The conflict pits the
Bush Republicans against traditional conservatives. While both groups
give lip service to the term limited government and use the same
“conservative” label, they are very different creatures.
The Bush Republicans
advocate a “neo-con” approach to state power that critics fear is a
potential creeping fascist ideology disguised as conservatism. Secret
prisons, torture and unlimited detention in prisons without trial are
all examples of policies supported by the Bush Republican that outrage
both traditional conservatives and civil libertarians.
rely on the rule of law instead of personal rule by a strong leader or
leadership group. The Bush Republicans seem to believe that anything the
Bush Administration wants to do should be permitted because they claim
that they should be trusted not to abuse the power of their offices.
believe that the system of checks and balances should be strong enough
to survive good or bad White House or Congressional leaders. The Bush
Republicans seem to view the checks and balances system devised by our
Founding Fathers as obstacles to imposing their views on our government
The falsely named Patriot
Act should have been opposed by traditional conservatives. However, many
traditional conservatives have been reluctant to break with the Bush
Republicans over this measure.
since the Reagan era had come to see the Republican Party as the vehicle
to put conservatism in control of the federal government. They allied
themselves with the “neo-cons”, the so-called Christian Right and greedy
Corporate interests in the quest for power via the Republican Party.
Under Reagan, the
traditional conservatives were the dominate faction in the coalition.
Under Bush, they have become increasingly silenced and voiceless in
policy decisions. Only the conservative label remains in vogue.
Fear of being branded as
dreaded moderates or worst liberals have helped keep traditional
conservatives from fighting the Bush Republicans on policy decision
after policy decision. The huge budget deficits and exploding national
debt is as frightening to traditional conservatives in the Republican
Party as it is to liberals, moderates and conservatives in the
like Congressman Lincoln Davis (D- Tennessee) have been effective in
gaining support from both traditional conservative Republicans and
Democrats of all ideological stripes. Congressman Harold Ford (D-
Tennessee) seems to be doing the same in his campaign for the US Senate
seat being vacated by Bill Frist.
Fiscal conservatism has
become a very important element in Democratic election successes.
Restricting the invasions of privacy and erosions of freedoms guaranteed
in the Bill of Rights is another element of the appeal of many
Democratic candidates to traditional conservative voters.
It is clear that
traditional conservative need to start ignoring the Democratic or
Republican labels when voting. Issues matter. Policy positions and
actions matter more than empty words.
should be looking at the actions and beliefs of the Bush Republicans,
“neo-cons”, so-called Christian Rightists and greedy Corporatists and
deciding if these are the kind of people that should be using the
Written by Stephen
Crockett ( the moderate conservative co-host of Democratic Talk Radio