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Time for a Real Conservative Party

Tuesday, 29 May 2001 12:00 AM

"You told me you knew every square inch of the state of Maine," bellowed the embarrassed executive.

"I do," replied the guide, "but I think we're in Canada now!"

I know every square inch of the argument against having an out-and-out Conservative Party. Do you want to hear it?

"It's healthy, don't you see, to have both liberals and conservatives inside of two and only two major parties. All third parties are to be patted on the head, or kicked in the groin, depending upon how they affect YOUR major party in any given election.

"So, with liberals and conservatives competing for influence within the two major parties, neither party will permit itself to drift to extremes. That way we'll keep America where it belongs, smack in the political center."

That used to have a noble ring to it for me. Suddenly, with the defection of Sen. James Jeffords, the nobility got lost in the woods. I'm still gaping open-mouthed at Sen. Jeffords' gift of control of the Senate to Sen. Tom Daschle and the Democrats. No election, mind you. No Supreme Court ruling. Not even the disruptive caprice of a federal judge. Just one man's gift to the opposing party. One wonders if, after his press conference, Jeffords shouted to his spouse, "Honey, I shrunk the Republican control of the Senate!"

The defection of Sen. Jeffords exposes the bankruptcy of the "Two Big Tents" swindle. For years I've wondered why leaders who I know to be conservative, upon election, give us only microscopic delivery on their conservative promises. Did some unknown man from an invisible supergovernment tap the triumphant conservative on the shoulder at his victory party and whisper, "I've got to have a word with you"? Did coded instructions from the New World Order warn him to shut up and turn left?

Nah. The answer was right there mashing itself into our faces the whole time. Conservative promises did not morph into liberal policies through conspiratorial alchemy. The conservatives we elected to govern conservatively are paralyzed with fear of annoying the Jim Jeffordses and the other "moderates" of the Republican Party. And with such narrow leads these days, the wisdom of surrendering to that paralysis is almost convincing.

I, for one, am weary of our sturdy conservative lances becoming wet linguini and our thundering steeds becoming like Don Quixote's limping horse in hopes of hanging onto the letter "R" before the names of certain legislators who wince when policies we hold dear are enacted or seriously proposed.

I'm tired of hearing those we voted for who once vowed, for example, to disband the Department of Education (an excellent idea!) suddenly claiming proudly to have increased its budget beyond that of their liberal Democratic predecessors. I know we do this to "maintain control."

What good is control, however, when it's OUR policies that wind up BEING controlled when we do what we feel we have to do to MAINTAIN control? Furthermore, what good is surrendering principle to maintain control if your surrender is then considered insufficient by those you're surrendering to and you wind up losing control anyhow?

Ahh, but Americans are a moderate bunch, they tell us. They fear right-wing extremists. Must American conservatives remain so manipulable? Right-wing extremists, indeed. No one fears right-wing extremism more than I. I lost a villageful of relatives to right-wing extremism in eastern Europe in 1941. So if by right-wing extremism we mean goose-stepping fascists obliterating the rule of law and ruling by outdoor rally and midnight bangings at the door, I HOPE you'll lose the American voter. You'll sure as hell lose ME.

What liberal genius convinced us that nice tax cuts, smaller government, better schools, less waste, abundant energy, turning welfare recipients into taxpayers, and a war on crime is right-wing extremism? And who are these "right-wing judges" we're exultantly told the defection of Jeffords will block from the bench? To my naked eye they're the ones who side instinctively with the victims of violent crime and demand that the violent criminals do their time. (As opposed to - so help me, God, a real case - a judge who orders a retrial of a known murderer on grounds that if he'd had a better lawyer he might have gotten a lesser sentence!)

The ones who accuse the GOP of right-wing extremism know good and well it's a phony charge. They also know good and well the best way to blunt the conservative trend in America is to make everybody think conservatives are right-wing extremists. It's not remarkable that they try. What's remarkable is that they've succeeded in convincing even US! Yes, they've even gotten GOP conservatives buzzing to each other about the "lesson" of the Jeffords defection and how it's time to "soften up."

In the liberal effort to convince one and all that conservatism is a losing doctrine, they've successfully mobilized AMNESIA, no easy political trick. They've literally made us forget the Reagan landslides and the Gingrich Revolution of 1994.

Especially absurd is the blather about "If only the Republican leadership had sensed the warning signals and reached out to Jeffords and not snubbed him and not refused to invite him to the White House when a teacher from his state of Vermont was to be honored as Teacher of the Year." That likens itself unto two Jews in Auschwitz saying, "If only we'd invited Hitler to some of our bagel breakfasts at the Berlin Jewish Center!" It's insulting to Jeffords to suggest he might have been stayed in his defection with some applied loving care.

We're all mice trying to become rats through bodybuilding. Jeffords just figured out a way to do it all at once within a one-hour period.

To those who say, "Let's equivocate to hang on to our moderates," I say let's build a majority in both houses that will make such equivocation unnecessary. I suggest the way to achieve that is to be forthright, unashamed, out-of-the-closet conservatives. I would insist as much even if I had no proof such a stance would be effective. I have twice as much proof as Sir Isaac Newton had when he formulated the law of gravity. I've got the examples of Reagan and Gingrich. All Isaac Newton had was a falling apple.

A valiant resort hotel in the Catskill Mountains of New York was perplexed at the number of guests who took fruit from the dining room and left rotting apple cores all over the place. They posted a sign that said, "In order to prevent guests from taking fruit from the dining room, there will henceforth be no more fruit."

I say, "In order to prevent the cancellation of the conservative agenda by pandering to liberals in our party, there will henceforth be enough elected conservatives to de-necessitate such pandering."

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You told me you knew every square inch of the state of Maine, bellowed the embarrassed executive. I do, replied the guide, but I think we're in Canada now! I know every square inch of the argument against having an out-and-out Conservative Party. Do you want to hear...
Tuesday, 29 May 2001 12:00 AM
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