This weekend, I'll write more about "Cobb" (Michael Cobb Bowen), the Black conservative activist and his fine blog. Either this weekend or soon thereafter I'll write about the Gay Patriot blog and the two individuals who write there.
Today, however, I'm going to reprint a response I made to Larry about a column he wrote on his blog. He's a Huckabee supporter who's considering whether to support Sarah Palin for V-P. Larry and I differ about what it means to be a conservative in the context of American politics. Larry blogs at: http://larryperrault.blogspot.com/.
He believes people like George W. Bush, John McCain, and Rudy Giuliani are not "conservative" enough to merit the support of philosophical conservatives. I disagree. The key comments below deal with Heather Wilson, a congresswoman from Albuquerque, NM -- and one of my political "projects" (somebody I support unconditionally).
Even though the Democratic "base" -- or a good chunk of it -- is deluded about certain matters (such as GWB's supposed "complicity" in 9/11), the Democrats tend to be more realistic about politics than Republicans. Apparently, nine-out-of-10 Democrats are "satisfied" with their choices for President, all of whom are staunch liberals.
The major Republican candidates for President -- Giuliani, Huckabee, McCain, and Romney -- are all more or less conservative. (Note: Because Ron Paul, Tommy Thompson, Tom Tancredo, and Duncan Hunter have miniscule support, even in their home states, I'm removing their sites from my blogroll. I am not including Fred Thompson, because he appears to be having second thoughts about declaring for the presidency. )
A Mayor of New York (or a Governor of Minnesota, or a Governor of Alaska, or a Governor of Massachusetts) CANNOT be conservative in the same way as, say, a Governor of Georgia, Arkansas, or Oklahoma.
Mike Huckabee has been criticized for a supposed "liberal" tendency in supporting major road-building in Arkansas, which desperately needed roads. Sarah Palin has been criticized for following the direction of the Alaska Supreme Court and her attorney-general in regard to the provision of same-sex benefits for gay state employees.
Let's be realistic: if candidates don't get elected -- and Reagan knew this -- their "principles" tend to be little more than academic exercises. For example, one Republican woman I hope you and your blog visitors will look into is Heather Wilson, a congresswoman from the Albuquerque area. She's a graduate of the Air Force Academy, the first female veteran ever elected to Congress.
The district she represents is 43% Hispanic and "tends" Democratic. Every two years, the Democrats pour money into the district in attempts to defeat Heather (see the http://opensecrets.org link for financial details). She is very pro-life and against amnesty (in the dictionary sense of the word).
The candidates running against Heather are ALWAYS liberal Hispanics -- a male in 2004 and a female in 2006 . The Club for Growth extremists would not support Heather because she's not quite "conservative" enough for them. However, if Heather ran as a female version of Tom Tancredo or Ron Paul, she'd be soundly defeated, and the district would probably be in the hands of the Democrats until you and I reached the age of 110.
One reason Heather wins is that she's a great communicator. Her last male opponent (2004?) was opposed to capital punishment. She ran an ad that said, "Democrat Romero opposes the death penality for child molesters who kill their victims." And down Senor Romero went.
If you can't get things across in a sentence or two or three (at most), don't bother.
Overall, when we ask if a federal official is "conservative," we also need to ask, "Compared to what? (or whom)?" Note: The Wikipedia article on Heather is an exercise in liberal bias, although most of the isolated "facts" are correct. Overall, she's a remarkable woman and would be a better President than most of the people who've held that office.
As time goes on, more and more candidates are going to face the situation Heather does, with a heavy Hispanic component in their districts. In a little more than a generation, nearly half the people in the U.S. will be legal residents of Hispanic descent -- something the Tom Tancredos of the world won't tell you.
Even now, candidates can't win districts with a strong minority flavor if they start sounding like Wm. F. Buckley, Jr. (who's one of my heroes). Many years ago, Mr. Buckley ran for Mayor of New York. He got 13% of the vote.
Larry, you're critical of Rudy Giuliani, another one of my heroes. In the context of New York City, Giuliani was very conservative, one reason the Far-Left in that city hates him. He cut the murder rate in half. He ran the sex merchants out of Manhattan. He took a bankrupt city and restored it to financial health. He has said he will appoint "strict constructionist" judges (read: Roberts and Alito types). There's every evidence he would listen to an election-determing conservative running-mate, someone like Sarah Heath Palin.
Granted, the head of the Southern Baptist Convention has said he won't vote for Rudy. On the other hand, he has said he understands fully why many of his fellow evangelicals disagree with him. Specifically, he says they believe Giuliani is the only candidate tough enough to beat Hillary Clinton.
No, Rudy is not Mike Huckabee. But at the same time, Arkansas isn't New York. Without considering the context, we can't get any sort of handle on political reality.
At the present time, I'm directing all my efforts to ensuring that Sarah Palin is on the GOP ticket. I'm not indifferent to which candidate heads the ticket, but I'm prepared to support the Republican nominee. For obvious reasons, I strongly oppose the election of either Senator Clinton, or Senator Obama, or former Senator Edwards.
Stephen R. Maloney
In the comments section, Larry P. raises the Wonkette/Mayor Sam comments about Sarah Palin being "hot." Here's my responses:
I have been working on the Palin effort for about two months, and the first time I ever mentioned that she was attractive was on the radio last Saturday -- http://politicalpistachio.blogspot.com/ -- which is available on archive until tomorrow (I think). I find the whole "Wonkette"/Mayor Sam thing to be humorous actually, but hey, like Black activist "Cobb," I'm "old-school." To me, "hot" usually means crank up the air-conditioner.
We are in a new era, and I seem to know as much about YouTube as I do about the Swahili language. I watch the cable new channels, and they seem to have a lot about Paris -- not the town in the France but the celebrity in Hollywood. However, if Sarah being "hot," whatever that means precisely, helps her campaign, well, great. (Rush Limbaugh called my friend Diana Irey -- see her on her web site -- http://irey.com/ -- a "babe." She said her teenaged children howled with laughter!)
One thing that really appeals to me is that Sarah has a Mike Huckabee quality -- she takes on mega-challenges (like defeating an incumbent Republican and a Democrat former governor). Earlier, at a young age, she ran for Lt. Gov. and finished second because she couldn't raise enough money. Her victory in 2006 marked only the 14th time in American history that an incumbent governor -- Republican or Democrat -- has been defeated in a primary.
She's totally different from the traditional Republican approach, which tends toward grumpy older guys (can I mention Dick Cheney?). She's the anti-Hillary in more than just appearance. She has FOUR kids (3 girls), all of whom seem very normal. Plus, I hear, she's "hot." :-)
The Fred Barnes article, "The Most Popular Governor," which is on my blogroll captures Sarah perfectly. She has a mystical/religious sense of her role in God's universe, but her feet are planted solidly on Planet Earth. She's an evangelical Christian who's also an accomplished professional. Wow, what a combination!
Stephen R. Maloney