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What happened to Conservatism?


Last updated 3/27/2008 at Noon

I mourn the passing of William F. Buckley, the last intelligent – and intelligible – voice for conservatism.

I’m a moderate, so I didn’t always agree with him. But I was never in any doubt what his position was, and why he held it.

Now the conservative voice is expressed by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, graduates of the Jerry Springer School of Oratory. Verily, the “nattering nabobs of negativity” of which Spiro Agnew foretold.

I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that with the fading of Buckley’s voice, the Republican Party has gone into an extended identity crisis.

The GOP claims to be “the” conservative party. But for two terms they have elected G.W. Bush, a neo-con man – a “faith-based” social conservative – far from being a fiscal conservative.

They now have a presidential contender, John McCain, who Rush Limbaugh says is more liberal than the Demo’s hopeful, Hillary Clinton!

That’s an exaggeration, of course. But he is something that’s even worse in GOP terms: he’s a maverick. He has demonstrated that he cannot be expected to slavishly toe the Republican Party line.

Christian Evangelicals are aware of this and are accordingly wary of McCain. They have two choices: they can go ahead and vote for McCain, or they can get over their obsession with legislating morality and do what everybody should do: just vote for the best candidate to lead our secular government.

John H. Terrell


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