campaign and closing the tent.*** The Democratic Party is doing nothing besides opening its arms to people it might disagree with if the conversation ever got too deep. It is growing, not because of new ideas, but because the Republican Party is seen as bankrupt, the party of DeLay, Foley, Cheney, Bush and all things bad during the previous 8 years. 

Instead of blaming Democrats and Liberals, closing ranks ever more narrowly, trying to find any dirt possible on Obama,**** and shooting their wounded (killing the messenger is never a good idea), each Conservative/ Republican should look inside themselves, seek guidance from the smart conservatives with a conscience and take time to clean their own house instead of pointing out how dirty the Democratic House is (I think there is a Scripture about this). 

They should stop reading, watching or listening to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity (seriously the guy is a joke), Hugh Hewitt, Bill Kristol, the guys at Townhall and Fox News. They should not start listening to Rachel Maddow and Kieth Olbermann. They should find conservative voices that are questioning assumptions, listen to them and ask similar questions (see list below).

Some of the bad Conservatives and Republicans- those that must be either misguided, stupid, or not following God:

Peggy Noonan,George Will, Christopher Hitchens, The Chicago Tribune and 25 other papers that endorsed Bush (and counting), Christopher Buckley, Colin Powell, Rod Dreher, Kathleen Parker, K Lo, Andrew Sullivan, Ross Douthat, Reihan Salam, Daniel Larison, David Brooks, some of the guys at Culture 11, even Charles Krauthammer and an Eisenhower. not all these support Obama, but they all question the direction of the Republican Party, McCain and/or Palin.

For a list of prominent Republicans supporting Obama, click here. While much of this support for Obama is due to his talent, vision and temperament, if there was a credible Republican alternative (and party) this would not be the case. Note that much of Powell's decision to support Obama revolved around his feelings regarding the Republican lurch to the right (as it dies).

Some thoughts on the Civil War brewing in Conservatism and the Republican Party: 
The Next Right on what the Right needs to do
the excellent blog posting that got this going
a previous article on the historic underpinnings of modern conservatism's fall. 
Andrew Sullivan, Rod Dreher and Ross Douthat are obsessed with this subject. Read any of their blogs.

* the breakup actually began in the aftermath of September 11, followed closely by the Iraq War, Mission Accomplished, the lack of WMDS, no Osama, vilification of John Kerry's Vietnam record, Katrina, DeLay/ Foley, financial mismanagement, Obama coming on the scene, no good Republicans in the primary, the McCain campaign, the financial meltdown and Sarah Palin. It will continue in the aftermath of the Nov 4 loss of McCain and subsequent blame shifting and scapegoating.

**many of whom that are still very Pro-Life.

***full disclosure- I registered as a Democrat at 18, became and Independent in 1994 (after working on a Republican presidential campaign). I became a Democrat this year to vote in the primaries. I will become unaffiliated once again (Independent) after the election. I have voted for Republicans as often as Democrats (if not more) in state and national elections. I have even voted for 3rd parties on occasion. I am not a Liberal (though, if I were, I would proudly wear the label- as I would if I were a Conservative. I find nothing wrong with principled conservatives and liberals).

 ****I heard 1 on the radio complaining yesterday about Obama's 2-faced support of both World Series participants as reason to vote against him.

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