Why Bush Can't Win the Conservative Vote
February 13, 2004
By Donald (R.J.) Carroll

Editor's 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 Republicans.

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.