Friday, September 22, 2006


(News-Herald, September 21) As the November elections approach, I find myself in the usual sort of bind, the usual problem of a man in a garden store trying to decide between a bag of horse manure and a bag of cow manure, wishing that he’s come to the store in a truck instead of a station wagon with window that won’t roll down.
What I’d really like to see on the national scene is a batch of actual conservatives. We have plenty of faux conservatives. I’m tired of them.
Take Rick Santorum. Let’s see. Has no clue about the life of ordinary not-rich citizens (all you working women—go home and get back in the kitchen). Thinks that government should put its nose in areas where reasonable people used to think the federal government has no business intruding. Helped the current administration run up an unfathomable mountain of debt. Supported the federal take-over and dismantling of public education, but made sure that his own children would be safe from government meddling in school programs by moving them far away from their alleged home and yanking them out of public school. And billing the taxpayers for it.
Spending gazillions of dollars you don’t have. Sticking Uncle Sam’s nose in everybody else’s business (while making sure he leaves yours alone)—let’s face it. Santorum is a Democrat, a tax and spend liberal supporter of the nanny state.
Now, if you want to vote for Big Rick because you agree with his “family values” that’s certainly your privilege. Just don’t tell me that he’s a “good old conservative.’ He’s nothing of the sort. But he has plenty of company in DC.
The last Republican to get us into a serious war was Abraham Lincoln. McKinley was a Republican, and he sort of backed us into the Spanish-American War, but as wars go that was less exciting than even Operation Desert Storm, which was also Not Really a War.
No, it used to be that it took a Democrat to get us in a real mess, like two world wars, Korea, and Vietnam. It’s conservatives who are supposed to be good at keeping us from becoming entangled in these foreign morasses. Historically it’s conservatives that understand how unpleasant war is and that it should be avoided. It’s also conservatives that understand that if you’re going to fight a war, you need to fight like you mean it.
It’s the traditional conservative who was supposed to present the hard-headed cold-eyed unsentimental no-free-lunch view of the world. No conservative I can think of would have claimed that we are fighting for the fate of Civilization As We Know It, but that we can do it with a handful of troops and absolutely no sacrifices by people on the home front.
From Terri Schiavo to Gay Stuff to abortion to running schools to spying on anyone they don’t approve of, we’ve got a bunch of government folks who are sure that Uncle Sugar should be forcing American citizens to behave as Big Uncle believes they should.
I am not surprised to find government officials saying these kinds of things. I am surprised to find these people calling themselves conservatives.
And remember when conservatives used to taunt Democrats for being “tax and spend liberals”? Well, those were the good old days. The current “conservative” administration has spent us into the biggest national budget deficit in the history of the world (over—or under—300 billion dollars).
Now, I don’t want to argue any of the merits or demerits of these issues. There may be good arguments for taking some of these federal actions. It’s just that I expect to hear them from a liberal.
I certainly believe that there are situations and areas of civic life that call for the intervention of the federal government. But mostly I’m pretty sure that the less that gets done in DC, the better off the rest of us are. I’d like to see a law that says that Congress can only meet about thirty days out of the entire year—the rest of the time the various stuffed shirts have to go home and live cheek by jowl with their constituents. If they want to go back and monkey around for more than the thirty days, they have to meet the costs of doing business out of their own pockets.
It may be that I’m really a Libertarian, but Libertarians always seem to have a mean streak, an attitude of “I should be free to take your lunch money, you should be free to try to stop me, and the government should butt out.”
There are lots of things not to like in this election cycle (Smiling Ed and Dancing Lynn come to mind), but it would be nice to have a real conservative in the mix. I miss ‘em.


Anonymous said...

So maybe its the Libertarians time? Olly olly ox in free!

Umhangträger said...

Wow. Good commentary. I find myself actually agreeing with you! I also think I'm a "closet libertarian" on a lot of issues.

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