So Liz Mair over at GOPProgress.com is shooting it out with Martin Knight at RedState over the blame game for the loss of Congress. The comments on Martin’s piece are full of chatter about two things – a glaring whole in his argument and the decision by fiscal conservatives to withhold their vote from sell outs.
Knight argues that the fiscal conservatives and moderates have begun calling the so-cons names, but the so-cons would never, ever do that sort of thing.
Take a look through all these websites and I can guarantee you that you would search in vain for even one positive mention made of traditional conservative Republicans. The attitude towards decent people like Jon Kyl, Todd Tiarht, Jeb Hensarling, etc. ranges strictly from hatred to contempt.
Perhaps it is possible that the fiscally conservative wing of the party got a bit sick of being called RINOs all the time. It’s entirely possible that we get sick to death of being told we’re “squishy” for opposing a constitutional amendment to ban abortion – despite the fact that is the more ‘conservative’ position.
I take pride in the fact that I oppose a constitutional ban on abortion. I find any attempt by ‘Republicans’ to argue for a ban to be complete hypocrisy. The Republican Party is the party of small government, and local control. Yet the social conservatives look to the Fed because they keep losing the dispute at the local level.
That’s the problem I have with the so-con wing of the party. The fiscal conservatives may withhold a vote for a Republican who refuses to support fiscal discipline. That may cost us control of congress. But over the long term, I find that holding true to your beliefs is far less damaging to the nation as a whole than being a total sell out.
Look at the Schiavo situation. That case was decided by the state court. As believers in local control and small federal government, that should have been the end of the Republican Party’s involvement. However, the social conservatives lost, so they abandoned the principles of the party to further their single issue.
They demanded Republicans overturn a state court ruling, and throw the massive power of the federal government at the issue. They demanded a Presidential veto and recalled Congress to meet in emergency session to intervene in a case they should never have waded into.
They compromised their belief in the principles of the Party in pursuit of their social agenda. That is their prerogative. However, if they choose to do so, in my book at least, they lose all credibility in castigating others for selling out the party.
When fiscal conservatives stick to our guns and refuse to elect those who would vote for higher deficits while claiming to be in favor of balanced budgets; those who would pay for ever expanding social programs that benefit nobody by mortgaging our kids future; and those who had become so corrupted by the excess of Washington that they made excuses for pedophiles in order to keep their power, the finger of blame for the loss is pointed at us.
Fine, I say. Point that finger right at me. If my vote (or lack there of) for integrity, honesty, responsible government and fiscal discipline is what cost us the election, I take responsibility loudly and proudly.
The Republican Party was founded on the principles of fiscal conservatism, not social conservatism. The formation of a social/fiscal conservative coalition was a strategic choice that has worked well as long as the two wings respect each other and do not throw each other under the bus to meet our goals.
What has happened with the Republican Party over the last six years is exactly the sort of disparity that would threaten that balance. The administration catered more to social conservatism than to fiscal discipline. They created things like the Office of Faith Based Initiatives without a corresponding decrease in the existing social program infrastructure. They pursued tax cuts with a corresponding reduction in the growth of federal spending. They pursued anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage initiatives with no corresponding recognition of the fact that two dates brought them to the dance and both expected a kiss at the end of the night.
One reader who left Knight’s a comment said something that illustrates the flaw in logic evident in the post itself.
Say what you want about Fallwell and Robertson, but they fought hard for the GOP in the 80s and 90s and swung the vote our way and without them we will not win another elcetion (sic).
Nobody in the fiscal wing is arguing that point. What they are saying is they did not win the election on their own. They won because they teamed with a party that had its roots in small government and fiscal conservatism. Despite that, over nearly 30 years of relative GOP success, they have come to believe that they are solely responsible for the Party’s success. They have decided that the plant can live without its roots.
They are terribly, terribly mistaken.
What I suspected came to fruition. I voiced my concern that the fiscal conservatives, frustrated by no longer having a party that believed in their cause, would choose not to engage.
WaPo quotes a bunch of people fretting over the possibility that religious conservatives will stay home rather than returning the GOP to power. Honestly, that‚Äôs not my biggest fear. I‚Äôm more afraid that the religious conservatives are the only ones that will vote for us…
We‚Äôve given fiscal conservatives no reason to vote for the GOP. We‚Äôve given moderates no reason to vote for the GOP. Now Foley and the inept response of the leadership have taken away any reason a normal human would want to keep us in power. If all we care about is protecting our turf, and are willing to let a member of Congress prey on kids to do it, we deserve to lose.
Add to that the fact that somehow we overlooked a member of Congress printing bribery menus on Congressional note cards; Abramoff offering to buy Congressional offices at low, low bargain prices; and then staged a completely ineffectual response to any of it, and you‚Äôve removed almost any reason for anyone to support the GOP.
If the social conservatives turn out, but nobody else does – or worse, the rest turn out and vote Democrat – that will cost us Congress.
That is exactly what happened. Now, the rest of my prediction, as evidenced by Knight’s post, is beginning to come true.
It will also lead the GOP to do even more to alienate mainstream America by pandering to those that did show up – the religious zealots.
If the social conservatives believe that they can win on their own, I’m tempted to let them try. In the meantime, I will continue to support candidates that pursue responsible government and restrained spending – and oppose all others.