The declining value of the “Republican” and “conservative” political labels





In this nightmarish economy, we’re seeing a lot of things lose their value.  In recent years, we’ve also begun to see the decline in value of the “conservative” and “Republican” labels.

We used to have a clear idea of WHO was conservative:  Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, Jesse Helms, William F. Buckley, Margaret Thatcher.  Those folks saw great electoral success, brought a lot of new people into the conservative movement, and made it “cool” to be called conservative.

Consultants now tell Republicans you need to “moderate” in order to attract Democrat votes.   Helms & Reagan stood firm on their conservative principles and helped create thousands upon thousands of Reagan Democrats and Jesse-crats. 

 The difference between Republicans and Democrats was also much clearer:  Democrats favored the welfare state, while Republicans favored deregulation and tax-cutting.

Now, we have elected Republicans in Raleigh who declare Bev Perdue evil incarnate, but try to sell us the story that spending “only one percent” less than Perdue is conservative. 

In the GOP-controlled U.S. House, the top two Republican leaders are NOWHERE near the most conservative members of the body.

Congresswoman Renee Ellmers has founded a PAC called “Conservatives Restoring Excellence.”   Really?  She found one establishment publication that ranked her “the most conservative” member of the U.S. House delegation from North Carolina.

Yet, Heritage Action and The Club for Growth — bona fide conservative groups — say she only votes for deregulation and tax relief 59 percent of the time, making her actually one of the least conservative GOP members in our state’s congressional delegation (ahead of only Walter Jones).

In school, 59% is a failing grade.  Yet, among professional Republicans, 59% is apparently good enough to call yourself a “Conservative Restoring Excellence.”

Republicans, this year, are beating Obama over the head for handing off tax money to companies like Solyndra (run by Obama cronies, now bankrupt).  It makes great campaign rhetoric.  But, as The Cato Institute points out, you can’t get even get the GOP to kill off the federal program that produced the Solyndra debacle:

 […] These votes speak volumes about a member’s beliefs about the proper role of the federal government. A lot of members—especially Republicans—talk a good game when it comes to spending, limited government, free markets, etc. However, when the time comes to put their money where their mouths are, many choose to instead put other people’s money in the mouths of special interests. […]

Cato cites three recent votes to cut billions in federal subsidies to private businesses.   From the North Carolina delegation, ONLY Sue Myrick and Virginia Foxx were consistent in upholding their conservative principles.  The rest stuck with Boehner and Cantor and the special interests.  

We’ve got one of the worst global financial crises in nearly 100 years.  It requires some tough choices about government spending and taxation.  Yet, members of both parties in Congress and The General Assembly are just toodling right along with the spending, like there is NO problem.

It appears voters are suffering from Battered Spouse Syndrome.  We’ve been lied to and taken advantage for so long.

How much longer are we going to continue sitting back and accepting it?