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Stepping back from the conservative abyss

By Frank Salvato
web posted February 11, 2008

"If you are looking at substance rather than if there is an 'R' or a 'D' after his name, manifestly, if he's our candidate, then Hillary is going to be our girl, because she's more conservative than he is..." – Ann Coulter on Hannity & Colmes

If conservatives and Republicans don't squelch their anger toward the apparent party nominee we will be falling into the trap the Liberal Left has set for us; the trap that splinters the conservatives within the Republican Party so that another Clinton (or Democrat) can get into the White House with less than a majority of the national vote. We will be acting emotionally instead of intellectually; exactly as the Liberal Left wants us to.

I support conservative principles and ideals. I would have enjoyed having a true conservative on the ballot in November because I believe, given the choice, the nation would have voted "right." But the reality of the situation, as it stands, is that dedicated conservatives don't have a horse in the November presidential contest. The choice now is this; do we fold altogether and literally hand the White House to a woman who idolizes the socialistic tenets of Saul Alinsky or an untested freshman senator with no political paper trail, or do we advance intelligently, salvaging what we can?

Anyone familiar with the American political process understands that politics is never, ever a zero-sum game. There is never a moment in time when one political party, one ideological group, gets its way completely. We are seeing a perfect example of this today on Capitol Hill with the debate and negotiations and compromises on the economic stimulus package and the FISA bill.

But the truth remains, those who enter into the realm of politics with absolutes usually leave the field with nothing. Most often, they leave the experience with their cause damaged; their ideological demise coming at their own hand for their failure to accept incremental advancement.

The sad truth of the matter is this; we – conservatives and Republicans – have only ourselves to blame for the fact that no true conservative is left to consider in November.

We only have ourselves to blame for the fact that when the Republican National Committee was busy stacking the New England deck in favor of Rudy Giuliani with the "winner take all" delegate fiasco they were doing it in plain sight; doing it with nary a protest from the rank and file. This set the stage for a Liberal-Republican victory.

Further, how did we – the rank and file members of the Republican Party – allow two major Liberal states, in New Hampshire and Iowa, to dictate who the "conservative" candidates would be? That the most conservative of states weren't slated for primaries first is the major problem here, not that McCain is a Progressive-Republican, although that can be argued.

Lastly, our refusal to accept and lack of appreciation for the notion of incremental victory is part of the problem.

There are many among the conservative and Republican ranks that have made it very clear they see no difference between John McCain and the Democrat candidates. In light of that notion I advance these concerns:

A Hillary Clinton Administration

A Clinton administration would move this country to the far left in four years, complete with a defunding of the military and the intelligence communities while abdicating much of our country's sovereignty to the United Nations when it comes to global policy. As was the case under the first Clinton administration, terrorism would be relegated to a matter of "law enforcement."

A Clinton administration would continue the corruption and liberalization of the whole of the Executive Branch (the State Department, the Justice Department, the Pentagon, etc.). It would continue to encourage the State Department to embrace its one-world, globalist policies, policies that have usurped the Constitution by ignoring the authority of Executive Branch under the Bush administration. This usurpation is perpetrated at the hands of many Bill Clinton appointees. We will also see a continued politicalization of the Justice Department as foes of the Clintons are scrutinized while their allies and benefactors go unprosecuted for their malfeasance – both financial and criminal.

And no doubt, Hillary Clinton would be tempted to appoint her husband, Bill Clinton, to the United States Supreme Court.

A Hillary Clinton administration would facilitate a continuation of the damage already perpetrated against our Constitution by her husband's administration.

A Barack Obama Administration

We have no actual record on which to judge Barack Obama (he destroyed his records from when he was an Illinois State Senator and he hasn't stewarded anything of substance in the US Senate) so we have to judge him at his word and deed.

Obama would be extremely weak on the global war against radical Islamism. He has stated that he would remove US forces from the field of battle in Iraq within 90 days of being sworn in, even as we stand at the brink of a great victory in the Iraqi theater.

Obama has parroted the very same "change" mantra – a false promise of hope – which Bill Clinton advanced in 1992, again without actually advancing a substantive policy or platform. This demonstrates that he is untested in his leadership and willing to use the tools of political opportunism to achieve his personal goals.

Perhaps most disturbingly, he has advanced a racial element in his presidential campaign that exhibits a willingness to divide in order to conquer, a most despicable trait in any politician.

