Tom Coburn (R-OK) Russ Feingold (D-WI) Jon Kyl (R-AZ) Jim DeMint (R-SC) David Vitter (R-LA) Mary Landrieu (D-LA) John Sununu (R-NH) Lindsey Graham (R-SC) Richard Burr (R-NC) Wayne Allard (R-CO) Jeff Sessions (R-AL) Evan Bayh (D-IN) Mike DeWine (R-OH) Kent Conrad (D-ND) George Allen (R-VA)
We should be slowing the rate of spending growth, especially now when the economy is in flux.
We should be against a mystery date Supreme Court nominee like Harriet Miers, a person whom I've heard would be a conservative jurist but have seen no track record or paper trail of such a thing. "Trust me" doesn't cut it with a president who has not governed conservatively, or with a president who signed a campaign finance bill despite pledging to veto it because it was unconstitutional.
We should be for free trade and against steel tariffs and other acts that inhibit it.
We should be for fiscal restraint, and against budget-bloating farm bills and highway bills.
We should be all for reducing the number of pages in the federal register. Regrettably, this is not happening [update to original post].
We should be for the humane treatment of prisoners and detainees. Existing rules are in place for a reason.
We should be prosecuting the reconstruction of Iraq more effectively.
We should be lobbying for a new Defense Secretary, not supporting one who was the architect of the post-war funk in Iraq. Yes, we're making slogging progress, but it could've been done so much better.
We should be keeping the identity of any CIA agent to ourselves, no matter the lies spread by the agent's spouse.
We should be taking real action--multilateral or otherwise--on stopping the Darfur genocide.
We should be in favor of legislation that broadens choices for Americans. School vouchers (if the federal government must be involved) and Social Security reform and are Exhibits A and B.
We should be standard bearers for a colorblind society, and for the most part we are, but it's an uphill battle when the race card is thrown down so easily.
Since conserve is in our very name, we should be good stewards of the environment. Pursuing a good energy exploration policy isn't good enough. Practical and market-based environmental standards are not a high enough priority in this administration. Major environmental--and political--opportunities are being missed.
George W. Bush is facing a small crisis in his presidency because he has not governed as a conservative (or not nearly conservatively enough), and the chickens are now coming home to roost, triggered by his goddawful nomination of a crony for the Supreme Court. This is not the time for Bush and his supporters to circle the wagons, or take loyalty tests. Those who are truly loyal to conservative principles will challenge him when he's gone astray. For the record, I voted for him twice, and those votes were based on expectations that he really was what he said he was. It's time for Bush to revisit the era of Ronald Reagan: to control spending, kick ass on national defense and be a Great Communicator of conservative principles. This path will not only rehabilitate his own presidency but pave the way for a conservative nominee in 2008. Why? For one thing, conservatism can work if applied, and there are enough conservatives out there to effect change. The numbers don't lie, and liberals like E.J. Dionne know it:
But the party's [Democrats] problems are structural and can be explained by three numbers: 21, 34 and 45. According to the network exit polls, 21 percent of the voters who cast ballots in 2004 called themselves liberal, 34 percent said they were conservative and 45 percent called themselves moderate.
In effect, to get a 51% majority on an issue, conservatives need to convince half of the moderates, a big task but quite a bit smaller than what the Left has to do. Liberals need to convince two-thirds of the moderates to their ways, so we have the clear advantage of numbers. We have talk radio, a little more of cable TV than we used to, and a good chunk of the blogosphere (which cuts both ways). What's more, mainstream media faces the blogospheric swarm every day, so we're getting a more intellectually honest print and TV media in the process.
But in terms of message from the White House, fits and spurts are all we get. This is not good enough. Being an Occasional Communicator is insufficient. The year-round campaign is now a permanent fixture in 21st century American politics. Karl Rove is fine during a campaign, but in off years, let's face it. He sucks. The Plame thing happened in 2003 and we have an administration adrift in 2005. Who knows what would've happened in 2001 if Islamist fanatics hadn't done their thing on 9/11. But I clearly recall that Bush was in sharp political decline before the planes hit the World Trade Center. Thank goodness Bush responded to the attacks the way he did.
The central issue is this: What are we first, conservatives or Republicans? As for me, I'm a moderate conservative. I'm a Republican because the principles of the GOP are more closely aligned to conservative principles than those found in the Democratic Party. When the president we elected is out of sorts, we need to speak up. I also know that other conservatives will disagree with me about some or most of what I wrote, but that's okay. We're bigger than party and we're big enough to disagree with each other, yet still uphold the Eleventh Commandment and move forward. At least, that's my hope.