The conservatives have lost their influence in the U.S., and that loss has been quick and dramatic. There is no better proof of this than having no viable conservative candidate for president.
I don't recall ever seeing an enfranchised political group so quickly blow their franchise. After 2000 and 9/11, I was fully ready to expect that liberals and Democrats could face decades of minority power, like the Republicans did during and after FDR. In 2000 conservatives secured the presidency and both houses of Congress. They re-elected their president by a better margin in 2004, and kept both houses of Congress in 2002 and 2004. They successfully nominated and approved new conservative members to the Supreme Court. They promoted and undertook a pre-emptive invasion of a country on the other side of the world, unsupported by NATO, the UN, or world opinion. They were looking unstoppable.
But the invasion of Iraq was no victory. And as the occupation of Iraq continued with no end in sight, thousands of Americans were killed, tens of thousands were critically injured, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed and displaced. The war is expensive in so many ways, and it drags at our economy, at our standing in the world, and at our image of ourselves as a friendly and accepting nation.
So now conservatives don't have a candidate. They really don't. John McCain's record on immigration, campaign finance reform, global warming, and Native American issues has never been conservative. And Mitt Romney's record in Massachusetts is moderate to liberal, no matter how hard he panders to conservatives. In Massachusetts Romney actually approved the first state-wide program for comprehensive healthcare coverage. He also made no attempt to roll back gay marriage in the only state where it's fully legal.
So the conservatives don't have a candidate, and are shut out from influencing who the Republicans nominate for president. They are shut out because they lost touch with what Americans need. They need safer and cheaper healthcare, and conservatives offer nothing. They need solutions to Peak Oil and global warming, and conservatives go into full denial. They need home loan regulation and banking reform, and conservatives turn a deaf ear. They need the Iraq war over and their children and spouses home from it, and conservatives want to keep fighting. They need less government expense, but conservatives have spent monstrous sums on two wars and hundreds of earmarks. They want reasonable and fair taxation, and conservatives gave the richest Americans a huge and unfair tax break.
Conservatives don't represent most Americans, and independent voters and many Republicans know this. Which is why only McCain and Romney are left standing as viable candidates for the Republicans. (Although after Feb 5, even Romney's viability has faded.)
Now Rush Limbaugh, along with conservatives like Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter, are screaming that McCain has abandoned conservatives. They have got the truth turned around, though. It's conservatives who abandoned America, by forgetting a vision and practice of America that is fair, kind, equable, open, and generous -- just like its founders wanted it.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
And then they blew it....
Good post over at The Agonist: The influence of conservatives has collapsed, and they have no candidate for president