2007 was, at best, a mixed year for political conservatives. As a result, the movement stands at a crossroads in need of some New Year’s Resolutions that can make a difference not only to those committed to a great tradition but for the country, as well.
This should be a time of reflection for conservatives about our core values and how those values can be applied to a changing world and a listless Republican Party. As we look ahead to 2008, here are five New Year’s resolutions I recommend.
1. REJECT BIG GOVERNMENT
So-called compassionate conservatism has proved an abject failure. Yet, despite its
failures in policy, and now at the polls, there are some in politics and journalism who would revive the concept better understood in other countries as Christian socialism. These Big Government conservatives attempt to portray fellow conservatives as small-minded and cold-hearted. They would expand the welfare state to respond anytime a person is in need, echoing President Bush’s declaration in 2003 that “When somebody hurts, government has got to move.” But authentic conservatives recognize that
government programs often lead to more suffering, not less. And true conservatives would leave it to individuals, families, communities, churches and private enterprise — not to government, especially at the federal level — to respond to the needs of the people.
— I resolve not to apologize for being a conservative, because conservatism does not need
to be softened as if there were something inherent in our allegiance to principled conservatism—with its belief in a strong national defense, traditional moral values and fiscal responsibility—that made it cruel.
2. EMBRACE THE FAITH OF OUR FATHERS AND MOTHERS
2007 saw the usual attempts by the Left to scrub the public square of all
recognition of America’s Christian heritage. Multiculturalism and
political correctness continue to run amok on our college campuses, in our
courtrooms and in government. But our nation’s existence is inextricably linked to the faith of its people, and its success begins with our adherence to the God-given rights outlined in America’s founding documents and firmly rooted in its institutions.
— I resolve to fight attempts by secularists to deny or misrepresent America’s Christian heritage in the classroom, in the office and wherever it is found.
3. SUPPORT FAIR MEDIA OUTLETS
The Left’s monopoly on the new media continued to crumble in 2007. Fox News led the television ratings war, and conservative talk radio and print publications and blogs saw increases in listener-ship and readership, respectively. The best proof of the ascendance of conservative media was seen last summer, when liberal congressmen tried to re-instate the Fairness Doctrine, the ironically misnamed government regulation requiring broadcasters to present competing sides of controversial issues. Of course, conservative talk radio succeeds because it is virtually the only place half the country can go to hear a conservative worldview. It succeeds because conservative ideas resonate with most
Americans. But the success of the conservative media only further infuriates the Left, and conservatives can expect liberal bias in the mainstream media to continue in this crucial election year.
— I resolve to be attentive to media bias and to expose it in all its forms.
4. RESOLVE DIFFERENCES QUIETLY AND WITH DIGNITY
Ronald Reagan liked to quip that the 11th Commandment is: Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican. And while there are times for Republicans to call one another out for un-conservative views, such arguments are best kept inside the family and should not be aired openly to an unsympathetic media. Unfortunately, 2007 saw too many examples of conservatives attacking one another in the media. Some examples included those who openly questioned the Bush administration’s real objectives in Iraq, those who wondered out loud whether the conservative position on illegal immigration was tinged with racism and Republicans who openly grumbled that religious conservatives wield too much influence within the GOP.
Conservatives are frustrated because while polls show most voters are conservative on a host of major issues, including immigration, taxes and abortion, the party they inhabit is on the decline.
— I resolve not to mischaracterize other conservatives’ positions or records on issues, especially to unsympathetic media outlets that would trumpet the words to aid the liberal
5. SUPPORT TRUE CONSERVATIVES
The Left is full of optimism as it looks ahead to the 2008 presidential election. Though the Democratic race is far from decided, most liberals agree that whomever they nominate will be a liberal and have a good shot at winning the general election. Democrats’ optimism is deepened by conservatives’ lack of excitement over the Republican field.
The Republican candidates are trying to convince voters that they are the natural
heirs to Ronald Reagan’s legacy. But while each has a solid conservative record on one of the three major policy areas — foreign, fiscal and social — few have acceptable
positions in two of these areas, and fewer still have established conservative
records in all three areas.
— I resolve to support candidates who are unafraid to support the true mantle of Reagan, which was built upon the three legged stool of traditional values, strong national defense and lower taxes.
Conservatives are preparing for a difficult year ahead. But with a little Reagan-like
optimism, and by making these five resolutions, things could look a whole lot
better one year from now.