In several different recent discussions, the concept of consistency came up in regards to my conservatism. Questions came up like, “should conservatives be consistent in their values and actions?” The short answer is “YES!” But has it been so in recent years? No, not really in the actions of leaders that call themselves conservatives.
First and foremost, our conservative values must be consistent across the board. For instance, we can’t say we want “small government” and “fiscal responsibility” while at the same time creating larger and larger military budgets. We can say, we want a strong military and take actions that keep it strong while minimizing budget and size. (Instead, it seems conservatives claim social program budgets are too big while they continually increase the size of the military budget.)
We can’t say we are for “family values” and support officials with a long history of domestic abuse or sleeping around on their spouses. This has happened so many times in recent history that I’ve lost track of how many have done it.
But ALL of our values must be consistent if we are going to win the hearts and minds of voters and support conservative agendas.
Take for example George Santos… How did a liar and cheat like him get nominated in the first place? Didn’t anyone do oppo-research to discover his lies? Why is the GOP leadership moving so slowly to take any action to stop him from being seated in Congress? Is this an act of consistency from supposedly conservative leaders? If he won’t step down from his newly elected seat, he should be removed by GOP leadership in the House.
Another good example of inconsistency was the nomination of Herschel Walker. As I understand it, his oppo-research resulted in a document of over 500 pages of bad acts and decisions in his past that should’ve been sorted out before allowing him to run on a GOP ticket. Supporting him for office was definitely NOT consistent with conservative values, but the GOP put their4 full weight behind him. He lost because the GOP did not win the hearts and minds of voters in this election due to their inconsistencies.
But, what about the other side, with the likes of Joe Biden, Bill Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, and so many others who lied about their credentials? If they did it, why can’t conservatives do it?
Whataboutisms have no place in conservatism. As a friend recently told me, we need to police our own before we worry about others. Besides, if we just point out the failings of others while supporting our own who do bad things, doesn’t that make us hypocrites? Ethics and honor have meaning and derive from keeping consistent values.
In summary, and in short, the only way we win the hearts and minds of voters is for us to show consistency in what we believe. We cannot bounce all over the place, supporting this bad thing while denigrating another bad thing, on a whim or because of political expediency.
What are your thoughts on this? Please leave a reply below and let me know if I am way off base here, and what consistency means to you…
3 responses to “Consistent Conservatism”
I love this column. I went lib in the 1990s because of the Republican War Against Everything (gays, environment, women, etc.) But at heart I remain a Barry Goldwater conservative and a Teddy Roosevelt progressive.
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Thank you for the compliment. I wish conservatives would reinvigorate the Goldwater/Reagan views and values. I am personally tired of the current leadership that calls itself “conservative”.
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