Am I Still a Conservative?
Jay W. Cobb

I think what you’re finally realizing is that you’re conservative, but the Republican Party isn’t, and hasn’t been for a long time. Just hypothetically, what would a great conservative president look like in your mind? Someone who cut government spending? Gave the middle class a big tax cut? Reduced the deficit? Used American military might to preserve stability but didn’t get involved in nation-building? Pursued business-friendly policies that grew the economy and the stock market?

That’s not a hypothetical, that was Bill Clinton. And I’m sure as a longtime Republican, you’ve been trained from birth to viscerally hate Clinton, but everything the Republicans claim to stand for, Clinton actually followed through on. Whereas the president the GOP reveres above all others raised taxes seven years in a row, ramped up government spending, exploded the deficit, and cut and run in Lebanon.

Don’t listen to what the Republicans say. Look at what they do. They talk about small government, and they ramp up government spending every chance they get. Oh, sure, they’ll make a big show of cutting the fifteen cents a year you pay to keep PBS going, but look at the big picture: George W. Bush’s response to Al Qaeda was the largest federal bureaucracy in a generation. Obama’s was Seal Team Six. You tell me which one was more effective. Personally, I like the small-government solution.

Republicans fume about the deficit when a Democrat’s in office, but the minute they have the purse strings, “deficits don’t matter.” And they talk about keeping government out of people’s lives, but pursue horribly intrusive policies to keep the Christian Right on board.

Conservatives have a firm set of principles, which I may not always agree with, but I respect. Republicans have but one principle among them: the rich don’t have enough money, and the poor have too much. Everything else is either pandering, or loudly saying one thing while doing another.

So, I’m glad you’ve come to the point where you can make the distinction, because this country sorely needs more principled conservatives. But the last thing we need is more Republicans.

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