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Posted by on Jun 24, 2008 in At TMV | 5 comments

The Close of the Conservative Era (for now)

John McCain can’t get a break.

In 2000, he ran up against the Bush machine that slimed him and ran his campaign off the rails. Eight years later, he is now makes it to the top spot as the GOP nominee and has to run against someone that seems to be more popular than Jesus.

While I support John McCain, there is a sense that this is a losing battle. He is a good man stuck with a party in disarray and a movement that was run off the rails by the same man he faced in 2000.

Allan Lichtman has a worthy piece up on Politico about how McCain is failing to ignite the conservatives and that no matter if he wins or loses, he will ultimately lose because the conservative era is at its nadir. Licthman writes on how McCain has bent himself into odd shapes to appease various factions of the GOP and not pleasing anybody. Because he is trying to shore up the base, Obama who has a thin resume and little to show for when it comes to bipartisanship, is coming off as the unifying figure. Litchman writes:

McCain is straining to appease a conservative movement that is too fragmented to be appeased. Like Humpty Dumpty after the fall, all the GOP’s horses and all the GOP’s men cannot put together again business and social conservatives, big- and small-government conservatives, tax-cutters and deficit hawks, and foreign adventurers and advocates of the humble foreign policy that Bush proposed in his 2000 campaign but quickly abandoned. McCain’s preoccupation with the right has let Obama, with his meager record of bipartisan accomplishment, emerge as the unifying figure in the presidential campaign, taking the place of the co-sponsor of the McCain-Feingold Act on campaign finance reform and the McCain-Kennedy bill on immigration reform.

He adds that even a McCain win would relegate the Senator to become a transitional figure ala Gerald Ford:

McCain’s defeat by the liberal Obama and the advent of a strengthened Democratic Congress would mark the end of the modern conservative era as clearly as President Franklin Roosevelt’s defeat of President Herbert Hoover in 1932 marked the end of the conservative 1920s. Even if McCain were to win the presidency, he would likely preside over a divided government and become a transitional figure in the evolution of American conservative politics, a Gerald Ford to some future Ronald Reagan.

Liberals are going to say good riddance to all that. After nearly 30 years in the wilderness, they are ready to take over and conservatives have no one to blame but themselves. Maybe during this period of wilderness they can decide what direction to take and actually develop a way to govern that was so lacking in the Bush years.

The funny thing about political eras is how each side thinks their ideology will be the permanent majority, pushing their adversaries into oblivion for eternity. But that doesn’t happen. It didn’t happen when the Democrats were in power from 1932 to 1980, it won’t happen now. Yes, one ideology will be dominant, but the fact is movements get old and start to crumble and die and are reborn again. There will be more liberal eras and conservative eras. And that’s okay by me. That’s what democracy should be about; an argument of ideas and sometimes one argument wins and sometimes the other one does. That’s what happens when the people rule.

My only wish is that conservatives will learn from this debacle called the Bush years and reform themselves. And boy do they need some reforming.

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Copyright 2008 The Moderate Voice
  • BBQ

    That’s a pretty good analysis. I just wish that this time during reforming that Moderates get their act together more instead of letting the far right wing take control of the party again.

  • superdestroyer

    There is no return of the conservative movement. Changing demographics in the U..S. will ensure that the Republicans or any conservative party makes a comeback.

    Also, LIchtman is incorrect in aruging that McCain is a conservative. His presidential platform of open borders, increased regulation, increased spending, and government regulation of speech demonstrates that today’s conservative has moved far to the left.

    The real question for the future is how the elite white progressives (academics, NGO’s, and political staffers) are going to reconcile their beliefs with blacks, hispanics, and immigrants.. Senator Obama has been working very hard to discuss what the U.S. will be like as the white middle class fads away.

  • casualobserver

    Indeed, a good number of “conservatives” have become both too destructively fickle and more sadly, stoned on the same opiate that liberals toke on……government ought to drive the social construct.

    The next four years may not be exactly the type of “socialism” they were hoping for, but I suspect they will get to experience it in spades.

