Monday, August 31, 2009

Direction, Anyone?

by Ramesh Ponnuru - September 7th, 2009 (publication date) - National Review (NRO)

Republicans are looking for a leader. Go to any right-leaning gathering, and at some point the conversation will turn to the party’s potential presidential nominee in 2012. Republicans were less consumed by that question in 1993, the first year of the last Democratic presidency. Even when Republicans aren’t talking about the 2012 race, they are debating who speaks for the party — sometimes explicitly, as when Rush Limbaugh and Michael Steele feuded this spring. Or they are wondering who will form the next generation of Republican leaders: Eric Cantor? Paul Ryan?

Sarah Palin is a patriot.
Sarah Palin is a practical outdoor person who understands nature and sees environmentalists for the bigots they are.
Sarah Palin and her husband are hard working middle class Americans
Sarah Palin is as unquestionably ethical as anyone in either party and has the personal integrity that demanded she quit when Republican leadership in Alaska asked her to violate that integrity (that is tough minded indeed in the modern world).
Sarah Palin appears to be fiscally conservative, though she has not taken enough positions on this issue that I would swear to that.
These are all good things.

Yet because Sarah Palin is a social conservative none of these good things may matter.

What scares many in the Republican Party (and among independents) is the question of whether she believes in the free will that God explicitly gave each of us, leaving sin between each individual and God, or whether she joins the sanctimonious in demanding that government must enforce a sin free life - no sex before marriage, a ban on drugs and anything else that they decide is required of us. Palin accepts these restrictions voluntarily for herself and her family. That is good too. Does she demand that government dictate the same rules for all? The answer to that question is what many are unsure of. Because nothing in the Bible or the Constitution allows that it is a really important question. She actually seems to accept these things as sins rather than government policy, but those who attack her ignore those signs of her tolerance. Her future as a leader is dependent on how she stands on this issue of government being a conservative nanny state instead of a liberal nanny state.

What astonishes me is that Ramesh Ponnuru dismisses Sarah from an article talking about Republican leadership. He sees possible conservative entrepreneurship coming from a couple of congressional insiders who are totally in bed with the Party apparatus?

Some of his arguments beg the question of how you can talk about conservative entrepreneurship and not deal with the Republican crisis over Wall Street. Many in the Republican Party are too scared to even acknowledge that Wall Street no longer believes in free enterprise. Wall Street gives most of their campaign contributions to Democrats, not Republicans. Yet because they are still the biggest contributors to many Republican campaigns - we cower and accept their table scraps and never say anything about the hypocrisy of mergers and acquisitions creating huge profits for Wall Street by wiping out competition. When did capitalism become the bastion of socialism and crony capitalism? When did the competition aspect of free enterprise get dropped from the description of capitalism?

The kind of conservative entrepreneurship that Ponnuru advocates requires actions exactly like what Sarah Palin did. She walked away from government so she can write and talk about freedom and policy without constraints. Or does Ponnuru not consider that freedom and small government are truly what Republicans and conservatives are about?

Until the Republican Party abandons its involvement with Wall Street and returns to the party of free enterprise, articles like this one by Ponnuru are an insult to what conservatism means.


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