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Defining “Conservative” politicians at your peril

Written By | Mar 5, 2016

WASHINGTON,  March 5, 2016 – It was the lead to a Washington Times story in February 2012: “Mitt Romney won The Washington Times/CPAC Presidential Straw Poll… that suggest Mr. Romney retains strong support among self-identified conservatives.”

“Self-identified conservatives” believed the former blue-state Republican governor of Massachusetts, the one whose state-run health care system (“Romneycare”) served as the blueprint for President Obama’s unaffordable, clunky and dictatorial medical monstrosity,  was a “conservative.”

Giving up our bananas for the sake of security

In 2008, Cornell University’s Roper Center for Public Opinion Research found that 20 percent of self-described “conservative” Republicans voted for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

And Wick Allison, a former publisher at William F. Buckley’s “conservative” National Review magazine, said of Obama:

I disagree with him on many issues. But those don’t matter as much as what Obama offers, which is a deeply conservative view of the world. Nobody can read Obama’s books or listen to him speak without realizing that this is a thoughtful, pragmatic, and prudent man. It gives me comfort just to think that… we will have a president who has actually read the Federalist Papers.

And just for good measure, son of Bill, Christopher Buckley, wrote in the Daily Beast, “Let me be the latest conservative/libertarian/whatever to leap onto the Barack Obama bandwagon. It’s a good thing my dear mum and pup are no longer alive. They’d cut off my allowance.”

Buckley the younger fancies himself, as I’m sure do most if not all the “conservative” writers at National Review, an intellectual. “I’ve read Obama’s books, and they are first-rate… having a first-class temperament and a first-class intellect, President Obama will (I pray, secularly) surely understand that traditional left-politics aren’t going to get us out of this [economic] pit we’ve dug for ourselves,” said Buckley.

In a sense, Christopher Buckley simply expanded on his father’s old dictum: “Nominate the most conservative candidate who is electable.”

Trump and America’s political transformation

In 2008, “conservatism” had degenerated to such a degree that Obama appeared at least, if not more, conservative than his Republican challenger Sen. John McCain.

Sen. John McCain.

Sen. John McCain.

Rough Rider Theodore Roosevelt.

Rough Rider Theodore Roosevelt.

As The Arizona Republic’s Robert Robb said of Obama’s Republican 2008 challenger, “McCain is most clearly not ‘a conservative’ on the issue of the appropriate role of the federal government. Here, McCain has taken after Teddy Roosevelt, one of his political heroes. Roosevelt viewed the federal government as the ultimate arbiter in the political economy with a particular role in being a counterweight to accumulations of wealth or power. He didn’t much see a need for the authority of the federal government itself to be constrained.”

By that measure, every big-government politician is a Rough Rider “conservative” in the mold of America’s first progressive president… Republican T.R.

In fact, a 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll of grassroots “conservatives” preferred Mitt Romney over John McCain by 35 to 34 percent.

strawPollMcCain won his party’s presidential nomination that year, but lost to Obama. Four years later, CPAC’s straw-poll favorite, Romney, followed in McCain’s fumbling footsteps.

So it came as no surprise that post-partisan GOP presidential candidate Donald J. Trump announced he would skip the annual CPAC conclave, despite an earlier pledge to attend, preferring instead to campaign in Kansas and Florida.

“Mr. Trump would like to thank [chairman] Matt Schlapp and all the executives at CPAC,” read a statement released by the Trump campaign, “and looks forward to returning next year, hopefully as President of the United States.”

Conference organizers were less than pleased:

We are very disappointed Donald J. Trump has decided at the last minute to drop out of CPAC. This comes at a critical time in our movement’s history. His decision sends a clear message to [the] grassroots.

The same CPAC “grassroots” that in 2012 placed the victor’s laurel upon the crown of Mitt Romney – heroic “conservative.”

Conservative Political Action Conference 2016 Slide Show Images

Last Thursday, in a speech delivered at the University of Utah, Romney said: “Here’s what I know. Donald Trump is a phony, a fraud. His promises are worthless… He’s playing the American public for suckers… will he [Trump] attack me with every imaginable low road insult? This may tell you what you need to know about his temperament, his stability, and his suitability to be president.”

At this, Trump spoke upon his cue and his voice was imperial: “Mitt Romney was a failed candidate; should have beaten Barack Obama easily,” he told ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “I brought millions of millions of people into the Republican Party over the last very short period of time. It’s the biggest story in politics.”

In the New Hampshire primary, where Donald Trump won with 35 percent of the vote, GOP turnout was up 14 percent over 2012. In Nevada, where Trump crushed his GOP rivals by 45.9 percent, 75,000 Republicans caucused compared to the 33,000 who bothered to show up in 2012.

In Florida, throngs are rushing to register as Republicans ahead of the GOP primary scheduled for the ides of March.

“The total number of eligible voters has risen to 12.06 million,” said the Associated Press. That number stood at 11.93 million in 2012 and 2014.

Who needs the grassroots organizers of CPAC when Trump is proving to be a one-man grassroots-organizing machine?

Many “conservatives” condemn Trump, saying he is not a “conservative.” They remind anyone who will listen that the billionaire New York real estate developer contributed to Hillary Clinton’s senatorial and presidential campaigns of old, even inviting the dysfunctional Clinton duo to his 2005 wedding at the fabulous private club Mara Lago at Palm Beach, Florida, which Trump owns.

Such is the price of doing business in big-government America, one that progressive Republican President Teddy Roosevelt, et al., bequeathed us.

A liberty-crushing behemoth of a government that CPAC, McCain and Romney “conservatives” seem hell-bent on conserving.

Steven M. Lopez

Steven M. Lopez

Originally from Los Angeles, Steven M. Lopez has been in the news business for more than thirty years. He made his way around the country: Arizona, the Bay Area and now resides in South Florida.