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Paul Hayden

Moderates Just Don't Get It

November 24, 2008

In the aftermath of a terrible election, we conservatives can do one of two things: give up and put our heads in the sand, or get up off the mat and fight. If there's any chance for our long-term survival as a free nation, I think we had better choose the latter. Moderates in the Republican Party somehow don't see it that way-they believe the tide of history is sweeping the remnants of conservatism out to sea. I don't think words can express how wrong that thinking is.

Something that we've all heard before struck me in a new way when I read it again in someone's column recently. That is, Democrats have a built-in advantage over Republicans because Democrats believe in government, like government, and therefore tend to get involved with government on the local, regional and national levels. Republicans, on the other hand, are normally too busy making their way in the private sector to think much of government service. Our philosophy as conservatives is that government should, by its nature, stay small and stay out of our way. Why should we want to work for an entity that most of us view as a necessary evil?

Well, for one thing, the times we live in no longer permit us the luxury of sitting on the sidelines while our country goes bankrupt-not just in the economic sense but morally and spiritually as well. Although we may not have the same lust for political power that many Democrats have, we certainly have the desire to take our country back. And that just may have to be done brick by painstaking brick.

Unfortunately, this is what our "moderate" friends just do not get. A perfect example is the syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, who recently wrote an article decrying conservatives' desire to show her and other moderates the door. What, Kathleen seemed to be asking, happened to the "Big Tent?" Well, Kathleen, I think that big tent sprung a big leak quite some time ago.

For those of us who grew up in and still remember the 1960's, we can say with confidence that the left has moved ever more boldly leftward over the years, while the right has merely tried to stay in place. However, the purveyors of pop culture and modern media have been successful in convincing the masses that the vast moral decline, the coarsening of the culture and the increasing stridency of liberalism (things that are closely interrelated by the way) are in fact evidence of progressive enlightenment. It follows, then, that true conservatives can be portrayed as backward Neanderthals with the greatest of ease.

Everywhere we look these days, the cultural battle is being waged and, too often, our side is losing ground. Can moderates honestly say that they're OK with gay rights extremists trashing and intimidating the Mormon Church because that group had the audacity to support California's Proposition 8? How about with the Christian-based dating service E-Harmony caving to gay lobby intimidation and the lawsuit of a single gay person to create an offshoot service just for gays? How about the recent break-in and raucous interruption by militant gays of a service at an evangelical mega-church in Michigan, which by the way did not receive a shred of coverage from the local "mainstream" media, no doubt the result of gay lobby intimidation? These things and more were not even on our radar screens in the 1960s-for the most part they have shown up only in the last 10 years or so. What is it about the cultural stakes being so much higher now than ever before, don't the moderates understand?

Anyone who rightly fears for the future of this nation has to admit that by and large, the majority of Americans want a choice, not an echo when it comes to the political parties. Rush Limbaugh's parody of McCain's recent meeting with Obama was funny in part because there was a lot of truth in it. That is, the more they talked about their positions, the more they realized how much they had in common. Americans don't want a "lite" version of Democrats in their Republican candidates. If McCain's failed campaign isn't convincing, how about New England, RINO country if there ever was, which now has exactly zero Republicans in Congress.

Perhaps the most cogent argument against moderation since Barry Goldwater's famous quote, "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue," is George W. Bush himself. No matter how much even conservative pundits like George Will have tried to pretzel their logic by using the oxymoron "big government conservative" to describe the president, the fact is that Bush is a moderate who happened to do a few conservative things to prove he wasn't the same as his father. And just look at what all of the "reaching across the aisle" did for him.

Moderates need a serious dose of reality. If you can stop basking in the glow of an adoring drive-by media for just a moment, you'd see that you are nothing more than their useful idiots in fanning the flames of division in the Republican ranks. If you believe that moderates like John McCain and RINOs like Chuck Hagel are the future of the Republican Party, then you might as well lead what is left of the party off the nearest cliff. Rest assured that many of us won't be joining you, however.

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Copyright ©2008 Phil Perkins