RE: Bobby Jindal And The Conservative Movement’s Line In The Sand
posted at 4:19 pm on November 13, 2012 by Duane Patterson
Ed wrote earlier about an extended interview Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal gave to Politico, saying Republicans need to look forward. “We cannot be, we must not be, the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys.” Look, I am under no illusions that the Republican party, and the conservative movement, is facing an existential crisis right now. I understand that our messaging, branding, and how we communicate that message to voters, needs an extreme makeover. But in spite of the call for Republican reformation, from both the left and apparently many on the right, I simply reject Jindal’s premise, and believe that we as a movement have to decide what principles are cornerstones, and not politically expedient talking points that can be thrown under the bus in a desperate attempt to achieve power.
1. Fiscal policy – Governor Jindal, certainly an accomplished leader with a proven track record who is very much a player on the bench for future national office, has just whacked away at part of the core of fiscal conservatism. The left has demonized business owners as the bad guys for years, and to the left’s credit, they convinced a majority of Americans to vote as if that were true. But it simply isn’t. The private sector is where the jobs, and resulting American economic growth and prosperity, comes from. Jindal not only undercuts that argument, he joins forces with the left in the slander of small business owners all over the country. It’s not just the rich who would have to pay more. It is also small business owners who would suffer if the tax cuts do expire and we go off the fiscal cliff. Either we believe in smaller federal government, reduced spending, and increased incentives to the private sector to restart the economic engine in this country, or we don’t. We will never out-perform the left when it comes to attacking wealth in this country. They have a media apparatus with which we simply cannot compete. And if we do alienate business owners by sacrificing our fiscal principles, of whom then is our future voting bloc going to consist?
2. Social issues – While I’m not ready to publicly admit the culture war is lost, the current state of the campaign is not good. The left has mounted a dramatic insurgency over the last few years, and we have not been able to offer an effective counter to it. The Supreme Court will ultimately decide on the same sex marriage issue, but the life issue is something on which we simply cannot yield. A pundit on MSNBC over the weekend claimed that Republican opposition to abortion was racist or something. That is so profoundly ignorant as to be frightening, especially when you consider that unborn blacks are being aborted at a much higher rate than other racial groups. But we must field candidates that can clearly explain that being against the systematic murder of unborn human life isn’t anti-woman. It’s pro-humanity. There will be calls to destroy this cornerstone, too, over the next few weeks and months. Conservatives should resist that, and resist it forcefully.
3. National security – Former Speaker Newt Gingrich said today that we have to get immigration off the table, hinting that Republicans have to just accept that amnesty has to happen, because we’re getting killed electorally on it. I’m all for normalization of the people who are currently here illegally. But if we do not continue to make the issue contingent upon securing our southern border first to beef up our national security, all we’re doing is acquiescing to the left so that the magnet to a new generation of Democratic voters continues unabated. I remain convinced that national security will be a part of the equation sooner rather than later to American voters, and I take no joy in making that prediction. You simply cannot weaken your position around the world, cut military funding by a trillion dollars over the next decade, ignore your southern border, and then say, ‘ how could this be’ when we get attacked again. The first job of the federal government is to provide for the national defense. It seems silly to me for the conservative movement to abandon that, too, because of the growing Latino vote’s demand for amnesty. We must continue to make the immigration issue one about security, and then economic prosperity.
Again, we have to do a lot of hard thinking about the way forward out of the wilderness. But the left has successfully made this recent presidential campaign not about economics, but about how radical the right wing has allegedly gotten, how our nominee murdered the wife of a laid off factory worker, and how our vice presidential candidate wants to kill old people. The left wing apparatus, politicians and mainstream media, turned us into racists that cannot be trusted with national power because we’ve moved too far to the right, and have warned that only silencing voices on talk radio will help us remain a viable political movement.
My question is in the process of navel-gazing, why in the world would we listen to those same voices when they tell us what we need to do to win? And why in the world are voices on our side agreeing with them? We haven’t moved anywhere on the ideological spectrum. A majority of the country, hopefully temporarily, has moved left. Jettisoning our values and principles, and saying, “Us, too,” doesn’t seem to be a good prescription for the future.