What happened to the conservatives?

For all the frustration we place at the feet of the Democrats (not ending the war, not turning the corner on health care, not pursing aggressive solutions to the climate crisis, etc.) lately I've started to wonder about Republicans. What happened to the conservative ethic? Wasn't it one of their central themes? Where are they when it comes to conserving our natural environment? Seems they'd rather sell it to the highest bidder. Perhaps any conservative instinct is overshadowed by a rigorous belief in the market. John McClaughry of the Ethan Allen Institute argued recently in a letter to the Free Press that he didn't believe all the hype about global warming being the result of human activity. Who cares? Put aside the connection if you don't accept it. At the end of the day, doesn't the conservative in you believe we should use less energy? Isn't it conservative to save people money on their energy bills? We can debate the root cause of our problem or we can simply use less energy and save money. Really, why are we arguing? Health care is similar in that the solution we populists demand ought to appeal to conservative values. Shifting to a universal, tax-funded health care system that covers everyone is the only proven way to reduce spending on health care. Want to keep spending twice what other countries spend per person? Well then keep up the status quo. And the war. I could fill pages yelling about the war. I'll spare you, but I do have to ask - how does a real conservative feel about having already spent half a trillion dollars in Iraq - that's $500,000,000,000.00 in case the visual helps. How in the world does that jibe with conservative principles? Is it justified because of our need for oil? If so, please see paragraph #2 - isn't it more conservative just to use less oil and save more money in the first place? Heading into an election year Progressives have a terrific opportunity in Vermont. We can take advantage of the disappointment many feel at the lackluster performance from Democrats in Montpelier and Washington. And, perhaps more important, we should be mindful of the deep betrayal Bush and Co. have handed Republicans. By framing issues through the conservative lens populists can turn the political spectrum on it's head. Progressives have always believed in spending money cautiously and effectively. We are a frugal group. I think it's a natural for us to reach frustrated Republicans and Democrats alike. Don't forget - even in Vermont where we do better than average, a lot of people don't bother to vote. I'm willing to bet an effective campaign could increase turnout and launch the beginning of a new era in political coalitions. Instead of ignoring tough questions and downplaying looming problems we have to get down to work - face to face with all sorts of opinions and hash out an agreement. Waiting much longer isn't a good option and I'm betting conservatives out there agree.

Comments

[...] Anyways, I was over at

[...] Anyways, I was over at the Progressive Party blog trying to find out more info on Anthony Pollina’s announcement that he’s running for governor, and was reading Chris Pearson’s What happened to the conservatives?, where I stumbled across this comment from Hoffer: [...]

"Bush isn’t really a

"Bush isn’t really a conservative, neither is Douglas. But they are getting votes from conservatives" Chris is this because of social conservative values? The 1 to 3% of the citizens have enjoyed Bush because they have been able to get huge tax breaks but for the rest of Conservatives is it social policy of making our families stronger through measures that seperate instead of glue us together. If so how can Progressive Party retake the meaning of values and family values? Through the workers and benefits for children? Just a thought. I want social programs that are right the first time unlike Catamount when we could of saved capital by examining the health care plan from Mass. I do not care if we tax and spend; I care that what we create as a society towards equality is done right the first time in order to save money in the long run. Never happen because the Dems and GOP have its hands sooooo deep into hands of companies that what we do get in Vermont is always a water down copy of the real thing. And yes I mean the Dems and GOP have its hands in companies pockets not the other way around.

Present day "conservatives"

Present day "conservatives" like Mr. McClaughry are fierce (irrational?) proponents of "market-based" solutions. Simply put, they hate government and resist any and all policies & programs that will increase the role of government - especially policies & programs likely to help working people. The worst case scenario for these guys would be successful government programs because that would reinforce the idea that government can be a force for good. They actually want programs to fail because it will make voters less likely to believe the next proposal might actually work.

And of course the tax game feeds all this very nicely. Cut taxes on the rich; reduce government revenues so it's harder to solve problems; tell people government IS the problem and then people learn to hate government too. Thus, proposing a "government run" health care system MUST be insane. "They" can't do anything right so why should we let them do this? And so on.

That is the source of the bizarre contradiction we're living with now. Many "conservatives" have been elected to run governments but they really don't want to govern. Like Grover Norquist, they want to privatize everything and drown government in the bathtub.

This is exactly the reason

This is exactly the reason that Pollina, and other progressives, do well in traditionally republican areas of the state. Many Rs in Vermont know that their party left them 100 years ago when they decided to work for big business rather than working folks. Left them again 50 years ago when the worked to peel off the racist wing of the Democratic party. And left them in the last two generations with their embrace of "voodoo economics" and the astounding deficits they bring. Their loyatly to the party of their grandparents won't let them vote Democratic, but they don't have the same block when progressives run on the issues that Chris highlights.

If Anthony Pollina runs I

If Anthony Pollina runs I hope that it can be stressed that Progressives aren't tax and spenders. The ones I know are frugal with our tax dollars. They just want those dollars spent appropriately. At a recent forum the Democratic representive on the panel tried to paint Anthony as a radical. That's the case his opponents will try to make. We need to force them to tell us what makes Anthony a radical? Health care for all is a radical notion? Sound energy policy is radical? A fair tax policy is radical?

That is my point - Bush isn't

That is my point - Bush isn't really a conservative, neither is Douglas. But they are getting votes from conservatives. The media and pundits tend to think of Progressives as going after disgruntled Democratic voters. I think we can get many of them and lots of frustrated Republicans...and I think it could translate into victory.

I disagree with Bush being a

I disagree with Bush being a conservative. I understand where you are going. Bush and his followers are neo's. The only true conservative that I'm aware of is Mayor Bloomberg. There is a lot of hope in Vermont and by expanding our message to include a wide range of political issues change is possible. (I understand that we have a wide range of messages but media only covers health care thus the reason why we are viewed by some as a one theme party. However, when the media covers events it is o.k. to focus on other matters and leave health care out of some discussions. The media has no choice at that point but to cover what is covered, right?) I truly think that all that is needed is a charismatic leader who can run a campaign of hope without attacking the others. Vermonters are ready for a positive campaign. No matter how the others attack we wipe it off and refuse to give in to the tactics of negativity and show voters that Progressive Party= Equality