Conservatives Struggle to Define Identity Amid Right Wing Extremists

When the Evangelical right hijacked took over the Tea Party movement, it was a dramatic step back for conservatives.

Christine O’Donnell and Sarah Palin are not helping further the ideals of small government and fiscal responsibility by making outrageous comments that are further out of touch with reality than Charlie Sheen.

That goes double for Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum who have said things that are so wildly ignorant and prejudiced that it borders on a crime for them to spout their tripe in public.

I’m serious.

Being a conservative, particularly as someone under 40, has become increasingly difficult thanks to the work of a few knuckle-dragging, red-state morons Republicans.

Rejecting evolution is like saying the Holocaust never happened. This is not the basis for intelligent conversation and dialogue in society.

Republicans are perceived as uneducated, bible-thumping, gun-toting, red-knecks.

When you watch some of the high profile Republicans speak, it’s not hard to understand why.

(Yes, the media is partially to blame because it makes a much better story to talk to the person screaming the loudest, most ignorant thing on the street. It’s just too easy for MSNBC)

Texas Governor and Republican Presidential hopeful Rick Perry held a seance  prayer service for the economy. That’s a punchline in a Daily Show joke, not sound fiscal policy.

This is not a diatribe against religion because there are plenty of intelligent, card-carrying conservatives and liberals who believe strongly in their faith.

Rightfully so. Religion shapes our sense of morality and decency. Moreover, a religious candidate is popular among the electorate, demonstrating strong moral fiber and discipline.

Orthodox Jews regularly vote Democrat and Republican alike as do proud Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and Hindus.

You can be intelligent and have a strong faith, but some Republicans have made that hard to believe.

For a new generation, one that is more socially tolerant of alternative lifestyles as well as significantly more educated, a candidate who can’t understand the science behind evolution or the dangers of pollution isn’t electable because he or she just looks stupid.

It’s exceedingly difficult for me to support a politician, even one who says all the right things about economic and foreign policy, if they say horrendously idiotic things about social issues.

Yesterday, I argued that people who vote based solely on social issues are missing the point.  That doesn’t change the fact that people don’t have faith in an elected official to make a logical decisions about government if they can’t seem to make logical decisions about other things.

The strategy for 2012 should be simple: Ignore social issues that have been the bread and butter of recent Republican elections because every Republican candidate (save John Hunstman, an intelligent and articulate forgettable candidate) seems unable to talk about them without adding ignorant commentary.

Polls are basically split on issues like abortion and gay marriage so it’s not necessarily that taking a pro-life or anti-gay marriage stand would be unpopular. I’m simply arguing that it may be unwise since the candidates seem unable to intelligently argue their positions. There’s a huge difference between being on the proper side of an issue and being able to articulate why in a coherent way. 

Since they don’t HAVE to stake a stand, they shouldn’t.

Republicans are going to vote and they’re going to vote in force even if you never mention guns or gays.

So just keep your mouth shut, even if you believe it.

As I have previously argued, social issues aren’t truly prescient to a person’s ability to properly legislate since most of those issues don’t have broad impacts like economic policy.

Ergo, there truly is no need to discuss them.

Remind people of the excessive spending, the lack of jobs, the broken promises (interestingly, all of the social platforms Candidate Obama ran on have fallen by the wayside) and a lack of understanding by the current administration.

That will be enough since 1 in 5 people doesn’t have a job and half the country doesn’t make enough money to qualify for income tax – a depressingly low threshold for a family of four.

The Libertarian position has broad appeal, particularly to a new generation: keep government away from me.

Asked about gay marriage? The answer should be that the government has no business regulating me. Don’t mention homosexuality or the Bible or anything. It doesn’t matter if you have the moral high ground or not, don’t bring it up because you’re going to alienate just as many voters as you’re going to galvanize.

Soon-to-be-former President Obama is a master at talking around the issue of gay marriage, presumably because his faith precludes him from supporting it but his base supports it.

A Republican candidate can do the same tap-dance with an anti-government message.

In a perfect world, we’d have an intelligent, conservative academic candidate who really does understand what it means to do what’s best as a legislator and can reasonably explain why  (Paging Paul Ryan).

Instead we’re stuck with a group of Republican hopefuls who were told they can get elected by pandering to the lowest common denominator.

That might get them elected, but unfortunately it does nothing to further the political dialogue in this country, just make it more divisive.

Conservatives have an ideology that people believe, but too many independent and even people who think they’re liberals don’t realize it because of the inflammatory comments made by certain members of the Right (Can you say Glenn Beck?)

Religion can be a powerful ally to a political campaign (remember McCain’s advisers insisting he ought to go to church more?) and more than that, is an important part of the lives of many Americans.

A religious politician is not an inherently unelectable one. In fact, quite the opposite.

There’s a scene in Trading Places where Coleman, the butler, is dressed up as a priest for New Year’s Even on a train.

As he sips from his flask of Irish whiskey he quips, “I always say religion is a fine thing…taken in moderation.”


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2 thoughts on “Conservatives Struggle to Define Identity Amid Right Wing Extremists

  1. Veronica says:

    I think the idea of not addressing social issues is interesting…Isn’t it fair to argue that most people vote based on social issues? I agree that this may not necessarily be the most educated way to vote, most voters are uneducated. And social issues are ‘hot button’ things that people can get behind (or oppose)…if you really had a candidate who didn’t address them, would they even have a chance when their opponents are liberally espousing their views on every social issue that comes up? The unfortunate reality is that most of the voters in this country are uneducated…doesn’t a candidate have to do some pandering to even have a chance?

  2. […] in September, I argued the Republicans needed to focus on economic issues because too many of the candidates were so out […]

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