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Who Will Resurrect Conservatism?

April 6, 2009


With the dawn of each new day, America is affronted by yet another outrage from the Obama Administration and its lackeys on Capitol Hill. In response, the people of the heartland are increasingly vocal in their anger and opposition to the premeditated dismantling of our once-great country. The simmering "backlash" is real and will continue to grow and generate political momentum for the right, so long as conservatives remain focused on the significant issues. Nothing should be allowed to dilute or distract them from the correct priorities.

Unfortunately, a seemingly fitting and proper concern is doing just that. Too many conservatives are looking for that mythical political "leader" who will suddenly appear on the national scene to take up the standard of conservatism and advance it against the onslaught of the Obama hordes. And while such a battle does indeed need to be fought, it is unproductive and dispiriting to dwell on the notion that any one individual, unblemished by past baggage and thus immune to the wholly predictable media character assault, might magically materialize to coordinate and lead this fight.

For starters, it must be conceded that among the field of conservatives, no mere mortal will ever pass muster with the liberal media. Certainly, no one ever has. Too many conservatives lost their zeal for Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in the wake of those blistering media attacks on her, simply because they believed the bad press thereafter rendered her as "damaged goods."

Likewise, the effort to erase Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal from the national scene, because he ostensibly did poorly in his response to the Obama state of the union show, was in reality a preplanned liberal/media strategy that would have been implemented, no matter how flamboyantly Jindal had countered Obama's scripted and staged event. Sadly, Republican "moderates" accepted the liberal assessment of Jindal far too easily.

If media disparity is all that is necessary for the conservative base to be scattered and dispersed, it is guaranteed that nobody on the right will ever move into the limelight without receiving this inevitable scrutiny. And at that point they will just as inevitably be found wanting, and marked for rejection at the behest of the liberal establishment.

Such a scheme is, in itself, nothing new for the left, but has been standard operating procedure for several decades. Consequently, its only chances for success depend on encouraging a mindset among conservatives to believe and embrace such propaganda. Conservatives hold the keys to their own successes and failures. What may have changed, and thus requires immediate attention, is the growing willingness to trust the judgment of liberal critics.

Consider the primary icon of conservatism during the past half-century, Ronald Reagan. His legacy is now universally upheld among conservatives as the epitome of the "glory days." Yet even he was never beyond the reach of unscrupulous and often fabricated castigation on the nightly news. In fact, bludgeoned incessantly by the media prior, during, and even long after his terms as president, Reagan's virtues were hardly considered universal or self-evident until the very recent past.

In truth, the media disparaged him in the severest of terms, only conceding anything worthy on his part long after he had left the White House. And that concession was itself not a true recognition of his merit as President, but only a means of highlighting the comparative lack of any individual of a similar stature in the current field of conservative notables.

Reagan was long considered too "extreme" by party regulars to rally Middle America. As a result, he lost the 1976 presidential primaries to the perennially insipid incumbent Gerald Ford. It is entirely likely that Reagan's success in 1980 would never have ensued, were it not for the resurgence of American self-awareness that resulted from the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979, and Jimmy Carter's consistent bungling of that episode.

Throughout his term as president, Reagan's policies and directives were invariably treated as dire assaults on the fabric of America, or as possible catalysts to world war and the end of humanity. Political opponents such as House Speaker Thomas "Tip" O'Neill (D.-MA) described him as wholly ignorant, and diplomat Clark Clifford called him "an amiable dunce." The term "Reaganomics" was concocted in a disparaging effort to blame his fiscal policy for the economic downturn of the early 1980s.

Perhaps most significantly, throughout the entire Reagan era, from his ascendancy to the "sunset" of his presence on the national scene, the predictable cadre of Republican "moderates," from 1980 rival John Anderson to his successor George H.W. Bush, sought to soften and undermine his conservatism, redounding ultimately to their own political harm.

Second only to Ronald Reagan as a conservative pillar during the past three decades was former Georgia Congressman and one-time House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Yet like Reagan, Gingrich was hardly the assured standard bearer of the conservative movement before its coalescence among the "grassroots" as a repercussion of Bill Clinton's 1992 victory.

As Republican Minority Whip beginning in1989, Gingrich was virtually unknown to most of Middle America prior to his 1994 "Contract with America." Possessing neither the physical stature nor the charisma to engender pop-culture enthusiasm, and disparaged by the media as a heartless neanderthal, Gingrich only rose to prominence as it became evident that America was stridently rejecting the liberal/socialist offensive of President Clinton.

Riding the tidal wave of conservative public sentiment that swept the nation in the 1994 elections, Gingrich was at once the leader of the conservative movement and the quintessential villain of the left. Yet despite an all-out attempt by the left to politically destroy him, Newt Gingrich's vision resonated with the people of the nation and inspired them, for at least as long as he was willing to brave the media firestorm and stay on message.

In the admittedly dire straits where America currently finds itself, it seems to many that the only hope of political salvation must come with the advent of a new and remarkable conservative leader. Yet such a scenario, originating from the top and filtering down to the grassroots, is in actuality the modus operandi of the left, not the right.

The shriveled reality behind the immense Obama mystique stands as inarguable proof. Here is an iconic "rock-star" of liberalism that in truth is strictly a media creation. As a result, despite his ostensibly "messianic" persona, a serious media analysis could totally deflate his presidency in a matter of weeks. Could any conservative icon, having ascended to prominence under similar circumstances, ever expect to be immune to a similar fate?

A rebirth of real conservatism, emanating not from one charismatic individual but from the people of real America, who are resolved to accept nothing less, will be the defining element that inspires and motivates committed conservatives in the political realm. "We the People" must convey our conviction that the cause is just and right, and that they who honorably represent us will receive the support they need to carry on the fight.

Copyright ©2009 Christopher G. Adamo

Christopher G. Adamo is a resident of southeastern Wyoming and has been involved in state and local politics for many years. He writes for several prominent conservative websites, and has written for regional and national magazines. He is currently the Chief Editorial Writer for The Proud Americans, an advocacy group for America’s seniors, and for all Americans. His contact information and article archives can be found at www.chrisadamo.com, and he can be followed on Twitter @CGAdamo.

 


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