PART 3 of 3
Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall
August 4, 2013
Mirrored at Western Conservative Summit
I personally know a lot of Democrats who, in reality, are Conservatives. They’re always shocked when I tell them that. And they react as if they have been stung by a life-threatening virus.
In Article One of this series, I provided two definitions of “Conservative” that appear to be splitting the GOP. I said the 2,000 attendees of the Western Conservative Summit in Denver last weekend appeared to be fairly evenly split, one group willingly accepting the Republican Party’s definition and one group which disagrees with that definition. I believe that until this definitional difference is resolved, the Republican Party will continue to be torn, continue to consist of numerous split groups of special interests, and be unable to muster the total Conservative base for support. And, without that total support, they cannot and will not win national elections.
The problem with the Party’s definition of the word “Conservative” is that it allows the meaning to change as Party objectives and issues change. People, generally speaking, do not commit themselves to changing objectives and issues. They commit to and support principles that evolve from philosophies. Conservative philosophy as defined by the Party needs to exclude from it political issues that change from day-to-day. How can someone commit to something which changes from day-to-day? Answer: They cannot and will not… at least, intelligent people will not.
Another cause of the current division within the GOP is the Party Leadership’s constant acceptance of (or compromise with) issues that not only are not compatible with Conservative principles, they are in total opposition to them. Another is a population that appears to want to entertain itself to death. Too few people have an interest in seriously studying how to preserve the foundations of our country. It would take years for a massive re-education program to effect change in social attitudes that are constantly being beguiled by the media. A politically ignorant population never remains free from tyrants seeking personal power and wealth accessible to them only by getting elected to public office and then abusing their power.
Political ideologies emerge from philosophy and the principles contained within that philosophy. It doesn’t work the other way around. The Republican Party is, in my humble opinion, trying to appeal to Conservatives on the basis of political ideology. As long as they continue with that strategy, they will be unable to solidify the support of the Party’s Conservative base.
My definition says that conservatism is based on three basic elements; 1) America’s founding documents (which guarantee the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and points out that the rights of the people do not come from government and that government works for the people, not the other way around); 2) Truth based on discernable facts (rather than media/political talking points and expert opinions – as in scientists who, until scientific evidence of fraudulent research practices were made public, were adamant that “humans are the primary cause of global warming’); and, 3) the guarantee that the Rule of Law will dominate the social order so that all people have equal access to justice, regardless of race, color, creed, or social status. There are sub-elements, but none violate these three primary principles.
That is the basis of Conservative principles and philosophy. The truth is, I don’t care what religion someone professes (if any) provided they believe in these things. Democrats (not Liberals, but Democrats) who believe in these three things could easily call themselves “Conservative” – and many Republicans who say they are Conservative would fail the definitional test.
Why does the Democrat Party have such an easy time splitting Conservatives into different groups on the basis of issues… abortion, illegal immigration, gun control, and – you name the issue? Because there is no leadership in the Party and because Republicans are not providing a strong and easily understandable philosophy of what the word “Conservative” means.
After the 2012 elections, people said that Mitt Romney’s Conservative message was not clearly given and it did not gain the support of the Republican Party’s base. That’s totally wrong! Mitt Romney – and I like the guy and I like his family – did not put forth a Conservative message. He and Paul Ryan put forth a Conservative fiscal policy view and talked about some other issues, but that falls far short of being a Conservative message based on Conservative philosophy. Mitt (and Paul Ryan, too) placed too much emphasis on “Conservative” meaning “fiscally Conservative.” Being fiscally Conservative is an issue that emerges from Conservative philosophy. It is just an issue. It is part of the philosophy, but it is not THE philosophy.
What does fiscal conservatism have to do with Conservative philosophy? If you are a constitutionalist, you know the answer to that question. People who set as the bedrock of their philosophy the Constitution of the United States know that having Ben Bernanke give $500 billion to New Zealand (this year) or $5 trillion to European and Japanese banks and corporations in 2011 is not constitutional. They know that the Federal Reserve System is not constitutional.
