MEMO TO GOVERNOR KASICH AND OTHERS: When Conservatives Act Like Liberals We Lose

Written by Steve Pauwels on August 15, 2015

Conservatives’ cultural and political ideas — broadly rooted in Judeo-Christian (biblical) principles — are superior ideas. They consistently prove themselves more practicable on terra firma, more insightful, more beneficially fruitful than any notions emanating from Leftist precincts.  

So, why does it seem we Conservatives keep losing when we go head-to-head with Liberal knuckle-headedness? 

Because, too often, our “spokespersons” act like the other side. Trying to promote limited-government, Constitutionalist, free-market, morally traditionalist, pro-family, strong-military, pro-American arguments while timorously mimicking Lefties? Not a terribly effective approach. 

Consider a Donald Trump-enthusiast the other evening on one of Fox News’ familiar “focus groups”: Her mind’s made up! The billionaire businessman’s unimpeachably fit for the Oval Office! Phooey on any suggestions to the contrary!

As fellow focus-groupers barked their concerns about “The Donald” ‘s background, reputation, suitability for public office, etc. she querulously snapped, “I DON’T CARE!” I was practically waiting for her to slap her hands over her ears and drown them out with “La-La-La-La-La-La…”. See and hear no Trump-trashing, Donald-dissing evil …

Ironically, this spirited Trumpite, unabashedly committed to wallow in her calculated, low-information status, griped about being referred to as ignorant and dismissed as a  “low-information voter”. 

Activists can devote themselves 24/7 to make Trump’s new digs 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Or not. But, along the way, they’d do well to maintain the capacity to examine contrary, sometimes disagreeable, viewpoints. Conservatives’ objective is truth, recall – and truth weathers confrontations. As the Chinese say, “Gold fears not the fire.”

Fixating, however, on mere style, celebrity, tummy-fluttering but fleeting feelings of satisfaction, while ignoring inconvenient and unsettling questions? Probably not the primo way to install someone into the White House, equipped in every way possible to begin the arduous task of of turning back this foundering Ship of State toward a more heartening course.

It’s disquieting shades of another presidential cycle, one that unfolded just a few years ago.  In that case, one candidates’ boosters were mulishly unwilling to entertain any information that probed too deeply into his personal history,  track record, associations, public statements. After all, he was YOUNG! BLACK! WELL-SPOKEN! HIP! Pledged refreshing HOPE AND CHANGE.! 

Quick! Palms over the ears, La-La-La-La-La … 

Seven-and-one-half years later, much of the nation, hefty swaths of the globe, even some of his erstwhile backers stand shell-shocked by what their man hath wrought.  

Speaking of shell-shocked, there’s  John Kasich’s  lily-livered performance in August 6th’s Fox News presidential primary debate. When asked about “homosexual marriage” the Ohio Governor squirmed he’s an “old-fashioned person”, so he prefers the “traditional” model of matrimony. That’s the sum of his brief for natural nuptials: a self-deprecatingly muttered “I’m old-fashioned”. Bracing.

He then quickly scampered on to let the millions watching know “the court has ruled … and …  we’ll accept it.”

Naive me, I didn’t realize sheepishly lifting  one’s hands in the face of the deleterious status quo was a GOP selling point. Would that have been the Governor’s stance toward pre-Civil War pro-slavery rulings? Jim-Crow-affirming Plessy v.Ferguson? Abortion-empowering Roe v. Wade

But Kasich wasn’t done: “Guess what?” he volunteered a bit too eagerly, “I just went to a wedding of a friend of mine who happens to be gay.” Ta-daaaaaa!
This aw-shucks, half-embarrassed, simpering piffle, mind you, from a putative defender of man/woman marriage. And Kasich is one of the guys auditioning to stare down the statist and secularist behemoth poised to smother all that’s best about America? The indispensable “fighter” for whom Republicans are reportedly clamoring after nearly two terms languishing in the Obama wilderness?  It’s not just Kasich’s attitude about fake marriage that’s alarming — it’s his attitude, period; which explains why denizens of the Left widely hailed him post-debate. 

Since I’ve already mentioned Fox News: The other night I had the misfortune of catching the network’s Red-Eye — a program I’d long ago categorized a waste of sixty minutes. One guest, a pompous, pseudo-intellectual Daily Beast (?) staffer, sniffed: “most” of our Founders were “agnostics”. 

A surprise to me — since that utterance’s lack of factual support is positively canyonesque. 

Even more gratingly, not one of the other opinionators even attempted, let alone mounted, a robust challenge — or any kind of challenge — to this falsehood. Not a one. And here I was under the impression one point of this witching-hour gabfest is to give at least some voice to “cool” conservatism; more traditional perspectives proffered in a light-hearted, humorously trendy, often downright silly atmosphere. 

I guess being a stodgy stickler about our nation’s history isn’t rivetingly fashionable. So, having given a pass to a baseless slur against our founding eminences, the chortling bunch over at Red-Eye moved on  to orgiastically gush — for several minutes — over Liberaldom’s retiring clown, John Stewart. 

Is it any wonder “Millenials” and “Generation  Z” are increasingly buying into Progressivism’s tsunami of specious, society-shaping fables (“separation of Church and State”; “American colonialism”; the “failure” of capitalism; the “oppressiveness” of conventional marriage and family, etc.)? 

Any wonder a long time Republican I know — a middle-aged fellow much interested in civic affairs — mused that Planned Parenthood’s recently uncovered fiendishness is “a sticky situation.” Um, “sticky”? Chopping up unborn babies and merchandising their body parts — “sticky”? Not exactly the first term that springs to my mind. 

Any wonder too many prominent “Reaganites” seem more pathetically concerned with hankering after the approval of snarky Liberal propagandists than overthrowing their ankle-deep arguments and winning them to our side? 

Decades of muddled, cowering delivery from the political and cultural “Right” have produced legions of muddled and cowering adherents. The most front-and-center manifestations of Please-a-Progressive Syndrome – funding Obamacare, echoing amnesty, buttressing the welfare state, et al – paralyze conservative aspirations. But subtler outbreaks can be equally noxious. Conspiring together? They guarantee, even when we come out on top in particular elections, we falter on the big-picture front.

When it comes to the things conservative convictions are supposed to represent, why not ditch the excuse-making, defensiveness, subject-changing, me-too-ism. Instead, try persuasion, yoked to passion, fortified by persistence

Conservatism is better than Liberalism, every way around. Time for conservatives to act like we believe that. 


Steve Pauwels is pastor of Church of the King, Londonderry, NH and host of Striker Radio with Steve Pauwels on the Red State Talk Radio Network. He's also husband to the lovely Maureen and proud father of three fine sons: Mike, Sam and Jake.