Can we get serious?
In America, there is a consensus, a generally accepted agreement as to what the word “conservative” means. Take a poll. Ask the average voter what the word means. The four pillars of modern American conservatism are pretty easy to remember:
(1) The Right to Life. Conservatives, real conservatives, Reagan conservatives, we oppose abortion. Full stop.
(2) The Second Amendment. Hey, how many court rulings do you need before you finally get that the government has no duty to protect you? In a Republic, that is on you. Conservatives oppose the anarchy of crime. We support gun rights, local police, and laws that are tough on crime – especially violent crime.
(3) Less Government/ Lower Taxes. Conservatives know that smaller government and less government regulation leads to less spending and debt, which enables governments to cut taxes. Conservatives also know that crony capitalism is a form of political corruption and as such is itself a tax on the goods and services used by ordinary citizens.
(4) Illegal Immigration. Conservatives like America and American culture. We welcome anyone from anywhere who wants to come here and join us and become an American. We don’t want to be colonized by foreign cultures with authoritarian or anti-democratic traditions. We don’t want to be told that we need to change to accommodate those who gate-crash the laws of our country.
In order to call yourself a conservative in America, you pretty much need to be all four of the above. Maybe you can get away with being a little mushy on one and still be considered a “soft” conservative. But if you are bad on more than one, you need to think about why you are a Republican. (Hey, haven’t these people ever read the PLATFORM of the party they claim membership of?)
That’s not to say that anybody is a “bad” person. It’s just saying that you’re not a conservative. See, the word “conservative” actually does mean something. It’s not just a term of praise used in the proper setting to describe people we happen to like… or want to suck-up to.
“Conservative” doesn’t mean “libertarian”. It is per se a traditionalist point-of-view. Conservatives want to C-O-N-S-E-R-V-E the traditions and values of our American Republic. Unlike our libertarian brethren, we don’t want to replace Mom and Apple Pie with the Orgasmatron and the Orb.
That’s not to say that conservatives and libertarians (or anyone else for that matter) can’t agree on certain issues and work together. But having a conservative point of view on this or that issue doesn’t make one a conservative. Heck, Bill Clinton called himself a “fiscal conservative” – that didn’t make him a conservative. It made him a liberal who saw the political advantages of conservative policy on issues like welfare reform. He was still a liberal.
And so we come to the especially Jersey-style, end of year crap that recently went spewing itself all over the Internet. For years now, New Jersey has been working very hard at being the place words go to lose their meaning. Reading “The Right 40 Women to Watch in 2019” (written by AFP’s head honcho in New Jersey) it’s now clear that this trend has reached new depths of meaninglessness – with many of those mentioned being members of the “Right” only in the way that Hillary Clinton can be considered being to the “Right” of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
AFP – Americans for Prosperity – is the group formed by the super-rich Koch brothers as the political and lobbying arm of their business empire. Anyone who knows anything about the Koch brothers knows that they come out of the Libertarian Party – in fact, one of the brothers actually ran against Republican Ronald Reagan on the Libertarian Party ticket in 1980. Yes… THAT Ronald Reagan.
And what a ticket that was… it supported everything from the decriminalization of narcotics and prostitution to America’s standing down as a world power. If that crew had been elected, we’d still have the Soviet Union (and maybe they would have won). But happily, Reagan won and the Koch operation was forced to rebrand itself as fake “conservative” – a move that started the process of unwinding the meaning of the word.
Over the last decade or more, the Koch operation has done much to corrupt the conservative movement in America – in an effort to remake it in their own crony capitalist image. Now they’ve come full circle and are back to advocating a soft-on-crime approach while pushing to flood the open market with recreational marijuana… this, in the midst of an opioid epidemic that is killing upwards of 50,000 people each year.
In fact, AFP in New Jersey has become so crony capitalist, so establishment, so anti-conservative values, that it has taken to shilling for far-Left politicians like U.S. Senator Cory Booker. Just before Christmas, AFP paid for a mailing that lauded Senator Gropicus (a great moniker, courtesy of SaveJersey’s Matt Rooney) for a soft-on-crime package of feel good “reforms” that miss the problem entirely, but make for good media ads for his 2020 run against President Donald Trump. Why the heck would AFP do something like that? The Democrats don’t need the resources – they already have George Soros – now they have the Koch operation’s millions too?
