Our Movement: A Time For Renewal
There's been much talk of renewal within the Republican party. At the same time, perhaps as a term of art in many cases, we mostly call ourselves the conservative movement out here. It serves, though how accurate it is is another matter.
If a leading Right-side blogger like Instapundit aka Glenn Reynolds doesn't mind being called conservative, when he's actually a Libertarian, that's fine with me. However, with the rise of Libertarianism we're seeing today, perhaps it's time we at least re-assess what we truly stand for on the Right. And with that, it might serve to evaluate how well represented we are by some of today's self-professed conservative leadership, too.
I've no arrows to sling, no bridges I want burned, or alliances to drop. Most of us are often in common cause. But when a fine man like Newt Gingrich is touted as a conservative leader, while calling for a so-called principled bi-partisanship with a Democrat Party that has shifted so far Left, he is either using a political ploy, or has had his head in the sand. My fear is that such leadership may only result in more Republican Progressivism in the end. Add his positions on AGW and Dede Scozzafava to that and perhaps you can appreciate why I'm left scratching my head in that particular case.
I had the opportunity to listen to another outstanding conservative leader I admire, Dick Armey, the other night. In a perhaps telling and humorous pause in his speech, he said something to the effect of, there's a welcomed idealism in the Tea Party movement, while some of the older hands are perhaps jaded, or have become cynical due to their time in the trenches. That's perfectly understandable, and I mean the honorable man no disrespect by pointing it out; however, it does cause me to wonder if it isn't time for some evolution, not revolution, to take place. Unfortunately, I've been unable to separate the remark from the decision of Freedom Works to give John McCain a pass.
I've no desire to diminish John McCain's service to America, but we all know he will be the first Progressive Republican to round-up a crew of Senators and dash off to the opposition should conservatives ever try to make their mark if they prevail in 2010 and 2012. He's over 70 and he's been in DC for what, 30 years? Just how long is long enough when one happens to be a part of the old boy network? I just can't find the principle in his drawing a pass. I'm sorry, but something does not compute. And it causes me to fear that too much of our conservative leadership is more tied to the Republican establishment, than the movement they would claim to represent. And it pains me to have to say it, make no mistake.
Movements are notoriously idealistic, only prudently breaking down into pragmatic politics when they've at least neared their goals. Sadly, we are further removed from those today than we were 20 years ago. That is a fact. It's my belief that a movement must shoot for the stars, while likely settling for the forward moving discovery of a once distant moon when it assesses its results at journey's end. And I fear that a movement that only shoots for the moon will result in our movement falling back to Earth, to discover we've empowered the same old Republican Progressivism we've experienced now for two full decades.
Then, of course, there are some other leadership issues Michelle Malkin diplomatically pointed out the other day. I've no desire to re-visit them in detail. I want this to be as positive and forward moving a statement as I can make it be. I'm not angry at anyone, have no fingers to point, and no accusations to make. But I am serious in my belief that time and generational changes are impacting what has been our movement since Goldwater and Reagan and it may be close to, if not, time to respond to them.
Evidently some mostly young Ron Paul supporters were booed at CPAC. What a shame that was. I'd much prefer a younger generation starting out as libertarians and perhaps shifting slightly Right as they mature, than see every young politically active American begin as a liberal, as is too often the case. We need to embrace these people, not turn them away, as it seems Mike Huckabee would prefer. We can ill afford any politics of division on the Right given the crucial times we're in.
The only real ground up Right-side movement I see in America today is the Tea Party movement. It's my hope that, eventually, through inclusion, not confrontation with whatever it is we are, it can give us the new blood, enthusiasm and energy we are going to need for the significant challenges that lie ahead. And that's the movement I intend to start focusing more of my blogging energy upon. My sense is, it needs every seasoned political hand, or voice, it can get right now – not to co-opt it, but to help grow it as best we can until it coalesces into whatever, if anything, it may become.
Unfortunately, if all it becomes is a large number of people turning out to vote for the same old Republican Party, America will simply continue the long, slow slide to the Left we've experienced for far too long already.
It's my belief that the Tea Party movement, not the conservative establishment that hosted CPAC, is most likely our last best hope for an America that has for too long continued to slide Left under both Democrats and Republicans. And it's through the Tea Party movement I believe we can re-take the Republican party. I am by no means buying into any third party ideas.
Call it whatever you want, the vision I have for a renewed Right-side movement is one that finds a way to incorporate the values of the social conservative, while respecting the libertarian ideal of separation of church and state. It's a movement that can manage to embrace the need for military strength most appreciated by the hawk and the neo-conservative, while understanding the fear of military adventurism of the Ron Paul crowd. And it's one that appreciates the need for fiscal restraint on the part of government above all else.
I realize that narrative for the Right is already playing out. So, writing it here may be redundant. But it's worth re-stating now and then. I want as big a tent as we can practically achieve. But we can not get there without the right leadership. And I'm no longer convinced the best movement leadership is to be found in DC. Ultimately, I hope a genuine conservative Republican will emerge for 2012 to head this all up politically. Until then, much of my focus will be on movement politics.
As a blogger, I've always tried to be more a voice of the people, as opposed to the political or media establishment. That, combined with my sense that the only real ground up Right-side political movement in America today is the Tea Party crowd, dictates that within that sometimes sordid lot I have to take my stand. Something tells me I may fit right in. heh!
Seriously, if the GOP – and our movement is to be renewed as I believe both need to be, I've come to believe it's the Tea Party movement, not the DC conservative establishment, that is most likely our last best hope of achieving that noble end in the cause of political freedom in America. It's my hope that I will always feel free to do what my heart and mind compel me to in that regard.