I think that there are two kinds of conservatism these days: political conservatism and social conservatism. I’m the former, and I have no problem with the latter. I even identify with a lot of the things the latter espouses.
The problem I see with politics these days is that liberalism and social conservatism are in a battle because both sides seem to have forgotten that the essence of freedom is to live and let live and not forcibly inflict your personal beliefs on others.
The GOP currently seems occupied on promoting the social conservative agenda, while paying lip service to political conservatives. It also seems to be making an effort to take away the social agenda of the Democratic party.
It does a poor job of being all things to all people. It’s got the worst of what I fear in Democrats (big intrusive government that “takes care of me”) it intrudes along moralistic lines, and really the only thing I identify with is the strong foreign policy.
The Republican party remains (and will continue to remain) in power so long as it can keep up the illusion of being all things to all people. I think this is made easier by the general incoherence of the Democrats/liberals who really have failed to articulate just what it is they stand for. Recently, they don’t stand for much other than trying to regain power and undermine the Republicans.
In my opinion the Democrats have put themselves in a terrible position. By automatically taking the opposite tack as the Republicans they depend on failure or the appearance of failure to win power.
They can only win back power if Iraq, foreign policy, of the economy fall apart. They find themselves in the inauspicious position of rooting against their country or of at least trying to portray the country as on a path to ruin.
Unfortunately for them, the economy is doing very very well, and it appears that conquering a third world country is going to prove (just barely) within the scope of the adminstration’s competance, so I think this is a losing strategy.
I think they know it, too, generally speaking. The Democrats tend to be bitter and focussed on criticizing and complaining and looking for scapegoats. The common thread of the Democratic party’s out put has been to cry “Cheater!” The Republicans stole the 2000 election. They waged an illegal war in Iraq, they stole Ohio in '04. They waged an illegal campaign to asassinate Kerry in '04. They are doing illegal wiretaps, illegal detention, unfair judicial appointments, bully tactics. “Cheater! Cheater! Cheater!”
In the end though, nobody really likes a whiner, and you need a coherent political agenda to win elections and gain back power. The Democrats know this and they are desperately trying to come up with one. The problem is that they are trying to come up with a winning agenda. As a result, it is always changing based on what they think will work or be popular. What they need to do is not tell us what they are against, but to stand up for what they are for. Not because it will be popular, but because they believe it.
It is this political environment that the Conservative finds himself in today.
The Republican party is a false friend and the Democrats are an incoherent, disgruntled, and disorganized enemy.
The funny thing is that I don’t know where all these nutjob conservatives/right wingers are. I have lots and lots of conservative friends, and none of them really beleive in pushing religion by legislation or in bigger government.