Conservatism’s Liberal Causes
On Wednesday during the week of the Republican National Convention an admitted liberal Democrat and AIDS activist got a call through to Rush Limbaugh during his nationally broadcast radio program. The caller had the profile that Limbaugh would regularly ridicule throughout the growth in his national popularity.
As the caller introduced himself and brought note to his liberal credentials he did not launch into an emotional diatribe and character assassination against Limbaugh or his political beliefs, but announced his praise of President George Bush for embracing his favorite cause of federal funding of AIDS programs both domestically and internationally. The caller applauded the president for having the courage to act where Democrats only paid lip service.
Limbaugh would not allow the caller to outdo him with praise of his favorite subject, President Bush, and contributed to his callers gushing by pointing out that the president has confounded Democrats by creating a new prescription entitlement where the liberals have always failed.
Such is the direction of conservatism when its expositors gain power over federal funds to use as a tool to preserve partisan incumbency.
The conversation between Limbaugh and his new liberal AIDS activist friend brought to mind a comment from a Clinton supporter, made during the weekend before Clinton’s 1992 inauguration, that Limbaugh assaulted routinely throughout Clinton’s presidency. When a formation of jets flew over a pre inauguration ceremony, the Clinton supporter, who, with Clinton, loathed the military, told a friend, “Those are our jets now.” Similarly Republicans, who quickly learned the value of using federal money to buy votes, are obviously thinking, about federal agencies they once targeted for annihilation, “Those are our bureaucracies now.”
In his acceptance speech at the RNC, Mr. Bush embraced the new conservative philosophy by declaring that, “... government must take your side,” by devoting revenues and agencies to educate children, sustain the health of the elderly, stabilize individual pensions, and train the working class to survive in a new job environment where no job is safe. His message was as utopian as anything Bill Clinton (or any other Marxist) could have spoken with two important distinctions – Mr. Bush plans to expand his conservative influence over our lives with tax cuts at every turn and wars without end.
Throughout his speech he accentuated his pledges with the diktat, “...and nothing will hold us back.” That may be so, but by expanding the size of the government while reducing the flow of revenues and committing American soldiers to fighting battles in a war with no defined enemy, victory, or end does not mean that everyone everywhere is going to be happy with the consequences of conservatives pursuing their utopian goals.
Before conservatives took power they recognized that there were consequences to policy decisions. Over-regulating business cut into profits and threatened to eliminate jobs. Increased taxes, they said, reduced the ability of businesses to hire employees. Federal intrusion into education hindered the influence of the teachers and communities that are most intimate with the needs of students. Plans to put federal control over the delivery of medical treatments was a power grab for 20 percent of the American economy that would harm those who needed medical treatment most.
That was then and this is now. Businesses that cannot survive in an environment that has been constructed to benefit transnational corporations are merely unable to navigate the economic laws of capitalism. Workers who cannot find jobs that pay decent wages are simply do not possess the vigorous work ethic of laborers in other countries who do much more for much less. Federal tests that target entire schools for elimination are a means of holding teachers and students accountable for learning. Families who fear losing its members to a war that was started for questionable motivations and has no foreseeable conclusion are unpatriotic. Of course, now that Republicans are controlling federal spending, deficits don’t matter.
The Republican Party has abandoned its promises to reduce the size of government and restore constitutional limits to the exercise of power. Now they have a leader that promises a greater expansion of federal power with the warning, “and nothing will hold us back.”
Conservatives have been abandoned for power lust and the privileges of incumbency. Mr. Bush may believe that, “nothing will hold (him) back,” but he still has to win an election. Those who are drawn to the promise of GOP conservatism might want to remember that its biggest cheerleader, Rush Limbaugh, now counts among his friends liberal AIDS activists and applauds new government entitlements.
September 8, 2004
Since 1993 Bob Strodtbeck has been writing commentaries for The Apopka Chief, a news weekly circulated in a community ten miles north of Orlando. His analyses investigate a wide range of topics from what he calls a “Christian pragmatic” view – that is to say, he considers that human interactions are largely driven by the human instinct toward self-service, which is traditionally known as sin. This perspective has given Bob great liberty to criticize governmental officials from both parties upon the standards of constitutional laws they swear to uphold and review cultural and economic phenomena from moral standards defined in the Bible. Bob currently lives in Orlando with his bride Pam and children Charlotte and Richard. He may be reached for comment here.