I turned off the radio today and it won't be back on for a while. My mornings of talk radio enjoyment have ceased. Except for one. The one still in good favor is Bill Bennett. Dr. Bennett, a true Reagan Republican, is a happy warrior. He doesn't denigrate or doesn't believe the Republican party will benefit from being punished for its current state.
Conservative talk radio has taken a nasty turn. We are eating our own and it is not a good plan of action. What happened to Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment - Thou shall not speak ill of fellow Republican? Please note - Reagan said Republican, not conservative. Ah, there's the rub in my party today. For all those bound and determined to channel Reagan in today's political arena, I think a bit of reflection is due.
My party, the Republican party, was founded on basic principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility and entrepreneurship. We are a conservative party by definition. The Republican party has pandered to social conservatives for several election cycles now and we are paying the price. As long as the Republican candidate was pro-life and wore his religion on his sleeve, all was well. Case in point? President George W. Bush. He has destroyed my party.
It is a sad time for my party. I voted for President Bush, twice, and voted for him as my state's governor before that. I knew who he was and that he worked well with both sides of the political aisle in Austin. The lt. governor was a democrat and they had a mutual admiration society going between them.
Here's what happened - President Bush went to Washington, D.C. and wanted to work with everybody. He teamed up with Teddy Kennedy to push education reform. Doesn't get more liberal than that. He worked with the likes of Tom Daschle to push through a new medicare prescription program. On November 20, 2001 he named the Dept of Justice's main building after Robert F. Kennedy, on the day of what would have been his 76th birthday, to commemorate RFK's days as Attorney General. He continues to try even today to work with the left. He is only rewarded with contempt from them but he tried.
After the attacks of 9/11/2001 and the need to go offensive in the war on radical Islam, all kinds of craziness has developed in this country. It is fashionable to call the President and his administration every name in the book, whether on our own soil or foreign soil, major newspapers feel emboldened to publish national security secrets, enemy combatants are held in a prison with all the creature comforts plus more. Even the International Red Cross has to admit there is no brutal treatment of prisoners. Socialists like George Soros have spent millions of dollars to keep the President out of office and failed. Now he will begin running tv ads berating the Republican party next week and continue on until election time to help the opposition party in November.
George Bush, like Harry S. Truman, is not polling favorably with the American public. So be it. He has made mistakes. He betrayed the party with his immigration reform debacle and the conservatives will not move forward, though they won the issue with the battle cry being led by talk radio last summer. I didn't agree with the administration's plan either. Senator John McCain, now running for the presidential nomination, was a force behind the legislation in the Senate. The conservatives are determined to punish McCain now.
This is not to plead McCain's case. He has sponsored other legislation I didn't agree with and he has to answer for that, too. I was against McCain/Feingold/Thompson at the time. That is another bone of contention within the party. Yet, the fact that Thompson was an original sponsor of the bill didn't matter much to social conservatives pinning the label of 'true Conservative' on Fred's lapel. It is all McCain's cross to bear.
Here's where we are now. Like Peggy Noonan and her new column in today's WSJ.com, I think the race is now between McCain and Romney. Both good men. Both honorable. Both solid Republicans. There are some differences and it will be coming down to who can win in November against Hillary. That is the realism of the race now.
So, compare the two. From my viewpoint here are some contrasts I see: McCain came into elected office during the Reagan revolution. Romney didn't support either of Reagan's runs. McCain has always been pro-life, the holy grail for social conservatives, and Romney is a convert to the issue. McCain is a military veteran and American hero. Romney is not a veteran, with his strength being in economics. Both are in longtime marriages with many children. Both pledge to nominate conservative judges to the bench. Both have gotten the message about illegal immigration and pledge to build the fence and enforce current laws first.
I don't think either would harm the Republican party. That fact infuriates the ideologues in the Republican party. You see, I am a moderate. There are those in the Republican party that consider themselves a conservative first, then a Republican. Bless their hearts. I'm a lifelong Republican, born into a Republican household in the Deep South in the middle of the 1950's. That was almost unheard of at the time. When my parents moved to southern Mississippi in 1950 and registered to vote, they were told they had to register as Democrats to vote. There was no state Republican party of note. So, I don't take kindly to those so short sighted or politically ignorant as to get on their high horse and say that the Republican party must be purged of moderates or RINO's, their favorite name to sling. This was my party long before it was the party of the 'religious right' voters.
Being a single issue voter, whether it is the life issue, the immigration issue, or the Jesus issue, does not move our country forward. Talk radio is angry that McCain has gathered steam in the race and could get the nomination. McCain was wrong on immigration reform and on McCain/Feingold/Thompson. We all get it. He gets it. He has admitted that campaign finance reform has brought results he didn't intend, he admits he was wrong on the illegal immigration issue, and he states he voted against the Bush tax cuts because they didn't include spending cuts. He is in favor of renewing the tax cuts and making them permanent.
President Bush will go down in history with a legacy of beginning the war on extremist Islam. That will be historically significant. It will be his legacy and that is good. The rest of his two terms have been spotty at best. His tax cuts have kept our economy strong, even today when the defeatists would have you believe we are in recession. The chairman of the Federal Reserve said he didn't think we would reach a recession, but that didn't matter. We have had consistent quarters of growth each year, a record, yet you would think we are approaching the Great Depression. We are at war. We have deficits. That's how it goes.
Not voting is not an option. I studied civics as a school girl. It's a shame that class is no longer taught. Our children are poorer for it. My father was a veteran of the Korean War. My husband of the Vietnam War. Too much blood has been spilled to not vote. And I won't waste it outside my party. Being a party person is honorable.
Politics is about winning. If your party is not in power, your agenda is not on the table. It is as simple as that. I don't want a socialist nation. I don't want further attacks on our soil. I want as much of our money as possible to go into our bank account. I want judges on the bench that know how to read the Constitution and not put their own agendas into law. This isn't rocket science.
More music. Less talk radio.