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    The Will to Create

    Entries in Gingrich (53)


    Social conservatives

    This issue continues to pop up -- will the conservatives shy away from social/religious/moral issues or stick to governance and limited government principles? Liberal media outlets will make sure the issue is not forgotten. At the Conservative forum in Iowa today, Gingrich and Bachmann rallied on social issues and values, indicating that some conservatives are going to take the easy way out with platitudes rather than do the hard, intelligent work of explicating why conservatives have been criticized for attempting to legislate morality and assuring independents that morals will not be legislated and coerced.

    Republican candidates cannot ignore how they've been framed by their opposition, because independent votes are critical. When Gingrich and Bachmann take the arrogant approach to stir up the crowd by saying values are primary or that social conservatism and fiscal conservativism are the same thing, they miss the opportunity to clarify the issue.

    Of course values are important, but if a handful of Christian fundamentalists, for instance, are expecting their values to be front and center in a political campaign, this just feeds the fear in independents that the Republican Party is still set on using State power to instill certain religious values that many potential Republican voters don't share. The values in question should be political values when speaking about governance -- the 2012 election campaign is not a Baptist Revival, it's a campaign to elect government officials. If the Republican Party values limited government , a free market, individual rights and freedom, then they need to express and uphold these values, then allow people to deal with their own souls and issues of morality. Using State power to coerce people according to religious values is anti-limited government, anti-individual rights and anti-freedom.

    If the candidates are moral people who practice their values in their private and public lives, the public will see this, so the candidates don't need to preach and testify -- actions speak louder than words. 



    I frequently defend "conservatives" from unfair criticism because I think most of these critics are putting a lot of people under the conservative umbrella who don't belong there, and these people are being unfairly pilioried. I could never consider myself conservative because I promote dynamism. Of course, if we're talking about certain principles which should be upheld regardless of time and place, then, yes, to that extent I fight to conserve these priniciples -- but, why I don't consider that conservative, as people think of conservativism, is because these prinicples promote dynamism for the most part. To me, statists are conservatives, protecting the status quo, and free market/ limited government proponents are liberal and dynamic -- this is how I see it.

    So, I consider myself liberal and I think most people in America whom the media and political class consider "conservative" are actually not all that conservative and they aren't afraid of a dynamic economy which offers change and choice -- they also don't make a big deal over social issues. So, as we go forward toward the midterm elections and then to the 2012 elections, it appears more and more people who want a free market and a limited government will confound the pundits, and they will confound the Republican Party. Most of those being considered as part of a conservative movement are independents, and if Gingrich, Huckabee and Romney are the best Republican choices, then an Independent Party is called for.

    These voters might go for Romney, but not if they think long about the Massachusetts healthcare plan.

    Another big surprise is going to be with those who call themselves liberals yet support the progressive agenda. I predict a lot of people who are now protecting social concerns and statism are going to find themselves attempting to defend the indefensible -- in another decade we're going to look back and wonder how "liberal" intellectuals could be so blind. Intellectuals who've been co-opted by power and elite fashion have historically been on the wrong side of the major issues. They are on the wrong side now, from my perspective.


    Disappointed with Republican response, so far

    I'm still holding out hope that Republicans will have an epiphany and find their voice, but so far that voice has been tiny, philosophically timid and too much directed at over-spending with no comprehensive explication of the root causes of the spending. There's a great opportunity for Republicans to elevate the discourse to a philosophical battle of grand proportions, yet they have cowered to the Democrats charges of hyperbole and overheated rhetoric. Palin is speaking out, but she isn't lifting the conversation to grand themes which inspire the combination of intellect and spirit -- Romney is speaking out, but he's coming across like a smart, pragmatic executive applying for a job -- Gingrich is speakng out but he has no clear message of authentic belief in limited government -- Huckabee is speaking out, but he has no vision of a different, dynamic future, just of an old, folksy, conservative, static past of cliched populism.

    It's my belief that people are looking for someone more like Marco Rubio, but I don't know enough about him to say he's the real, real deal. The Republcans need the real deals -- are they out there? Can one person step forward with a clear voce and grab this opportunity? It will take a lot of courage, intelligence, a good understanding of history, political philosophy and the ability to put it in terms which reach that combination of intelligence and spirit.

    The independents, who'll decide the direction of the country, are much more savvy and complex than in the past, but there's still quite a bit of confusion to clear up before a direction is established. Direction should be the theme -- a distinction between the direction of statism and the direction of a limited government releasing the power of the private sector. There's no need to talk down to people, to awfulize the situation, to play on nationalist pride, to pump an inflated optimism or to reignite the fear of terrorists. You don't set out to inspire people -- people are inspired by ideas and how the ideas are articulated. This is a time for big ideas, brave ideas, ideas which will change the direction of the nation.

    This is no time for careful political calculation and manipulation -- it's time to lay out choices, to roll the dice and leave nothing behind -- extreme is good if it's well thought out, rings true and comes from a place of intelligence and authenticity. A case needs to be made for limited government in order to make it clear exactly what's being considered -- that a big responsibility will be shifted to the private sector -- that it may be hard, and that sacrifices are expected if the direction is going to change and last. For too long politicians have promised utopia with no price -- they've offered free gifts, unreasonable security and unrealistic opportunites with no toil.

    As I've said before, the Democrats have the same opportunity to change the direction and put us back on the path to solvency, responsibility and intelligent growth, but they've shown no belief in the power of the private sector and way too much confidence in government intervention and planning. The Republicans are now at least making small claims of understanding the need for a new direction -- they just need to own it and show how it can be accomplished, and how we can help.  

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