Mainstream conservatives are routinely mischaracterized as extreme by liberals and squishy Republicans, when it is America's liberals who are, by any fair measure, more extreme.
Conservatives are not the ones who sermonize about tolerance yet demonstrate intolerance toward conservative and Christian thought; support exterminating babies in the womb; apologize the world over for America; or gut the military and missile defense because of some dangerously egotistical notion that they have the magic to turn evil into goodness with their charisma and eloquence or, even worse, because they refuse to recognize evil in the world, except as emanating from the United States.
Conservatives aren't the ones who have so little faith in their fellow human beings that they diminish their dignity by expanding the welfare state and increasing man's learned dependency on government; judge people by the color of their skin instead of the content of their character; pit economic groups against one another, stoking the flames of envy and greed; punish success, reward failure and promote mediocrity; side with the world's tyrants and dictators; slavishly attach themselves to leftist propaganda about impending environmental catastrophes; promote a secular humanist worldview that considers government a quasi-deity that can perfect the human condition; or morally equate the practice of enhanced interrogation techniques to save innocent lives with that of beheading innocent people.
Conservatives aren't the ones who seek to criminalize policy differences and -- like a thuggish Third World dictatorship -- prosecute previous administration officials for implementing EIT that their party's leadership was briefed on and approved; whose party leader falsely accused the CIA of lying concerning those briefings; or who voted to give President George W. Bush authority to attack Iraq because they believed, based on our best intelligence at the time and that of the intelligence agencies of every other major nation, that Iraq had WMD and then spent the next five years attacking Bush for attacking Iraq and lying about Bush's alleged lies -- saying a man they painted as the dumbest president in history duped them into believing WMD existed.
Conservatives aren't the ones who actually blocked military ballots and falsely accused the other party of suppressing black voters, with absolutely no evidence; publicly declared that President Bush delayed the federal response to Katrina because of his alleged racism, with utter disregard for the abominable lie it was and the untold damage that message would do to race relations; aren't honest about their beliefs, fearful the voters would reject them outright if they were; are using government money we don't have to fund community organizing groups to manipulate the census, gerrymander districts and register illegal voters by the thousands; or consciously employ the sinister tactics of radical Saul Alinsky to target, freeze and demonize private citizens who dissent from their policies.
Conservatives aren't the ones who seek to silence the opposition on talk radio and college campuses, support eliminating secret ballots for union membership to intimidate workers into joining the unions, and then have the audacity to call it free choice; oppose vouchers to keep inner-city minorities trapped in inferior schools while pretending to be their caretakers and while sending their own children to elite private schools; reverse welfare reform despite its proven successful record; believe it's kosher for judges to twist the Constitution into whatever judges want it to say and consider foreign law in interpreting it; favor nationalizing health care instead of implementing market reforms in the face of overwhelming evidence that socialized medicine has been a disaster everywhere and every time it's been tried; glamorize the world's tyrants and the conditions in their thugocracies; ignore the verdict of history that socialism destroys the human spirit and cannot work in the real world -- assuming it would be desirable if it could, which it most certainly would not; promote wide-open borders and universal amnesty for illegals; or believe government should be the primary arbiter of philanthropy in the United States.
Conservatives do want to restore constitutional principles, knowing we owe our liberties to our uniquely structured government and the Judeo-Christian principles undergirding it; recognize evil in the world and favor a strong national defense and peace through strength; believe in the individual and want to unleash his entrepreneurial spirit and provide him equal protection under the law; protect the lives of the unborn; defend traditional values -- values that have been instrumental in making this the freest and most prosperous nation in history.
Republicans must cease this self-destructive tendency to emulate Democrats, grow more comfortable in their own political skin, and return the party to its conservative roots by articulating, without apology or reservation, mainstream conservatism. They must quit allowing the left to define them and the terms of the national debate. This is a war whose outcome will determine whether our children will live in freedom and prosperity, so let's answer the call.