Bush Can't Win the Conservative Vote
By Donald (R.J.) Carroll
Note: As you are aware, Democratic Underground does not
normally publish articles by conservatives. However, Mr. Carroll
asked us if we would consider publishing his article, and
while you may disagree with some of his assumptions, we thought
that this article would definitely be of interest to our readers.
When addressing the public, it is important to know your
audience. You, the audience for this article, are liberals.
What I know about liberals is that they don't know the extent
to which we conservatives are obsessed with semantics. Not
in the same way liberals are, in that politically correct
sense, but we are preoccupied with accuracy of labels, regardless
of how the labels make people feel. America is not a Democracy,
for example, it is a Republic. All people work, not just the
working class. A lot of conservative philosophy is dictated
by this focus on semantics.
What do semantics have to do with why Bush can't win the
conservative vote? Simple - Bush is not a conservative, he
is a Republican. And Republicans aren't necessarily conservative.
You, my liberal audience, may not see this distinction or
why it is an important one. It is important, however, and
it is of the utmost of importance to Bush's reelection campaign.
It is important in politics to 1) understand your party's
political philosophy, and 2) to gain the support of your base.
George II has failed on both of these basic criteria, and
both for the same reason. Bush has forgotten that the political
philosophy of the Republican Party has historically been conservative.
To be conservative, by definition, a party has to do something
which bares some similarity to what a conservative would do.
Growing the government through social programs, bloated military
spending, unjust injection into foreign theaters of war, un-American
attacks on civil liberties - all of these are completely contrary
to the philosophy of any conservative.
So, they call Bush and his ilk neo-conservatives. This means
nothing; it is a bastardization of conservative values for
political purposes. There is no neo-conservative political
philosophy. The only thing new about Bush's conservatism is
that it is 1930's liberalism revived in the new millennia.
Liberals will, understandably, disagree that Bush is a liberal.
If we look at it through a proper lens, however, it is clear
that his policies regarding the size and scope of government
do not indicate a philosophy that has one foot in a belief
in the Republican form of government and the other in anarchy.
Clearly Bush has religious beliefs that would best be described
as conservative, but that is theological philosophy and not
political. Conservatives do not have to be religious at all,
much less fundamentalist; Iím a staunch conservative and an
atheist at the same time.
So, George Bush fails to understand the conservative political
philosophy which he purports to support. He believes that
conservative values are built around heterosexual marriage,
supporting religion, and maintaining a strong foreign presence.
In reality conservatives, like liberals, are not of one voice
on the issue of homosexual marriage, religion is best left
to the individual, and America should only become embroiled
in foreign conflict when it is absolutely unavoidable.
Due to his failure to understand and properly represent
the philosophical beliefs of the conservatives in this country
Bush II has alienated his true base in favor of imposters
who have convinced the media and the Republican Party that
they are the voice of American conservatives. Those imposters
are the Religious Right. Bush is a theologian before he is
a conservative (in a political sense) and because of that
philosophical choice on his part, true conservatives like
me could not possibly vote for him. True political conservatives
have no more desire to be held down by the dogma of a theocracy
than we have to be held down by an overly intrusive socialist
government. With Bush II we get both, a theocracy and socialism.
What Bush has done is to create a nightmare for political
conservatives and a heyday for religious zealots and big government
So, will Bush win in November? I can assure you that if
he does, it will not be because conservatives supported him.
We conservatives have been relegated to voting for Independents,
Libertarians or Reform Party members this time around. If
Bush wins in 2004 it will be because of conservative Democrats
who cross over because they like the social programs, and
religious conservatives who don't care about anything except
maintaining their stranglehold on American social interaction.