Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Politics as usual? I hope not.

I try to avoid political discourse on this blog (or at least party specific discourse), however I think that most people would not be surprised to know that I'm a pretty conservative fellow. I follow a lot of the blogs, I listen to Rush and Mark Levin, I own most of William F. Buckley, Jr's writings, and I've been a National Review subscriber since I was in my teens.

Now having said all this, let me tell you what is bothering me. Most conservatives (which are mostly Republicans) seem to be convinced that the way to win the November election is to spend most of their time and energy on describing what horrible people their opponents are. In the past few weeks, I've received gobs of e-mails talking about Barack Obama: He's a Muslim, he's not a real Christian, he's a follower of Saul Alinsky, he's a pro-abort, he eats live kittens for breakfast (OK, I made the last one up). I've further received loads of e-mails about Hillary Clinton: She's corrupt, her husband's a serial adulterer (what a surprise), she's a closet communist, she eats live puppies for breakfast (especially since Barack has the kittens). Much the same stuff is being said in some quarters even about John McCain. All of this stuff might be true or it might not. As I see it, the problem is that I don't care if any of it is true and I don't think the majority of the American people do either.

I'll go one step further. I believe that if conservatives think that they can win seats in the House and Senate, or even the White House by simply highlighting their opponents' inadequacies or outright dangerous or stupid views, then conservatives will be huge losers and they will deserve to be.

This country faces tremendous challenges and these challenges will require solutions that are founded in clear, understandable, common-sense policies that are consistent with the foundational principles of our nation. Most Americans can understand that and that, dear reader, is what will win or lose elections. It's easy to call any candidate a name and, even if the name is accurate, nobody cares. What is going to make a difference in 2008 is a calm, measured discussion of the issues that face our nation as we come to the close of the first decade of this new millennium.

I believe that the reason the Republican party is in shambles is because they have gotten fat and lazy, particularly regarding the principles that brought the party to the forefront in the mid-1990s. The party won with a "Contract with America" that promised term limits, fiscal responsibility, lower taxation, and such. In each one of these areas, save taxation, Republicans took their eyes off the ball, becoming enamored with the "inside the beltway" life. It wasn't just that they spent like drunken sailors, it was that they seemed cavalierly out of touch with the needs and problems of the American people, responding only, "But your taxes are lower!!"

I'm not saying raise taxes, God knows I'm not saying that. But what I am saying is: Let's have a conversation about issues and give poor Jeremiah Wright a rest. After all, that guy and those who follow him deserve our pity and prayers, not our rage. Let's talk about the sanctity of human life from conception until natural death. Let's really talk about the problem of what to do with our borders and with the millions of people that have come here illegally. Let's talk about the defense of our nation against Islamic terrorism. Let's talk about our economic standing vis a vis the global economy. Let's talk about how we will solve any one of these or any other issue. But, for God's sake, let's just once see a conservative who will spend his time articulating a positive vision for America, one that secures and holds dear the right of all Americans to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." I believe that Americans will support a positive issues-driven campaign in which a candidate clearly states what he or she is FOR. I believe that most Americans (and I) will tend to reject, or at most be lackluster toward a campaign that says, "Vote for me because my opponent is a schmuck."

OK, I've said my piece. Now I will go back to writing about the stuff that interests me. Thanks for putting up with my rant and I'll try not to do it again. At least for the next four years...

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