Thinking conservatives know that our fiscal (financial) problems come from an unconstitutional source. They know the First Amendment, Article 8 says that the United States House of Representatives is responsible for the debt of this nation, not a private corporation called the Federal Reserve. They know that to change the Constitution requires an Amendment and that passing the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 did not change the dictates of our founding documents. But those Senators and Congressmen who have spent too much time in Washington, D.C. don’t want to take on the issue of the Federal Reserve’s unconstitutional status and so they cannot use their greatest strength to win their most critical arguments regarding an over-spending nation that sinks us deeper and deeper into debt every day they vote on one issue or another. They want to keep things as they are when the Federal Reserve is involved… and that blasts one Republican definition of “Conservative” out of the water. It does not mean “traditionalist” if the tradition in question violates the Constitution of this nation!
When you say you are a constitutionalist, you do not get to choose which parts of the Constitution you agree with and which parts you disagree with. It’s a bit like the Holy Bible: You support it in its totality, or you do not support it at all. To do otherwise suggests that you place yourself and your judgment above the Constitution and that is unacceptable to Conservative philosophy… but it is what the Republican Party has been doing and that is why the Party has and is continuing to lose its Conservative base.
The same is true of all Republican issues. The three primary principles of Conservative philosophy – Constitution, Truth, Rule of Law – make the stand that must be taken on illegal immigration (violation of the Rule of Law), welfare and give-aways (for which there is no constitutional provision), education (Rule of Law that flows from the Constitution) – apparent. Follow the Constitution and you have all of the right answers to all Conservative issues. But Republicans seem to believe they can replace the philosophy of Conservatives with political ideology. They cannot. You’d think they’d understand that by now.
Okay, with that said, how does all of the above apply to the speeches given by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Texas Senator Ted Cruz at the Western Conservative Summit last weekend?
I said in the two articles preceding this one that I would give you answers to the errors of each of these speeches that are representative of why Republicans cannot get Conservatives to coalesce as a group behind Republican ideology. The short answer is that Republicans have no ideology… just a list of issues that give Democrats all of the ammunition they need to divide and conquer the various splinter groups. Ideology emits from philosophy – and Republicans are not functioning from a principled philosophy. They believe their ideology replaces the philosophy. It does not.
Governor Walker’s speech was very Republican. He spoke (and very well, indeed) of issues – education, balancing a budget, collective bargaining, Walker gave three guides he believes will help Conservatives elect Conservative candidates: 1) We need to be more optimistic. I would point out that people who believe in a philosophy are optimistic and that people who seek to push politicized issues and call them philosophy will gain no support from those seeking honest representation of their beliefs. Republican issues do not deal with beliefs… Conservative philosophy does.
Governor Walker told Republican candidates to talk in more relevant terminology. He’s right. People don’t want to hear words like “sequestration” thrown around. They do want to hear political messages in positive, relevant terminology they deal with in their everyday lives. But more importantly, they want to be able to tie the positive, relevant message they receive to their core beliefs – to their philosophy of life which embodies the Constitution as an American citizen, Truth, and the Rule of Law.
If Walker is looking to a presidential run in 2016, I said in my article about him that he has two major problems. Governor Walker spoke of the importance of Truth during his presentation. Leadership, which he also spoke of, is based on Truth (which also has strong ties to peoples’ philosophies of life). If you want to get the total picture of Governor Scott Walker as a politician, Google these words: “Scott Walker Operation Freedom.”
I hate to be the harbinger of bad news for Scott Walker fans (and I like him, too), but there is a mess in his past – actually, there are two of them – that need to be cleared up before he or any Wisconsin politician can become a viable national candidate for political office. Here is the shortest of the articles I found that will help explain Walker’s problem:
MILWAUKEE, Oct 12 (Reuters) – A former aide to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was convicted on Friday of stealing money from a fund for families of U.S. soldiers who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A jury in Milwaukee County Circuit Court found Kevin Kavanaugh guilty of embezzling more than $42,000 from Operation Freedom, a military appreciation event held each year at the Milwaukee County Zoo.
Kavanaugh, who worked for Walker when the first-term Republican governor served as Milwaukee County executive, faces up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Sentencing is expected on Dec. 7.
Kavanaugh, 62, was the treasurer of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, a charity involved in Operation Freedom, from 2006 to 2009. Walker appointed him to serve on the Milwaukee County Veteran Service Commission during Walker’s term as Milwaukee County executive.