    My best advice to true libertarian conservatives…..shelter as much of your earnings as you can into a non-qualified deferred comp arrangement to weather the Keynesian storm the clueless D’s will be seeding. Once the hapless herd of non-libertarians have ample proof that confiscatory tax policy and inflation inducing spending won’t produce any permanent economic recovery either, the Republican Party might find a Goldwater or Reagan to run in 2012.

  • timr

    But there is no Regan or even a Goldwater on the horizon. The main problem with the republician party, a self wounding, is that they have gone over to putting the party before the country. Power and ideology put before the needs of the country are what needs badly to be fixed. Also, people as a whole don’t like to have govt in their bedrooms and the evangelicals have driven the party way to far in that direction. Social issues, culture war, over the bedrock issues that people want from govt. The last republician president that I both respected(and voted twice for) was GHWB. He was a great president, yet the conservatives ran him out of town on a rail when he realized that in order to pay for what the country wanted to have done he raised taxes, which was and remains anathema to the hard right conservatives, but was necessary. We can see what happened when both a republician president and republician congress came together. Financial disaster. Earmarks rose to hights never before seen, fighting 2 wars on a credit card, Katrina and the perception that Bush fiddled while the country drowned. Incompetent party hacks put in charge of the reins of govt. Political power put at the pinnacle instead of actually making govt work. Congress loath to fulfill its role as a force to put the breaks on unfettered executive branch power. A Machiavellian figure behind the figure in power-Rove-who, it turns out, is just one more party hack who tried to play well above his game(he was lucky to win in 2000, and played all out filthy political tricks to win in 2004, but he got his comeuppance in 2006 when he claimed to have “the math” that proved he would win) and lost. I think that we can safely asume that Rove will prove to be the biggest architect in the republician parties fall from grace. His totally amoral way of operating showed people the dirty underside of politics, and placed him as the figure head of what is wrong with politics, and especially what is wrong with the republician party today. Tell outrageous lies about your opponent, and use every dirty trick to defeat him, and if you can’t defeat him, then twist the DoJ into charging him with crimes-but only in the MSM, never bring charges. Make sure that the dem voters can’t vote by purging the lists, making sure that polling places are set up in places that are hard to get. The list goes on and on. Attack the messanger when all that person did was tell the truth, because you can not refute the message. Stall, stonewall, refuse to answer or cooperate with congress. In all my years of watching politics-starting in 1960-I have never seen an administration and party act so shamefully. During Watergate, many peope put their careers on the line to DO THE RIGHT THING. It was members of the republiian party who told Nixon that even they had had enough. Today, congress is full of hacks, people who would willingly-and in point of fact did until 2006-assist the Bush administration in breaking the law, and when these crimes came to light, as they always do, most republician members of congress did their best to derail any and all investigations into the crimes committed. I voted for McCain in the 2000 Mi. primary, and was ashamed at what bush and rove did in South Carolina. So ashamed that I voted for Gore, and watched while the MSM and the republician party slimed him, because GWB had no idea of where to take the country, no vision. All that the republician party wanted and desired was power. They got it. And 8 years later the republician party is going to be pretty much destroyed in the nov election. Democrats will be elected where only republicians have reigned for decades. And its their own damn fault. That is what hurts the most. I will not vote for McCain this time around. His flips and flops on a daily basis trying to please every faction of the party and his campaign, manned almost exclusively by lobbyists are the reasons I will not vote for him. This time, the second time since Ford pardoned Nixon, I will vote for a Dem. And I think that he will be elected, and that he will bring the country-abet kicking and screaming-together.

  • kritt11

    timr is correct.

    The middle class is crumbling as deregulation and tax breaks help the rich and the ultra-rich, who quite naturally oppose any tax increases. Grover Norquist’s group forces serious GOP candidates to sign the No New Taxes pledge, while Americans see our infrastructure crumbling around us, and the collapse of entire industries. Republicans, who once freed the slaves and supported civil rights, now are seen as largely a white Christian party.

    While I have my disagreements with BOTH political parties, it is obvious that many conservatives have allowed their lust for power to overcome their duty to the Constitution and to the American people who they purport to serve.

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