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Column: Conservativism Not Dead, But On Life Support

This story was written by Trevor White, Daily Toreador


The defeat of John McCain by the most liberal Senator in the U.S. Congress has led many political pundits to proclaim that conservatism is dead and gone in the United States. Gone are the days of Reagan and gone is the idea of capitalism and moral values, they say. But I don't think that the idea of being conservative is quite dead yet. I merely think it has been put on life support, waiting for the cure needed to revive it.

The fundamental problem with today's politicians is that they run as moderates but govern as extremists. The voters don't ever get to hear what a candidate truly believes, but rather the candidatewants the voters to thinkhe or shebelieves.

Take, for example, President-elect Obama's election platform. On his Web site he gave a detailed account of his plan to fix over 20 various issues facing our country, from immigration to economic policy and everything in between.

But now that he has been elected, his Web site has this simple vague statement about his agenda as president: "The principal priorities of the Obama Administration include: a plan to revive the economy, to fix our health care, education and social security systems, to define a clear path to energy independence, to end the war in Iraq responsibly and finish our mission in Afghanistan, and to work with our allies to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, among many other domestic and foreign policy objectives."

This certainly doesn't sound like the detailed in-depth plan and promises he made in his campaign. Where is the promise to offer 95 percent of Americans tax cuts? Where is his detailed plan to fix the economy? In fact, during an interview after a meeting with his economic advisors, Obama stated that they were "working to find a plan to fix the economy."

Perhaps I am mistaken but during the campaign he said he already had a plan. Was it just a promise made to get elected or was it an actual promise made to fix the problem? Only time will tell.

The bottom line is that elections are ruining politics. Instead of running to the center to win votes, we need to elect politicians that have strong character, fair judgment, and a distinct set of moral values and ideas that will guide them when governing. But most importantly we need to elect politicians that are willing to seek out compromise with each other to make laws that best suit everyone's interests.

This rarely happens anymore. In order to pass the bailout bill, legislators simply loaded it down with pork and other wasteful spending to win the votes needed for it to pass. That is not compromise. That is ransom.

Before the 2008 election over 60 percent of Americans identified themselves as either moderate or strongly conservative. Unfortunately, there wasn't a conservative candidate on the ticket to vote for and it showed in the results. Whoever is the new leader of the Republican Party will have to deal with this issue. They can do this by thumbing their noses at the conservative values of Americans and continuing to lose elections, or by embracing the values and running candidates who aren't wolves in sheep's clothing, but rather shepherds ready to lead.

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