Friday, February 08, 2008

Why conservatism?

(Maybe for Lent I should have given up *not* blogging... hmm....)

One of the big political stories over the last couple of weeks has been the response of conservative talk radio to the ascension of John McCain as the front runner and now presumptive Presidential nominee for the Republican Party. Almost across the board, the leading lights of conservative talk shows have come out against McCain, due to his deviations from conservatism on issues like tax cuts, immigration reform and free speech/campaign finance reform. The father of all conservative talkers, Rush Limbaugh, noted a few weeks ago that if McCain or Huckabee were the GOP nominee, "it's going to destroy the Republican Party." Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, and other conservatives made similar comments.

In almost every case, the general argument has been something along these lines: because of his stance on issue X, McCain isn't a real conservative, and therefore shouldn't be the nominee.

Regardless of whether or not McCain is a real conservative (and I tend to be sympathetic to Limbaugh et al. here), I think many of these critics are missing an important link in their argument: they need to explain why conservatism is the better position. We're twenty years removed from the presidency of Ronald Reagan and 10 years from Gingrich's speakership, and it's no longer sufficient to simply demonstrate that position X is not conservative, because it's not evident to many people (including Republicans) that the conservative position is the better one on any number of issues.

What Limbaugh et al. need to do is go back to the basics -- or do a more thorough job of going back to the basics -- and explain why conservative positions are the stronger positions. Speaking as someone who is generally conservative on political matters, I agree with these talkers that conservatism is the better political philosophy in our day and age, but I don't often hear an extended argument on talk radio demonstrating why conservatism is the better position. This simply needs to happen.

In the meantime, I'll vote for John McCain for president, even if he's not as conservative as I'd like.

Monday, February 04, 2008

What are you giving up for Lent?

I think I'm going to give up blogging...