It’s one thing to hear a politician talk about the importance of truth. It’s another thing to hold that politician accountable to providing the truth about things locked away in his or her closet. This is a particularly nasty case because it involves stealing money from the children of veterans who were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. And the scandal goes much deeper than the Reuters article suggests. Seven people who were Walker appointees were arrested.
The point is, there are questions that must be answered and those of us who are looking for a strong Conservative leader need answers to questions that arise from the information provided from Wisconsin newspapers HERE before we offer that support.
Governor Walker’s second problem is his refusal to address the abuses heaped on the head of Wisconsin resident and Ambassador Lee/Leo Emil Wanta by his Department of Revenue, the Wisconsin County Court system (particularly Dane County), and the Governor at the time Wanta was prosecuted/persecuted, Tommy Thompson. The official Wanta biography can be found HERE and provides links to court documents that prove the abuses Wanta suffered.
The Wanta situation was not created by Governor Walker. It is in no way his fault. Rather, Tommy Thompson was Governor when the Department of Revenue attacked Wanta viciously for taxes due from a company known as Falls Vending Service, Inc. Wanta owned not a single share of stock in that company and had no responsibility for its debts in any way… the court transcripts provide complete and accurate evidence of the man’s innocence. See Chapters 3 and 4 of the Wanta biography. It is a situation that provides Scott Walker with an opportunity to prove his commitment to the truth and honor of which he speaks publicly. I have written the Governor letters, sent them registered mail – and, over a two year period, have not received a response. That tells me, Governor Walker isn’t interested in eliminating possible corruption from his state government.
There may be a simple answer to all of the above and if there is, Governor Walker needs to provide it before setting his sail for bigger seas in the national political arena. That is all I am saying.
As for the two problems I said Senator Ted Cruz faces if he is looking to throw his Senatorial hat into the Presidential ring in 2016, here they are.
The Cruz message rings true. It is a conservative message that references principle and philosophy. But he needs to be more specific as to the content of the philosophy and the principles it represents. That’s easy enough to do.
The other thing he needs to do with his message is to apply the philosophy to the issues of unemployment, fiscal responsibility, illegal aliens, Second Amendment violations of the American right to bear arms, education, abortion – all of the conservative issues that enable Liberals to keep us from solidifying into a single group because as long as they can keep us splintered into small groups over different issues, they can beat us at the ballot box.
I have no doubt that Senator Cruz can accomplish exactly the right approach to solving the only problem I identified with his speech.
It is the second problem about which Senator Cruz can do nothing. His father was born in Cuba. As a result, he is not a Natural-Born American. His mother was born in America, but his father was not. It breaks my heart because I have no doubt I would feel honored to vote for this man to be my President.
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We conservatives must be very careful not to fall into the trap of absolving Barack Obama from his phony presidency – phony because he is not a Natural-Born American – by suggesting that what he did was okay because we do the same thing: Elect someone who isn’t eligible to be President.
Senator Cruz, by the way, won the Presidential straw poll vote done by the Centennial Institute’s Western Conservative Summit 2013. The others with whom he was competing: Congressman Paul Ryan, Senator Rick Santorum, Senator Jim DeMint, Governor John Kasich, Governor Susana Martinez, Senator Rand Paul, Senator Marco Rubio, Governor Jeb Bush, Governor Rick Perry… and, of course, Governor Scott Walker.
© 2013 Marilyn M. Barnewall - All Rights Reserved
Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall began her career in 1956 as a journalist with the Wyoming Eagle in Cheyenne. During her 20 years (plus) as a banker and bank consultant, she wrote extensively for The American Banker, Bank Marketing Magazine, Trust Marketing Magazine, was U.S. Consulting Editor for Private Banker International (London/Dublin), and other major banking industry publications. She has written seven non-fiction books about banking and taught private banking at Colorado University for the American Bankers Association. She has authored seven banking books, one dog book, and two works of fiction (about banking, of course). She has served on numerous Boards in her community.
Barnewall is the former editor of The National Peace Officer Magazine and as a journalist has written guest editorials for the Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News and Newsweek, among others. On the Internet, she has written for News With Views, World Net Daily, Canada Free Press, Christian Business Daily, Business Reform, and others. She has been quoted in Time, Forbes, Wall Street Journal and other national and international publications. She can be found in Who's Who in America, Who's Who of American Women, Who's Who in Finance and Business, and Who's Who in the World.
Web site: http://marilynwrites.blogspot.com