I’ve been reading and hearing a lot on Romney’s campaign strategy. I would like to say I was mostly satisfied with Romney’s candidacy. It was by far better than McCain’s in 2008. I thought he was our best candidate but certainly not an ideal one.
Romney won independents by 5 (50 percent).
Romney won those making 50k or more by 8 (53 to 45 percent).
He did exceptionally well with religious voters.
He won men by 7 (52 to 45 percent).
Romney lost to Obama with those making less than 50k and decidedly so against Hispanics and blacks both of which represent large numbers in this group. (All results be found at CNN’s election tables).
I’m reading and hearing a lot on how the GOP needs to campaign as a conservative party, that our candidates must campaign as a conservative. What I’m not reading or hearing is what exactly a conservative should campaign on or what exactly a conservative is. Sure the RNC platform is mostly a conservative document and, for the most part, gives a useful outline of its principles and opposition to their democrat counterparts. However, that still doesn’t get us the answer we are looking for.
Briefly, I am going to take a crack at this.
Is conservatism about social issues? Yes but not entirely.
Is conservatism about economic issues? Yes but not entirely.
Is conservatism about national security? Yes but not entirely.
Is conservatism about religious issues? Yes but not entirely.
Each of these questions can certainly be addressed and promoted by conservatism but so can they be by liberalism. Let me explain that point. Conservatism isn’t political or ideological. It is a philosophy rooted in fundamentals discovered from the wisdom of the ages. It isn’t a code or a categorical prescription to this or that issue. Conservatism is a guiding principle. That’s as far as it goes. It never intended to go any farther. Conservatism isn’t locked in to any one era or consumed by any one issue. Rather it has been useful in all eras and to all issues. The people of whichever era, the conservatives, used it according to the time and events in which they live. In other words, it defends and conserves those things that are worth value. People, society, and natural progression determine the value of those things, not conservatism.
Where conservatism is needed most is in the human element of society. Conservatism is the only philosophy that speaks to the individual. Some would say it is founded from human nature’s selfish-temperament. However, it is selfish-temperament that spawns innovation and upward mobility. It should not be used as a pejorative term. If each individual is doing his part, contributing his ounce to society, the better our communities, schools, governments and American life will be. Government support, while good in places, isn’t the answer to the moral collapse and lack of social capital plaguing our country.
The increasing number of people turning to government and the increasing role of government to provide, is not the New Normal. Rather it is because of the lack of an alternative, or at least an adequately explained alternative. It is insecurity and fear which is leading people to rely on government instead of their God given powers. Conservatism can fill this void but it must be articulated in a way that explains more about what it’s for as opposed to what it’s against. A government that does something is better than an alternative that seems to suggests nothing at all.
A government that can provide a little will always be far less to what a person can supply for himself. Conservatism, properly explained, is the only philosophy in America which can get people to see value in themselves. What we are lacking are practitioners that can explain conservatism in way that is empowering and uplifting. The individual strives toward liberty, security, and prosperity. We cannot have those things in addition to a burdensome government. Half of a country that relies on the other half is not a united country and it’s a recipe for disaster. A country where its individuals truly see themselves as equal to the next, either in success or opportunity, can only be achieved from emphasis placed on the individual, not statist agendas.
The conservative message to the individual is better than what is being offered now.