Editor’s note: This article is adapted from the introduction of the newly released The Official Handbook of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy—The Arguments You Need to Defeat the Loony Left This Election Year: 2008 Presidential Election Edition by Mark W. Smith.
The chapters of the updated Handbook were determined by the results of a Human Events survey—the 10 issues included are the issues conservatives identified as the most important.
Are these the darkest, most trying times for conservatives? Or are the reports of the death of the conservative movement in America premature?
In the Bush years, we conservatives have encountered our share of disappointments: immigration lawlessness and President Bush’s awful amnesty proposals, an unending rise in government spending, setbacks in the War in Iraq and apathy toward the War on Terror are just a few of the challenges we have endured. Even “victories” such as the Bush tax cuts now seem precarious, likely to expire under a tax-addicted Democratic Congress.
The mainstream media, of course, find the situation delightful. The MSM hope the modern conservative movement that brought us the Reagan Revolution, the Contract with America, the end of the Soviet Empire and the longest peacetime economic expansion in American history has finally been relegated to history’s dustbin.
End of a Movement?
The question, then, is this: Is the conservative movement finished?
And the answer, of course, is no—not by a long-shot.
We should bear in mind Winston Churchill’s exhortation to Britons during World War II: “These are not dark days. These are great days—the greatest days our country has ever lived. And we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race.”
Our situation is not nearly as dire as it seems. Despite all the difficulties we face in the War on Terror, we can’t ignore our many accomplishments. We overthrew the Taliban in Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden, if he’s still alive, may be living in a cave. We deposed Saddam Hussein, one of the worst tyrants of our day, and helped the Iraqi people hold two national elections. We scared Libya into giving up its WMD program. The American homeland has not suffered a post-9/11 terrorist attack mostly because of the Bush Administration’s policy of moving the War on Terror into the terrorists’ backyard and away from the U.S.
On the domestic front, President Bush’s tax cuts, excellent Supreme Court picks and strong defense of individual gun rights are impressive accomplishments.
There’s no cause for despair—and no time for it. We’re facing a crucial presidential election in 2008. Think about how conservatives have risen up in a powerful voice and with the help of conservative members of Congress—and the alternative media—stopped the Bush-McCain-Kennedy immigration amnesty bill. Think about how we’ve beaten back Nancy Pelosi’s seemingly endless attempts to force a retreat from Iraq. And think of how our voices affect American politics. For a dead movement, conservatism seems mighty lively.
There’s no reason for conservatives to consider retreating in the face of Hillary or Obama. There are many fights to fight, and we are capable of winning every one. Think what a Democratic presidency would bring: higher taxes, economic recession, amnesty for illegal aliens, socialized medicine, full retreat in the War on Terror, more United Nations obligations, costs and scandals. And much more.
Conservatives need to embrace our successes and use them as a base on which to build more victories in the ongoing fight as the 2008 election rapidly approaches. But it will require more than Republican political candidates and conservative “talking heads” in the media to spread the word and destroy the myths and anti-American spirit of modern liberalism.
As Democratic candidates canvass the country fundraising and campaigning, they use political rhetoric that is both incorrect and irresponsible. Hillary Rodham Clinton calls for mandated healthcare for all, one of the most popular battle cries of liberals during recent elections. Barack Obama has promised to withdraw troops from Iraq rapidly after being elected, as well as meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad without preconditions, two dangerously irresponsible foreign policy decisions. The beliefs of the leading Democratic candidates demonstrate now more than ever before the urgent need for ordinary, hard-working conservatives to stand our ground against the left.
History will show that the current moment is not the end of conservatism, but actually a period of resurgence after the awful Clinton years and the big-government faux-conservatism that succeeded them. Since the Reagan era, conservative values have become so widespread that even the most high-profile liberals have been forced to back away from some of their key positions. President Clinton declared the era of big government to be over and agreed to conservative demands for welfare reform. As a presidential candidate, John Kerry had to mask his poor record on gun rights by pretending to be a hunter. Howard Dean claims that he wants abortion to become “rare.”
Our ascent will continue so long as conservatives remain faithful to our core agenda: low taxes, small government, strong national defense and traditional family values. This is our enduring message. The Republican Party has moved away from this agenda in recent years and has suffered accordingly. The secret to electoral success is really no secret at all: Run as a conservative, govern as a conservative, and voters will reward you. That’s what Reagan showed us. And unlike today’s conservative movement, Reagan didn’t have the benefit of an alternative media to advance our agenda.
In this election year, we know what is important to our nation and to us as conservatives. It begins with solving the illegal immigration problem without granting amnesty, continues with winning the war against the terrorist nations, and doesn’t end even with appointment of conservatives to the Supreme Court. We have our agenda. We have the tools to achieve our goals. Now we now go to battle.