Further, his deeds, statements and silence on select issues present serious questions about his ideology. The radical, afro-centric tenets of his church, Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, have never been adequately examined by the main stream media. Couple this with the fact that the leaders of the radical Islamist movement – Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri – have not issued fatwas against Obama for, not only being a Muslim apostate, but for being a Muslim apostate and aspiring to be the leader of "the Great Satan," the United States of America, and you have a plethora of troubling notions that most certainly cast a shadow on his candidacy.

It's About the Constitution

It is crunch time and paraphrasing a line from the film Top Gun, we cannot leave our wingman, even if his perceived liberalism alarms you. It's our responsibility to examine the realities of the situation and to construct a winning scenario, for it is our duty as American citizens to protect the United States Constitution. So, how do we make chicken salad out of chicken scratch?

  • First we focus on pressuring the McCain campaign and especially the Republican National Committee – and I mean applying pressure like we did to Congress and the White House over the immigration and border issue – into seating a true Conservative as McCain's running mate. This would minimize the damage caused by his candidacy with the prospective protest voters.
  • We stand behind the party candidate because he will provide an avenue to defend the Constitution, regardless of his perceived liberalism (having a partially open door to the Executive Branch is better than having a closed door).
  • We shift focus to Congress. We need to take back at least one chamber of Congress. If it is to be only one then it must be the Senate. The Senate controls United States Supreme Court nominations, judicial nominations and treaty and accord approvals. If we can attain control of both houses we can effectively govern through opposition (ala Daschle and Reid) and can even advance agendas just as we did in 1995 with Newt Gingrich at the helm.

If we focus our efforts on Congress and John McCain loses the presidential election we will have control of at least one chamber of Congress. If we focus our efforts on Congress and McCain wins conservatives in Congress will be able to institute a policy of supporting McCain in his conservative positions and opposing him in his liberal ones, empowering that opposition with the ability to over-ride a veto should Republicans take back the House.

Ironically, this will move to re-establish the Constitutional delineation between the branches of government.

The reason it is so important to have "R" behind the name in the White House, even a perceived Liberal-Republican's name, is that it sets up an incumbent-like stage for conservatives in the next election cycle. As everyone knows, it is easier to run a political campaign as an incumbent -- or from an incumbent-like platform -- than to challenge.

Ideological Optimism

I do not believe the conservative movement to be one that is dying. I believe we have an enormous amount of work to do and that we will have to be smart this election cycle to make sure we aren't "zeroed-out" altogether, but I do not believe we are seeing our last days.

The immediate concern facing the conservative movement is the restructuring of the Republican primary process. We must make sure that the most conservative states are positioned to affect the most influence over slating our candidates. This can be achieved by promoting a primary schedule that rewards states with early primaries based on their pro-Republican/pro-conservative voter turnout from the most recent presidential election. This would serve as a catalyst for maximizing voter turnout by the state parties and would discourage crossover voting. It would also assure that Conservative voters have the most influence in the selection of national candidates.

Perhaps I'm being optimistic or perhaps I just trust in the ability of future generations to grasp the logic of the American ideal when it is presented to them in language they can understand. But the key to re-establishing the American ideal -- where conservatives and Liberals alike are free to pursue the advance of their ideologies -- is our youth. We must be smart enough to be able to take one step back and two steps forward. Investing in the next generation, in the next election, in achieving what we can and positioning ourselves for future victories is being smart.

Dedicated conservatives are taking a shot in the teeth this election cycle and we only have ourselves to blame. We aren't cohesive and we are in danger of achieving total defeat should we remain so. But now is not the time to bury conservatism. Now is the time to be smart, to take the best we can get, to achieve the best possible outcome that can be attained. Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama in the White House, for all the reasons cited, if not for only one of them, is reason enough to make sure that we come together this election so we can operate from a position of strength in 2012.

Now, take some St. John's Wart and get back in the saddle. From the ashes rises the phoenix. ESR

Frank Salvato is the Executive Director and Director of Terrorism Research for Basics Project a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(C)(3) research and education initiative. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His organization, Basics Project, partnered in producing the first ever national symposium series addressing the root causes of radical Islamist terrorism. He also serves as the managing editor for The New Media Journal. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel and is the host of the NMJ Radio show broadcast global on NetTalkWorld global talk radio and broadcast live on BlogTalk Radio. He is a regular guest on The Right Balance with Greg Allen on the Accent Radio Network, syndicated on over 25 stations nationally and on The Captain's America Radio Show catering to the US Armed Forces around the world, as well as an occasional guests on radio programs across the country. His opinion-editorials are syndicated nationally and he is occasionally quoted in The Federalist. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at newmediajournal@comcast.net.


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