Conservatives Rethink, Regroup

If the right-wing blogs and hate radio is to be believed, there is change brewing within the group of Americans who consider themselves Republican. There is talk that their party has been hijacked by a group of greedy politicians whose only concerns were to make life easier for them and their friends, and to keep power. Everything else was on the table, for sale to the highest bidder. If the right-wing blogs and hate radio is to be believed, this is the end of the neo-conservative “movement,” the movement that John Dean actually calls “Authoritarianism,” and that, my friends, is a very good thing.

This government was not interested in furthering the goals of conservatism, it was interested only in dismantling the social gains that have been made for ordinary citizens in the past several decades. This government passed supposedly sweeping education reform, then failed to fund it. It raised interest rates on student loans. It was apparently not concerned that our country was falling behind in the global community when it came to educating our children. This government made it harder for people when they became ill. We’ve all heard the statistics about what percentage of people who declared bankruptcy had health insurance when they became ill, then lost it and eventually lost their life savings as well. Instead of fixing this situation and helping people who were suffering with catestrophic health care issues, this government passed legislation that made it more difficult for these people to get a fresh start if and when they became well again. This government outsourced our jobs, allowed corporations to hand the ticket to the Federal Reserve when they couldn’t pay their promised pensions to retirees, and expanded government faster than any administration I can remember. This government, using the Terry Schiavo case as a platform, tried to pry its way into the personal decisions on life and death that families have to make every day. There are endless further topics along the same lines.

This is not conservative government.

The good news is that most of these right-wing blogs and even hate radio to a certain extent, is taking stock of where the conservative movement is right now, and is reevaluating what conservative government should look like. What I am hearing are points on which many conservatives and liberals such as myself can agree.

Government should be open and there should be a clear debate of all proposed laws and policies. Only the best ideas should get clearance. If we liberals fully believe in our ideals, we should not be afraid to put them on the table and to have them completely ripped apart and analyzed. If they are truly the best ideas and ideals, they will survive. If they are not, they will be shaped by conservatives and liberals alike into something that is best for this country. Perhaps the greatest weakness of the Bush administration was to close itself off to the best ideas and the best people because of fear or loyalty.

I think most modern liberals would also agree with the often-used phrase, “the government that governs best is the government that governs least.” It’s time to shrink government again. This was one of Clinton’s big goals in the early years of his presidency, and he was effective in reducing the size of government from the increases of the Reagan years. Since George W. Bush was installed by the Supreme Court, America has once again arrived at a point where it believes that the government is doing way too much.

Right-wing hate radio and FOX News has convinced most Americans that liberals are something they really are not. We have been demonized for almost two decades now, and with Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, and with hate radio having pegged her as a “San Francisco Liberal,” I hope America will see what a true liberal is. Contrary to popular thought, Nancy Pelosi will NOT have a problem with these “new conservative Democrats” that the right-wing hatemongers are claiming brought the Dems to victory in the House and Senate. This IS where the modern Democratic party is. I am perhaps more liberal than the modern Democratic party, but I have no problem with candidates being elected that oppose abortion or believe in the death penalty. They have a right to carry their constituents’ voices to Congress as much as any other representative. As a party though, we fight as a group to make both of these procedures unnecessary. Democrats are united on Pelosi’s “first 100 hours” issues — conservative and liberal Democrats alike. We welcome and encourage spirited debate.

It will be debated in the coming weeks and months whether or not America voted for investigations on Tuesday, but they certainly voted for change. Like many other Americans, I hope that change brings reconciliation between the two parties, and softer rhetoric. We’ll always have our differences, but contrary to the events of the past six years, we should put all these differences on the table, and have at it. Stonewalling the other side only serves to push the country backward. Many are talking cooperation after this election. We’ll see how long that spirit holds. The Democrats would do well to properly interpret the results of this election. People didn’t vote Democrat, they voted Change. If the Democrats bring real meaningful change to Washington, next election people will vote FOR Democrats.

In the meanwhile, I hope all the talk about conservatives reclaiming their party is true. Their party was hijacked, and then it was betrayed by these fake conservatives. Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter have sold true conservatives a fake bill of goods. Hopefully they’re the first ones thrown to the wolves now that the new conservative revolution (“conservative revolution?” what an oxymoron that is, eh?) appears near.I have a feeling that if true conservatives regain control of the Republican party, we can all start the real healing process that will bring this country back together again.

I am very hopeful this reconciliation started on Tuesday. I am happy the Democrats won, yes, but I am more happy that at least temporarily, both sides seem to be saying the right thing and trading olive branches.

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