The case is made that only if Governor Romney is our candidate will the many disenchanted traditional liberals, resulting from the radical progressive take over of the Democratic Party, become members of a long-lasting conservative governing coalition that is necessary to solve our national financial problems.
There are not two political parties in America, there are three, conservatives, liberals, and progressives. Both liberals and progressives fall under the heading of Democrats but they are very different. We are familiar with liberals such as Truman, Kennedy, and Clinton (not Hillary). Liberals are characterized most simply as taking tax dollars and giving it to segments of the society to improve their lot. Conservatives are not against having these segments improve their lot they just want the economy to be free such that they can improve their own lot through individual effort. Liberals are not anti-capitalist nor are they socialist. They are Keynesian while we are free market capitalists. Truman purged the socialists and communists from government and entertainment after the second world war and liberals and conservatives joined forces to defeat communism during the cold war. Our country prospered when conservatives and liberals were fighting it out and our Tea Party didn’t show up until progressives gained power.
While conservatives can “get along” with liberals they can not with progressives. While progressives claim to have the same goals as liberals, namely improving the lot of society, they use very different tactics. They attempt to control the means of production through laws and regulations such that industry is forced to comply with their demands. Might note here that progressives are not socialists or communists although at various times in the past their movements have intertwined. Socialists and communists outlaw private property in favor of state ownership which does not seem to be an major objective of progressives at this time.
Two examples from a progressive will support these statements. “A liberal policy towards prescription drugs is one that would throw a lot of taxpayer cash at the pharmaceutical industry to get them to provide medicine to the poor; A progressive prescription drug policy would be one that centered around price regulations and bulk purchasing in order to force down the actual cost of medicine in America (much of which was originally developed with taxpayer R&D money).” And another from the same author “A liberal solution to some of our current problems with high energy costs would be to increase funding for programs like the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). A more “progressive” solution would be to increase LIHEAP but also crack down on price gouging and pass laws better-regulating the oil industry’s profiteering and market manipulation tactics.”
These examples were written seven years ago so they were not based on the current administration, but if we apply them we see that the administration is truly progressive and they brag about it. All of the czars, regulations, bailouts, ObamaCare, and Dodd-Frank are right out of the progressive playbook . Agenda 21 that this administration is implementing is socialism as would nationalizing the banking industry which they seriously considered.
Now that the definitions are over I will get back to why as a conservative activist in the Tea Party I support Gov. Romney. The percentage of the population willing to call themselves Democrats has been declining for many years. According to data from the American National Election Study, in 1964, 52 percent of Americans identified as either “weak” or “strong” Democrats and 25 percent as “weak” or “strong” Republicans; 23 percent were independents. In 2008, it was 34 percent Democrat, 26 percent Republican and 40 percent independent. Two facts interest me, independents have gained from 23% to 40% of the electorate today and all of the gain came from Democrats. Republicans have held steady. And another fact, according to a recent Gallup poll, 21 percent of those who considered themselves Democrats when Obama became president no longer do so. The Democratic party is being torn apart by the radical progressive wing that after many years of trying has finally taken over the party. Traditional liberals in the electorate are without a party.
If conservatives are smart and I hope we are, we can take advantage of this implosion and send the progressives back to obscurity where they belong. We do this by helping to elect a President that will offer the disenchanted liberals a safe harbor, a place to ride out the storm, an alternative to the destruction of the America that both we and most liberals have known and liked. It may be possible to win the presidency by offering a strict conservative campaigning with the banner of an immediate slashing of the government and balancing of the budget, ending entitlements as we know them, or as Gingrich says changing how Washington works, but that will in my opinion drive the liberals back into the arms of the progressives and continue to polarize our country. We can take this opportunity to “stick it to them” with an in-your-face conservative agenda but it will be a short lived victory if achieved with greater risk for progressives returning to power in the near future.
A safe harbor for disenchanted liberals does not mean repudiating conservative principles any more than what candidate Reagan did when he offered a safe harbor for Democrats after they were embarrassed by Carter. It means emphasizing what conservatives and many liberals can agree on, namely patriotism and a strong defense, a strong free economy, less intrusive government, support for those in need, strength not weakness in foreign policy, or in short following Reagan’s example. As the title of this blog implies I believe Gov. Romney is best suited for this task by having the economic credentials, being labeled a moderate by some, having been the Republican Governor of a Democratic state, and spending most of his life outside of Washington as did President Reagan. Romney has a less than stellar record as a conservative but remember that Reagan, a liberal Democrat turned Republican, as Governor of California raised taxes to balance the budget, passed a bill allowing abortions, and signed a no-fault divorce bill was not a perfect conservative prior to running for president. (It seems one way or another all candidates can be compared to Reagan.)
The remaining question is, is it worth giving up our opportunity to bring “other than Romney conservatism” to the country for the promise of saving it from progressives? How much conservatism could be brought to the country if we fail to get a 60 vote super majority in the Senate? Also it is not possible to balance the budget in a few years because of the current level of entitlements. Considering the budget numbers for 2012 proposed by the administration, social security, Medicare, Medicaid, the defense department, and interest payments will consume the entire budget if there is no borrowing, so shrinking the size of government will be a long journey requiring cooperation on entitlement reform. Considering the thrashing Republicans received during the debt ceiling debate every conservative agenda item will be met with strong opposition from the progressives in government and the media and might well result in a second one term president followed by a return of progressives.
Solving our economic problems is going to take years so a sustained conservative government is going to be required. Obviously I favor Romney conservatism at this time which has the greatest chance of removing the progressives from office now and forming a long lasting Reagan-like conservative coalition made up of conservative Republicans and disenchanted liberal Democrats. When Reagan left office in 1989 he had a 63% approval rating that helped maintain the country’s conservative leaning into the Bush years and continued with the first Republican take over of the house in modern times in 1994. In the past when the country turned against the progressives in large numbers they ran and hid waiting for another opportunity to destroy our country. Let’s speed them on their way and in the process create a coalition to return the country to economic prosperity and to where the reality of our debt will force rationale people to govern as conservatives.