One of the reasons I am a conservative is that liberals are the ones who think good intentions are sufficient regardless of real world results. Now Ted Cruz has brought this same sort of foolishness into the conservative camp. Channeling Otter from the movie Animal House, he apparently determined that the looming implementation of Obamacare required a “really futile and stupid gesture.” So he pushed for a default on the national debt to stop it. It had no chance of getting the desired result and it would have destroyed the economy and markets if it had happened.
Thus he destroyed his credibility and disqualified himself as a national leader. And yet, he has an army of followers who urge him on. Apparently, Don Quixote lives and he is a member of the Tea Party. In addition to being an oxymoron, reckless conservatism is a reflexive tic that survives only on hatred of President Obama. It isn’t a philosophy that deserves to govern the nation.
Cruz Is No Ronald Reagan
So Cruz has started to invoke himself as the next Ronald Reagan. Unbelievable!
Ronald Reagan was caricatured by the leftist establishment as being a reckless cowboy, but the people listened to him and realized he was just talking common sense. He wasn’t a conservative absolutist, but a sensible conservative who appealed to those who disagreed with him. His message was optimistic and inclusive, as evidenced by his shining-city-on-a hill ethos. This was how he won 2 elections. I was 14 years old in 1979 and was cheerleading him to victory in 1980 all the way.
Ted Cruz has made himself into a liberal’s caricature of a conservative that has lost touch with reality. He shouldn’t be trusted with an ounce of power. And I say all of this as a real conservative who very much hopes the Republican party realizes it must adapt its conservative principles to the electorate that exists in the country today.
As William F. Buckley said, I am for the most conservative candidate that can win. And it really should go without saying, but I am for a responsible conservative that thinks through his strategies and looks to their real world effects. Burning down the house in order to save it isn’t a conservative strategy, it is madness. It seems to be Mr. Cruz’s one and only tactic, aside from invoking himself as the second coming of Ronald Reagan.
The Fragmentation of the Media Has Harmed the Conservative Movement
My only explanation for the negative and uncompromising outlook of so many current supposed conservatives is the fragmentation of the media (talk radio, Fox News Channel, Glenn Beck, et al) that means extreme positions expressed in black and white terms get ratings. So the people in these little self-reinforcing filter bubbles compete to say things in more and more uncompromising ways.
The combination of confirmation bias and an absence of opposing thoughts causes an atrophy of common sense. There is no one there to call BS and argue a counter point. So this tends to make participants feel very right about everything, and to view their opposition as not just misguided, but evil. And who wants to waste time trying to convince evil people that you are right? Not only that, but it causes them to be uncompromising. After all, how can you compromise with evil? And anyone who advises anything but confrontation is labeled a RINO.
Meanwhile, Back in the Real World
Earth to Republicans and conservatives: in a democracy, you advance your positions by winning elections. And you win elections by putting forth optimistic and inclusive messages and policies that appeal to a broad coalition of the public. How is that so hard to understand?
If you think it is a virtue to be uncompromising and to lose elections, then blame yourself for enabling the other party to rule unchallenged. This is what kills me: most of the blame for the existence of President Obama’s second term should go to many of the very people who think he is a disaster. At the very least, they are responsible for the dismal showing in the Senate in the last election.
Conservatism Needs Another William F. Buckley, Jr.
I was a big fan of WFB and his show Firing Line. The current situation calls for someone like him who practices an intellectual brand of conservatism. The Republican Party benefited from him discrediting the crazies like the John Birch Society and making conservatism respectable for the ordinary voter.
We desperately need someone like that at present to offer constructive criticism of some of the more outlandish nonsense pushed by supposed conservative thinkers who are just trying to stir the pot and get ratings. These self-interested provocateurs should be called out for their idiocy.
I guess if Ted Cruz can call himself the next Ronald Reagan, then someone else could take on the mantle of being the next WFB. Please God, let there be a great and good man or woman with a towering intellect and a desire for nothing but the best for the country to come forward and fill this role.