Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Where I'm Coming From


In trying to decide what picture was appropriate for this post the gun toting Ann Coulter sums up my sentiments the best ;-)!! I've been wrestling with my odyssey on who to support for the Republican nomination. I have gotten A LOT of flack from some for my favoring of Rudy.

So last night while preparing for my article to submit to the KC Star I did some research. The following articles sum up my view of of the Republican race in general and my reasons for being close to endorsing Rudy. I think some in the Conservative base have become way too negative and too ideological on single issues. I also am done making apologies for favoring Rudy. You can disagree or disapprove of where I'm coming from but this is where I'm at and where I stand.

As I was reflecting on the dramatic turnaround in Iraq and how Bush is positioned for a rebound I thought about how I had stuck to my guns despite the constant criticism that I was delusional and wrong on Bush and the War. It is pretty awesome to see the turn of events and how it pays to be optimistic and to believe in and stand for what is right despite public sentiment. I will do the same on this issue even if the criticism is from other conservatives.

The Articles:

1) Conservatism's Self-Inflicted Wounds by Greg Alterton
This post describes where I am coming from to a tee!! I could not explain it any better than this. Here are some excerpts:
“When did abortion start dividing people within our own party in this manner that we’re fighting with each other and trying to provoke fights? I see a lot of conservatives fighting with each other, fellow Republicans, with far more vigor than they go after the Democrats. This is outrageous behavior.”

...I commented that American conservatism suffers from the lack of an identifiable consensus leader that can unite us all. Not since Ronald Reagan left office has conservatism produced a leader of national stature that we could all rally behind – and this lack of leadership since Reagan has been one of the great failings of this generation of conservatives. Leaderless, conservatism has deteriorated back to base instincts: eccentricity, paranoia, and nostalgia (to borrow an observation made by authors John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge in their generally positive history of contemporary American conservatism, The Right Nation). Under Reagan, conservatism was forward looking, positive, pro-active, visionary, out-reaching, appealing, unifying, and rational. Conservatism since Reagan has become stuck-on-stupid, negative, reactive, single-issued, inward-looking, strident, off-putting, divisive, and emotive. We keep looking for the next Reagan because conservatism hasn’t been as appealing or as victorious as it was in the Reagan era. Until we have a leader who can turn conservatism around to make it a positive force in American politics, I’m afraid that “appealing to the base” (meaning, as I’m using the term, appealing to the “base nature” of conservatism today) is a recipe for electoral disaster.

I would add that many conservatives have become overly idealistic, and consequently have become unrealistic about the progress of their issues. Many pro-life voters, as an example, reflect this unrealistic perspective on the politics of abortion. Here’s the reality: It’s been almost 35 years since Roe v. Wade. Over that time we’ve had almost 19 years and counting of pro-life presidents (Reagan, Bush-41, Bush-43), 12 years of Republican majorities in the House, and 16 years of Republican majorities in the Senate. And what do we have to show in terms of substantive progress on the abortion issue for all of that political advantage? The only issue that has passed Congress is the partial-birth abortion ban, but even that had to be affirmed by a recent decision of the Supreme Court.

Getting down to what this all means in the campaign for the nomination…Rudy’s pledge to appoint strict constructionists to the courts is about as good as it’s going to get for the pro-life movement. Even Reagan was spotty on his appointments to the Supreme Court, which means that Rudy’s appointments might actually be better for the pro-life issue than Reagan’s were (heresy, I know). And while GW Bush has been strongly pro-life, and the GOP had a majority in the Senate for four years of his Administration, some of Bush’s more solidly conservative judicial nominations never even came to a vote. So, to threaten to sit out the election if “pro-choice” Rudy Giuliani is nominated, or to hold the party, the nation, and every other issue of importance in the election hostage to the single issue of abortion, is unrealistic, naive, and just wrong-headed.
Once again I think of the issue of immigration and how it divided Conservatives. People like Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham and Michelle Malkin were exactly what Alterton describes Conservatives being since Reagan, "...negative, reactive, single-issued, inward-looking, strident, off-putting, divisive, and emotive." My fear is these Conservatives seem to be the loudest, I just hope they aren't the majority.

2) Today's Republicans might not elect Reagan by Steven Thomma
Again, Thomma makes some excellent points and expresses some of the frustration I feel. As Mike has said, some initially saw Reagan as the "lesser of 2 evils". Obviously, in hindsight those people now look ridiculous. Here is Thomma's opening paragraph:
They want to put his face on Mount Rushmore, but Republicans today are demanding such ideological purity that they might not even nominate Ronald Reagan for president if he were to run now.

3) What's a "Social Conservative"? by Greg Alterton
An excerpt:
So, why am I, a social conservative, supporting Rudy Giuliani for President? To address it briefly:

* Because Rudy is the most conservative person in the race. His record as mayor shows that he governed with conservative principles, and that he is willing and quite able to fight for those principles, successfully so. The fact that he did this in an extremely liberal city such as New York inclines me to believe that he’s up to the task to lead this nation.
* I support Rudy Giuliani because, while many people have fallen asleep on this point, we’re still a nation at war, working here and abroad to assure America’s security against Islamist terrorists. Rudy Giuliani clearly understands this, and is, in my opinion, the only one who can refocus the nation’s resolve on this issue.
* Finally, I think Rudy stands the best chance of beating Hillary Clinton. For me, the most important “traditional value” in this election is keeping the Clintons out of the White House. In this, I believe that social conservatism should, ultimately, be pragmatic.

On a personal note: I have worked in government relations and politics for the past 35 years. Thirty-five years ago, in college, I came to Christ, expressed faith in who he is and what he did on the cross, so I’ve spent my entire professional career considering how my faith impacts, or should impact, the arena I work in.

4) Why the Right Should Support Giuliani by Deroy Murdock
Here are some excerpts:
The most important ‘traditional value’ in this election is keeping the Clintons out of the White House,” says Greg Alterton, an evangelical Christian who writes for SoConsForRudy.com and counts himself among Rudolph Giuliani’s social-conservative supporters.

People like Alterton are important, if overlooked, in the Republican presidential sweepstakes. Anti-Giuliani Religious Rightists are far more visible. Also conspicuous are pundits whose cartoon version of social conservatism regards abortion and gay rights as “the social issues,” excluding other traditionalist concerns.

This “Rudyphobia” ignores Giuliani’s pro-family/anti-abortion ideas, his socially conservative mayoral record, and his popularity among churchgoing Republicans.

Religious Right leaders should study Giuliani’s entire, socially conservative record, not just the “socially liberal” caricature of it that hostile commentators and lazy journalists keep sketching. Social conservatives should not make the perfect enemy of the outstanding. Ultimately, they should recognize that a pro-life, third-party candidate would subtract votes from Giuliani in November 2008.

This would raise the curtain on a 3-D horror movie for social conservatives: “The Clintons Reconquer Washington” — bigger, badder, and more vindictive than ever.
Some have mentioned that we shouldn't support Rudy because too many Conservatives have threatened not to vote for him in the general election. I have taken that into account but I don't see why I should shun someone who I think would make the best president just because some are threatening to throw negative temper tantrums if they don't get their way.

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