When conservatives go to the polls in November, we won’t just be holding our noses when we pull the lever for the Republican. We’ll be holding our breath, squeezing our eyes shut and covering our ears.
There has been no shortage of words written on the distaste “good conservatives” – as we like to call ourselves – have for the current crop of Republican presidential wannabes. McCain votes against tax cuts and free speech; Rudy’s against gun rights and for gay unions; Huckabee wants to use government to make people feel better; and Thompson would probably use his first 100 days to install a hammock on the White House front porch. Romney not only looks like John Kerry and flip-flops like John Kerry, but has the unfortunate quality of, in fact, being from Massachusetts.
And though this post comes close to violating the only rule we have at First Friday Collective – no fratricide -, the reason we started this whole thing in the first place was because the leaders Republican Party had lost their conservative principles. As young conservatives and the inheritors of the mantle, we have an obligation to correct the course when we see the ship steering headlong in the wrong direction.
Instead of the conservative movement finding a viable candidate, we have a hodgepodge of men vying for the movement’s support who would likely stick out at an ATR Wednesday Meeting or even an AFF Happy Hour (“Who brought the squish?”). Partially we must blame ourselves for not thinking about who would replace Bush sooner. But is there really no one we could rally behind, who we can positively say that whatever happened in the next four years, he would be a champion for the taxpayer, American exceptionalism and traditional conservative principles?
There is also the group that feels it must get worse before it gets better. Four years of President Hillary or President Obama would focus the mind and we would have a 1980-like resurgence, they say. That might be a welcome strategy if there weren’t a world full of Islamic extremists planning to kill us and destroy our way of life. Do we really need to endure another 9-11 for conservatives to get it together?
It may all be moot at this point. Even if we could put together someone with Newt’s ideas, Tom Coburn’s resolve, Reagan’s charm, and Rick Perry’s hair, it’s probably too late for him anyway.
The great conservative hope isn’t coming. If one of these guys is going to be ‘our guy’, then we’re going to need to work to make sure they don’t get too far off keel. Luckily for us, we’ve had plenty of practice with the current President.