Boy, did I enjoy Wednesday’s edition of NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Her interview with Oklahoma’s own Mickey Edwards outlined his insightful critique of how the Republican Party and conservatism have lost their way.
I have always admired some of the core principles of conservatism, but far too many Republicans have foolishly abandoned them in their pursuit of winning elections and retaining power. For me, some of the important long-term reasons they have lost control of the government is that they:
- abandoned personal freedom in favor of “security” through unconstitutional acts
- abandoned states’ rights and limits on federal power to foist their social agenda upon others
- abandoned fiscal responsibility
- abandoned intellectualism
The forthcoming inevitable abuses from Democratic control of the executive and legislative branches (just as the Republicans abused their power in recent years) will allow Republicans to regroup. But the great danger is that we sink further into destructive partisanship. Republicans must shun the hatred and venom of what Bill Moyers aptly calls “the Reptilian Religious Right” if they want to lead a diverse nation. They must learn to embrace their better selves: those fiscally conservative folk who once sought to limit governmental power and control, were willing to think things through, and believed in the founders’ dreams.
I later bought Reclaiming Conservatism: How a Great American Political Movement Got Lost–And How It Can Find Its Way Back at Amazon and enjoyed its lucid history of the conservative movement and Mickey’s prescription for saving it.