Every election season pundits talk about the need to move to the center. What they don’t mention is that every four years the cultural center of the nation has moved leftward. In the tug-of-war for the heart and soul of the country, conservatives are told that if they walk toward their rivals they’ll somehow win the war. And then unconstitutional healthcare mandates are passed. Catholic organizations are essentially told they need to give the collection plate to the administrative assistant so she can buy birth control. 15 trillion dollars of debt can go through the ceiling, but the nation isn’t allowed to drill its own soil for oil.
As the race for the GOP nomination continues, the usual suspects will question whether Santorum’s social conservatism would weigh him down in the general election. Alan Colmes and MSNBC contributor Eugene Robinson infamously called the way the Santorum family dealt with the loss of their son Gabriel “crazy” and “weird” respectively, but the Obama administration’s attack on religious liberty apparently doesn’t generate newsworthy sound bites. Rick Santorum’s personal beliefs on the gay lifestyle are seen as a harbinger of nasty things to come, but the judicial activism of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is met with cheers out in California. In almost every facet of American life the left shifts the center under our feet. The correct response is not to play along to get along—it’s to pull back.
Ronald Reagan was “The Great Communicator” for a reason. He articulated conservative public policy in a way that resonated with all Americans. Correction: Enough Americans to win 49 of 50 states in a landslide victory in 1984. Instead of triangulating issues like minimum wage for unfriendly media, he laid out a principled conservative case before the American people, and by and large they followed. Today GOP nominees often appear to be vying to become “The Great Capitulator.”
If perpetual unemployment rates previously seen only in Europe are what we’re after, the GOP should pivot to the center. If attacks on religious liberties or financial implosions modeled after Greece are what we’re after, the GOP should pivot to the center. If a return to fiscal sanity and a limited government that respects religious institutions is what we want, a hard right will go a long way towards returning balance to the nation.
Update: Check out hotair’s take on “the pivot”.
Finally, someone with the brass to say this. Stated well, Douglas.
Thanks for the comment, Alan. I don’t know if I can recall anyone on television ever talking about a GOP nominee having to go more to the right. Their arguments are based on the false premise that the “center” of the country is static. It’s not.
Very well put,Douglas. Thanks. Shared.
Republicans, as a rule, are spineless cowards or they are unprincipled. They do the slide-to-the-center dance during election season, kowtow to the press, capitulate on bailouts, prescription drug benefits, and many other things. If they *literally* believe in economic and personal freedom they would vote differently. If you believe not spending your great-grandchildren’s money is literally important then you’d quit voting for it. I can’t think of but one candidate that actually has the conservative bona fide’s and votes consistently on principle without giving in and further ceding liberty and spending priorities to the left.
You’re right, Don. There aren’t many politicians in Washington right now that give me much hope. Hopefully there are enough guys like you out there who are talking to their friends to have an impact on the next election.