This week I propose a remedy to the Republican Party establishment’s attempt to co-opt the term “conservative” and replace it with more Mitch McConnellesque milquetoast. That remedy will require a defined standard.
That defined standard should be the U.S. Constitution.
The best way to stop your movement from being co-opted is to adhere to a defined objective standard that holds everyone equally accountable. Anybody can call himself a “Conservative” just by killing one less unborn baby or stealing one less dollar from the taxpayers than the statists desire. But not everybody can call themselves a “Constitutionalist.” Either what you’re for or what you’re doing is in the Constitution or it is not. Last I checked, the Constitution does not include a “good ideas” provision or a “good intentions” clause.
The temptation of conservatism is to become a culture club, where a bunch of folks get together to self-righteously congratulate each other that they’re not as bad as the worst people in America. Conservativism settles for “anybody but Obama” in the White House, leaving the statist infrastructure the Left has hardwired into the culture largely in place, but with the promise to manage it better than the Leftist-Progressives will. Instead of stopping evil because it’s wrong, conservatism has sadly become “let’s just manage the decay because too much of it is icky.”
On the other hand, a “Constitutionalist” understands we also need “somebody that will repeal and nullify Obama” (or most of George W. Bush for that matter) in the White House. A Constitutionalist understands that defeating Democrats may be a key step, but it is just a step nonetheless. The real victory comes in determining public policy after your guys win the election, not just being content with your guys winning the election. Leaving in place the Left’s infrastructure means the election does little than give you a warm fuzzy that your team won. See how John Boehner and Mitch McConnell have essentially nullified the 2010 election results if you need more evidence.
A “Conservative” thinks the battle is won and lost in November. A “Constitutionalist” realizes the battle only begins in November. The real war comes in January regardless of who’s in power.
Steve Deace's nationally-syndicated radio show airs coast-to-coast each weeknight from 9-Midnight eastern, including many of the Salem Radio Network's top conservative talk stations in markets like New York City, Houston, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Minneapolis. His radio program has been featured in major media such as Fox News, CBS News, ABC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Politico, The Weekly Standard, and National Review among others. In 2013 he wrote the second-most shared column of the year for USA Today, defending "Duck Dynasty" and traditional American values. In addition to being a contributor for Town Hall.com, Deace is also a columnist for The Washington Times. He is also the author of the new book Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again, which includes a foreword by David Limbaugh and is endorsed by a who's who of conservative leaders. You can follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow.