Conservatism that Assures the Unthinkable: the Reelection of Barack Obama

See also: Social Issues Are Not Going Away in 2012

It is time that someone said, straight up and out loud, "Enough."

As America flirts with permanent economic decline, certain GOP presidential contenders talk of gay marriage, Charles Darwin, and religiosity.  Are we losing our minds?

While the current progressive regime is rife with overbearing economic and social agendas, the critical battle -- which, if lost, would render all other battles irrelevant -- is singularly economic in nature.

Let Election 2012 not be about spreading "conservative values" throughout the land.  Let the election be about restoring America to economic good health.  Let the election be about freeing the people from legislative, regulatory, and judicial tyranny inflicted by congresses, administrations, and courts both Democrat and Republican.

Now is not the time in the course of human events to push what Peter Berkowitz calls "The Myth of Conservative Purity."  Berkowitz observes:

The great mission of American conservatism -- securing the conditions under which liberty flourishes -- has always depended on the weaving together of imperfectly compatible principles and applying them to an evolving and elusive political landscape.

There will be plenty time for America to debate the contentious social issues that distinguish the progressives who dominate government, education, and media from the conservatives who once enjoyed but lost similar dominion.  But there will be time for such debates only if America returns to prosperity.  Without economic healing, the pursuit economic survival will consume the people.

Conservatives could choose to expend energy asserting mythically pure values, but that won't bring Barack Obama's defeat.  GOP contenders, and later the GOP nominee, can either try to push a rope uphill or advocate a doable conservatism -- i.e., a non-idealistic approach.

An eminently doable form of conservatism is something with which most Americans would be happy.  Vociferous ideologues relentlessly claim inside knowledge of the American mindset, but in reality, the conditions that would please most people are simple and few: a physically secure country, government that maintains that security and plays favorites with no corporation or individual, and citizens free to pursue lawful aspirations without governmental interference and imposed social agendas.

Today's America is home to armies at both ends of the sociopolitical spectrum, with warriors preaching of giving no quarter to the "other side."  On the sociopolitical left, many soldiers speak venomously, thuggishly, often using wartime metaphors.  Indeed, staunch ideologues of all stripes see conciliation as the path of weaklings.  But Berkowitz instructively points out that although many conservatives see compromise as "the province of the mealy-mouthed, weak-kneed, and lily-livered[,] ... when circumstances warrant -- and they often will -- compromise will be the considered choice of the steely-eyed and stouthearted."

In other words, it takes confidence and courage to willingly engage threats posed by ideological impurities.  It takes wisdom and patience to hunker down and weather the threats to achieve the objectives demanded by one's principles.

To win the White House and possibly the Senate, while maintaining a majority in the House of Representatives, Republicans must sell to a critical mass of "independent" voters a plan consisting of more than promises.  And the plan must be focused.  It must stick to economics.  The GOP presidential nominee's platform must hint of no rhetoric on gay marriage and the theory of evolution, with no overly enthusiastic speechifying on illegal immigration.

Such distractions would alienate voters who otherwise have been growing more and more inclined to embrace conservative politicians.  By railing against gay marriage, illegal immigration, and Darwin at this point in time, the GOP presidential nominee could easily antagonize the very people itching to vote against Obama.  Indeed, a most dunderheaded Republican tack right now would be to parade religiosity as not just a conservative virtue, but also a virtue required to lead America out of an utterly secular disaster.

Two GOP presidential contenders' campaigns suggest a belief that Christians who oppose illegal immigration, gay marriage, and the theory of evolution will not support a candidate who refuses to carry the religious right's banner all the way to the polls.  If this belief reflects reality, then disengaged "values-driven" conservatives could assure the reelection of Barack Obama.

It remains distinctly possible that Republican presidential contenders will continue to push divisive social issues even as America faces economic oblivion.  On the other hand, the candidates may abstain from the social rhetoric, motivating social conservatives to stay home on November 6, 2012.

But there is a third option, in which social conservatives accept a Republican candidate with a solid plan to defeat Barack Obama even if that plan is silent on social issues.  If this sane and most pragmatic alternative does not materialize, then history might record that social conservatives were willing to let an unimaginable reality -- four more years of the most destructive American presidency ever -- come to pass.

I cannot accept that conservatives would invite this mother of all calamities.

A writer, physicist, former high tech executive, and Cajun, Chuck Rogér invites you to sign up to receive his "Clear Thinking" blog posts by email at  Contact Chuck at

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