Winter for Conservatism?

BlogHer Original Post

Last night I received hate mail and was at the business end of scathing Twittentary, from both sides, oddly enough. Democrats were angry with me because I disagreed with them on things and Republicans, well, there were some hot-headed Republicans that railed against me when I exploded on air and online about the deficiencies of the party.

At some point in political discourse we must have honesty.

If it feels like the day after a battle, it's because it is. Some of us are celebratory; others are dragging themselves from the battlefield. It is my hope that neither side becomes so introspective that they forget the purposes and reasons which brought them each to their respective positions.

I congratulate the Democrats on an excellently ran campaign. I will stand behind Barack Obama as our president (just as others stood behind President Bush) because I respect the office, but I will continue to disagree with him as is my right, something any number of Democrats would do if lipstick-wearing pigs had flown and John McCain were elected. And because I am a prayerful person, I will pray that Barack Obama receives divine guidance and wisdom. This is his turn to try now.

However, I won't lie; I'm still angry.

Everyone always assumes that I'm a Republican because I'm a conservative. It's a stereotype as my brand of conservatism is one that the Republican party has long since abandoned. My brand of conservatism is marginalized by a party that presumes to court my vote. At some point in this election, some of those who directed the path of the Republican party decided that true conservatives - not those who pivot on a dime to embrace new-to-them conservative issues - weren't worth fighting for. We would vote Republican because that's what we do; all conservatives are Republicans, right?

Not quite.

This election has defined and validated the reason why I will not align myself to a political party. I serve my country, not a group of politicians. I serve my beliefs and the candidate onto whom they reflect best. My fury grew to a shriek when Sarah Palin was named as McCain's vice-presidential pick. I take issue with Katie Couric's ironic assessment that Palin did McCain in; to the contrary: she saved John McCain. John McCain was dead in the water; Palin revitalized his campaign and is the only reason he lasted until November 4th. Instead of receiving support, Palin was attacked by women like Dr. Laura for being a mother - a non-policy issue. The conservative female pundit seemingly skipped over the story of Deborah, and, coincidentally, her second-in-command, Barak. Palin was marketed by the Republicans as a novelty instead of as a future face of conservatism. And in perhaps one of the most unchivalrous moves I've seen in politics, she was forced to be the attack dog, fighting for the hearts of the Republican "base" while McCain turned his entire campaign into one long concession speech.

And I sighed and repeated Reagan's 11th commandment in my head over and over again while politely suggesting on air and online that perhaps McCain should step it up.

John McCain first abandoned the Republican party; the Republican party then abandoned its constituents by nominating a moderate. After the nomination, the Republican party exacted its revenge and abandoned McCain in return.

The Republican party is hemorrhaging. The Republican party deserved John McCain. Even though I am on record of supporting Fred Thompson since before the primaries, I include myself in this. We deserved John McCain because we as a group devolved to the point where we had to depend on a moderate for this election. We refused to support new, young faces of conservatism. Our campaign was poorly ran. It's the cold hard truth and if we conservatives are interested in regaining our movement instead of saving face and posing, then we need to admit it in blunt terms.

Conservatives need to regroup. The Republican party needs to reconnect with its base; it needs to fight for and woo the hearts of those to whom it owes its existence. I know the loss was hard and I know that there is a lot of resentment there and you will not convince me that there is no justification for that resentment - but that's beside the point. Republicans need to fix their party. They also need to realize that graciousness during this time does not equal surrender, but serves as a testament of the faith, the faith they speak of on the stump.

Let's put that graciousness into action, let's rebuild the party, let's reconnect with the values on which this party was founded. If you love this country as I do, you will fight for it, regardless your political persuasion.

Then, and only then, can we try again in four years.

I'd like to share some quotes I came across on a few sites I frequent:

"And I’m hoping that the catharsis of an Obama win will open within the left some vein of generosity toward Dubya, because the man deserves much better than he has gotten from most of the nation, for too long."

- The Anchoress

"The only answer for conservatives is to keep on truckin’, and not lose confidence. When conservatism is clearly defined…it wins. Unfortunately, it wasn’t clearly defined by McCain."
- Nice Deb

(Correction: Phyllis Schlafly was in favor of Palin as McCain's VP nominee. My apologies to Mrs. Schlafly. Sadly, there were still, at the time, seemingly more outspoken conservative women against her than for her.)   

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