Among those women on “the Right” we were asked to “celebrate” were a half dozen who made the list because of their service on the just completed campaign of Bob Hugin for United States Senate. Now maybe the writer didn’t get the memo, but Bob Hugin didn’t run from “the Right” and his campaign did all it could to distance itself from said “Right” – starting with millions in advertising assuring the electorate that he was a “different kind of Republican” who explicitly rejected at least one of the four pillars of modern American conservatism. So WTF?
And since when did the legalization and sale of marijuana become a conservative issue? Hasn’t anyone read about the vaping problem in our schools? And this is with nicotine… imagine what it will be with marijuana? And edibles? How will policing the use of chocolate bars, peanut butter cups, and cookies work? Candy for children… So how the heck did the “co-founder and executive director of the New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association” make a list of “women on the Right”???
Get out of your offices and talk to average people sometime! Ask them if they think legalizing and selling an entry level drug in the midst of an opioid epidemic is a conservative political position? Average voters will think you have lost your mind. But there she is, on the list for being “at the helm” in her quest to “unleash a new industry within the State.” What’s next? Narcotics? The legalization of human trafficking? Prostitution? Body parts? Wait… it will come.
Rosemary Becchi made the list too. She’s the president of a “new grassroots advocacy organization” formed in 2018 “to fight Jersey’s high taxes and propose policy solutions to the state’s complex financial problems.” Except that she hasn’t. Ms. Becchi is a DC lobbyist who has donated to the Democrats. Hey, we get that lobbyists do that kind of thing, but let’s not call it conservative.
Nobody has seen Ms. Becchi testifying in Trenton, or providing information to legislators, or even returning telephone calls from those interested in finding out more about her “organization”. Cynics would say that it is nothing more than a front – a cover for her personal ambition to run for Congress. This is something she openly explored against incumbent Congressman Leonard Lance (R-07) a year ago, with her “grassroots” organization forming a kind of parentheses between that and her expected formal announcement for 2020.
But as far as labeling her a “conservative” – we don’t really know where she stands on big government and taxes, leaving aside her unknown positions on abortion, the Second Amendment, and illegal immigration. So who is trying to fool who here?
Finally, AFP’s list is memorable because of the genuine conservatives – four pillar conservatives – that it leaves out. Champions like Marie Tasy and Christine Flaherty and Rev. Mandy Leverett… they are fighting to maintain the value of human life, to recognize the threshold of fetal pain, to end the trafficking of human beings and the sexual exploitation of women and children. Of course, in today’s cash register world of “new industries” like pot and such, none of that matters – except that it does matter to conservatives, and there are a great many of us.
Also dissed were Freeholder Deborah Smith of Morris County – a great advocate for the Second Amendment – and incoming Sussex County Freeholder Dawn Fantasia who took down an incumbent Freeholder by winning 63% of the vote! Nobody who made AFP’s list ever beat an incumbent. Why are conservative winners ignored and pot pushers lauded as “conservatives”? And how about an operative like Kelly Hart, the executive director of the Sussex County Republican Committee. A four pillar conservative who actually won for Bob Hugin by more than was expected – outperforming everywhere but receiving scant recognition for it. Obviously, there is a “cool girls” table, just as in high school, and some are not part of it… no matter how much they actually WIN elections.
So in future, be a bit more judicious in who you label “conservative.” Be honest with voters. Stop telling them that you are something you’re not.
Yes, we expect to hear arguments from pro-abortion, mushy on illegal immigration, soft-on-the-Second Amendment types who claim that they “feel” they are conservative. But isn’t that just the times we live in? We’ve all heard of gender-fluidity… well, these people are ideologically fluid. And just as our chromosomes determine whether we are male or female, how we stand on the four pillars make us conservative – or something else.
Hey, don’t worry. Not being conservative doesn’t make you a “bad” person. And it doesn’t mean that you don’t hold conservative points of view on this issue or that. You can still work with conservatives. It just means that you recognize that you don’t come from the same ideological place that conservatives do. And in your heart, you already know that, so let’s cut the bull and get honest with the voters. Restoring their faith in the labels politicians apply to themselves will perhaps restore some measure of trust… for when the very words people use to describe themselves have no integrity, what confidence can voters have in anything?