Feed on Posts or Comments 24 January 2018

2008 Election &Virginia politics Richard Falknor on 16 Jun 2008 08:05 pm

“Green Conservatives” and “No-Litmus” Advocates

In moments of exasperation, one might be tempted to believe that some Republicans might have the Jabba-the-Hutt syndrome: a proclivity to vote even for a Jabba if he were the Party’s nominee. (Most of you recall that lumpy, grasping creature here from the Star Wars archives.)

Of course, they won’t really vote for a Jabba – – – but there is a widening concern that the Party is starting to lose its way and a fear that getting or holding office may be the only remaining common value.

Sometime Speaker Gingrich’s Evolving Principles

Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media yesterday posted here a pertinent and illuminating illustration. In his From ‘Green Conservatism’ to Black Gold, veteran investigator Kincaid discusses Mr. Gingrich’s evolving positions on the environment:

“Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich has been on Fox News and Sean Hannity’s radio show promoting oil drilling in the U.S to help solve our energy crisis. He’s got a ‘Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less’ campaign drawing hundreds of thousands of names to one of his websites. But this is a new tune.[Underscoring BRF‘s.]

Gingrich’s book, Real Change, advocates ‘Green Conservatism,’ including a perceived need to ‘reduce the amount of carbon discharged into the atmosphere’ and a public works ‘green’ boondoggle known as the Atlanta Beltline Project.

Before rising gas prices convinced Gingrich that he had to launch a campaign to drill for oil, he had promoted an Al Gore-like Contract with the Earth, which is the title of one of his other books, and claimed on his website that socialist Norway represents a case study of ‘green conservatism.’ Norway’s government, through the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, controls its energy sector. Gingrich features photos of Norway homes with grass roofs. Is this America’s future?

Read commentator Kincaid’s entire post here.

The moral of his story is that Mr. Gingrich gave up his big-government views when the gas-price crisis made them unacceptable. Until then, we might ask, how many Republicans gave uncritical weight to the Gingrich Way on the environment?

Too many Republicans (who should, however, know better) today support their local politicians without any serious analysis of their records. For them, the Party is as much a group of social friends, or maybe like a college fraternity or sorority, as it is an organized political movement with clear policy goals. For these Republicans, the Party is defined as largely “people like us.”

In Maryland, the personal narrative seems to trump nearly all. In Virginia, supporting incumbency has been almost sacramental – – – at least until the last state convention here when the incumbent Party chairman was voted out reportedly by substantial numbers.

In a lamentable down-home example, faithful readers will recall how last January the sometime Speaker and the unsuccessful Maryland candidate for U. S. Senator Michael Steele joined to support the also unsuccessful effort to renominate Mr. Wayne Gilchrest as the Republican candidate for U. S. Representative in Maryland’s First District.

Michael Steele Flees “Litmus Tests”

Mr. Gingrich told a Gilchrest gathering on January 11 that “it was Gilchrest’s leadership that led [Gingrich] to endorse the moderate congressman.” On January 12, former Maryland lieutenant-governor Michael Steele said here “‘litmus tests’ on such issues as abortion, immigration and tax cuts are wrong.”

Mr. Steele’s declaration certainly meshes with the experience of Maryland and national taxpayer advocates who tried for some months starting in 2005 to get then-U. S. Senate-candidate Steele to sign the national no-new-taxes pledge here. Mr. Steele, however, was careful not to do so.

Maryland and Virginia conservative issues range from (wrongly) enforcing multiculturalism, to pork-laden capital budget bills, to measures to discourage illegal immigrants, to securing property rights, to local regulatory burdens, to fiscally sound ways of paying for highways – – – without exhausting the list. Of course, the tax issue is now even more exigent than when Mr. Steele ran for senator as the expiration of the Bush tax cuts approaches.

Click here and here for the likely consequences of the tax-cut expiration in Maryland and Virginia, according to this Heritage Foundation study here.

Unless our activists start seriously tracking the records and statements of our candidates, state and Federal incumbents, and Party voices through public discussions, we can hardly expect voters to take either Republicans (or conservatives) seriously next November in such dangerous times.

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