Tony Blankley

Look, I am as willing as the next conservative pundit to throw back a tumbler or two of whiskey and whine about our plight this election season. But in the past week, the Republican/conservative (hereinafter: RC) depression has become pathological. From the pages of The Wall Street Journal to Human Events to the Republican Conference in the House of Representatives, RC comments are sliding from the sensible observation that this may be a tough election cycle to unjustified self-loathing. Don't loathe conservatism (or the GOP); loathe liberalism.

Conservatism will persist and more often than not prevail precisely because it realistically describes the human condition. It recognizes the fallen condition of man and thus rejects utopian principles of human perfection, or as conservatives like to say, we refuse to futilely try to immanentize the eschaton (bring heaven on earth). Thus, inter alia ,we understand that, with all its crassness and winners and losers, the power of self-interest drives free markets and free men to maximum and best-distributed human productivity and fulfillment.

But also believing in the redemptive power of our faiths, we encourage the potential of nobility, charity and self-sacrifice also planted in our souls and thus reject the rump materialism, cynicism and duty-free citizenship that is the sour and hollow end product of modern secular liberalism and socialism. After a dose of the latter, the American people invariably return to the abiding truth of conservatism. I am not convinced yet that the public is certain to reject our principles even this November.

Our challenge this political season, as every season, is to bring alive to public understanding the utility of our principles when applied to programs for the general welfare and, conversely, to vividly explain the contradiction inherent in each liberal program that claims to redistribute wealth and rights to the many but inevitably merely expands economic misfortune and reduces freedom for all.

Moreover, the Democratic Party has not even advanced its programs to a plausible credibility yet. Their argument is almost completely a negative one: "Kick the Republican bums out." Thus, their central theme is the credulity-strained slogan that a vote for McCain is a third vote for Bush. Whatever McCain is, even the Democrats know he has almost been the anti-Bush (and anti-Republican) these past many years. Not too many elections are won on an obvious lie. And only rarely are they won mostly on the negative.

Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

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