I no longer feel so alone
Sure, the GOP Establishment and many erstwhile “conservative” opinion-leaders are pushing Romney down our throats this election season (because what says “conservative alternative to Obama” better than a pro-government health care, pro-cap and trade, pro-TARP former Massachusetts governor / professional campaigner?) — and sure, many “TEA Party leaders” have come out in support of Gingrich (because, in addition to being pro-TARP, pro-cap and trade, and pro-ethanol subsidies, what says “TEA Party conservative” better than a guy who views FDR as the embodiment of a great national leader?) — but out here on the fringes there are still a few of us who view this election as more than just a horse race to determine which party gets to manage the comfortable decline of the US.
And so it heartens me to see people like Mark Levin, and now Michelle Malkin, remaining true to the kind of movement conservatism we absolutely must help gain intellectual and ideological ascendancy should we wish to begin beating back the tide of democratic socialism that’s in the final stages of being institutionalized here in the US.
I have written repeatedly that, if it comes down to Newt Gingrich as the GOP’s presidential nominee, I could vote for him: Gingrich has a tendency to be too smart by half, and he has long attempted to game the momentary political ethos for his own ends; but such peculiarities of character don’t entirely negate (for me: others whom I respect differ) what he was able to do in bringing the GOP back to power in the House; in affecting actual welfare reforms; and in balancing the budget (using the standard practices at the time). If in fact Gingrich is a kind of slave to the ethos, he no doubt recognizes the strong conservative current running through the electorate at this historical moment and would serve it, or at least, agree to lord over it. I am under no illusions about Gingrich’s attempts to sell himself as a DC outsider; but yet I am also aware of his particular gifts, which when used in defense and advancement of conservatism may not prove inconsiderable.
Romney, on the other hand, has learned to mouth conservative talking points without fully embracing them (or even, it seems to me, fully understanding them: take for instance his defense of his time at Bain Capital, where Romney used a leftist argument — capitalism as justified by its altruism, whereby it exists and is moral because it creates jobs — to justify private equity practices). Further, he has not backed down with respect to the inherent workability and righteousness of the individual mandate and a top-down government run health care apparatus — a fact made even more troublesome by “slips” from some of his GOP advisers meant to keep him plausibly connected with centrist moderates (he believes), even as he tries to position himself as the real Reaganite alternative to the other candidates.
Ron Paul’s foreign policy makes him an outlier; and his newsletter, like it or not, makes him an unelectable liability as a national candidate.
Which is why many of us have gravitated toward Rick Santorum, who has provided a steady conservative message throughout his campaign — and has on his record a rejection of the individual mandate (regardless of the Romney camp’s attempts, through the Washington Examiner and others, to suggest otherwise), a rejection of TARP, a rejection of cap and trade, and a demonstrable history of promoting private solutions to any number of social and economic problems.
Early on in the debate season I Tweeted that we should be taking a closer look at Santorum — this despite my reputation for being something of an enemy to social conservatism (a charge I believe unfounded, incidentally). For that Tweet I received some instant scorn from many of the newer new media players in the GOP opinion-leader universe.
And yet my instincts have proven right I think — even as the power and media elite continue to try to clear the field for Romney by attacking Gingrich and entirely dismissing (and ignoring) Santorum. The only inevitability from which I predict will be a populist conservative backlash against the GOP of the kind they are not adequately anticipating.
[Santorum] voted against cap and trade in 2003, voted yes to drilling in ANWR, and unlike Romney and Gingrich, Santorum has never dabbled with eco-radicals like John Holdren, Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi. He hasn’t written any “Contracts with the Earth.”
Santorum is strong on border security, national security, and defense. Mitt the Flip-Flopper and Open Borders-Pandering Newt have been far less trustworthy on immigration enforcement.
Santorum is an eloquent spokesperson for the culture of life. He has been savaged and ridiculed by leftist elites for upholding traditional family values — not just in word, but in deed.
Most commendably, he refused to join Gingrich and Perry in indulging in the contemptible Occupier rhetoric against Romney. Character and honor matter. Santorum has it.
Of course, Santorum is not perfect. As I’ve said all along, every election cycle is a Pageant of the Imperfects. He lost his Senate re-election bid in 2006, an abysmal year for conservatives. He was a go-along, get-along Big Government Republican in the Bush era. He supported No Child Left Behind, the prescription drug benefit entitlement, steel tariffs, and earmarks and outraged us movement conservatives by endorsing RINO Arlen Specter over stalwart conservative Pat Toomey.
On these latter issues I’m not much bothered; in fact, I see a certain irony in the fact that Santorum is attacked as insufficiently conservative for votes in support of the GOP platform under Bush by the very people who gave us George Bush, and who now want to give us Romney.
Has Santorum voted incorrectly on a number of Party issues? Absolutely. But his overarching worldview is conservative — and his answer in the last debate about the primacy of the Declaration of Independents and its controlling proclamations about the relationship between the individual and government was clearly articulated and forcefully delivered, not by someone who has learned to mouth certain platitudes but by someone who believes deeply in the foundational assertions responsible for American exceptionalism.
And TEA Party voters are beginning to figure this out, too — or at least, those in Florida. TEA Party “leadership” or “spokespeople” are both oxymorons. And to the extent such political “leadership” or the mantle of “spokesperson” has been coopted by establishment intrusion or coercion, proclamations issued by titular TEA Party organizations are perhaps inherently dubious anyway. In the end, it is the individual voter who matters — and as I’ve been saying, no one in “unelectable” unless those who have votes refuse to cast a vote for him and her.
Don’t let the special pleaders tell you otherwise.
(thanks to Bob Reed)