A Pounding at the Polls : Why Conservatives Lost

November 9, 2006 at 11:08 pm 5 comments

Via Breakpoint

November 9, 2006 


Election Day is over, the votes have been counted, and it’s clear that conservatives took a beating. I have always maintained that Christian leaders should not make partisan endorsements—and I never have. But I am unashamed to say that I am a conservative.

In one sense, I think, all Bible-believers are conservative, because we believe in governing our lives by revealed truth rather than by man-made, utopian ideologies. Modern liberalism wants to remove all restraints on people’s behavior. Conservatives believe in the moral law. So Bible-believers might be liberal on a lot of issues, at least in the common sense of that word, like helping the poor, but they would be fundamentally conservative in their disposition toward life.

So, what happened in Tuesday’s election? The economy is strong. And it’s true we’re in an unpopular war, but people vote their pocketbooks most often. Yet the conservative movement, which had been gaining ground, has blown it. It has been defeated. Why?

The answer is one that may startle you. Conservatives lost because they deserved to. They failed to live up to the high standards of personal behavior they preach about. And that’s what brought them down.

Is there a double standard here? Why should the case of Mark Foley have helped bring down the Republicans? After all, twenty years ago a Democratic congressman, Gerry Studds, had an affair with a male page, disclosed that he was a homosexual, got his wrist slapped by the House, and then got re-elected! Why has Foley’s indiscretion turned into Foley-gate?

The answer is because it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Look at how the conservatives for years railed against the Democratic liberal establishment and all of its money, the lobbying establishment, the junkets, the payoffs. The conservatives campaigned against it in 1994, only to take over Washington and do exactly the same thing. This is what is known as rank hypocrisy.

Is it unfair that when conservatives do things liberals do, that they, the conservatives, are labeled as hypocrites? No.

According to that great conservative thinker Russell Kirk, the first tenet of conservatism is the preservation of the moral order. True conservatives don’t look at government as a plaything by which they can impose their latest ideas on the country; they look at political power as a guardianship, what Chesterton called the democracy of the dead. In other words, we have a debt to those who have gone before us, and the primary debt is to preserve the moral and constitutional order that our forebears fought to defend.

So when a conservative has a much-publicized affair or is outed for improper sexual behavior with pages, or digs into the congressional budget pot to hand out earmarks to his own district, he is a hypocrite to be scorned.

My hope and prayer is that conservatives in America will do some serious, sober soul-searching. We need to get our own act together before we can preach to others, or before we deserve to hold power. And if we break trust, we are breaking trust with the very essence of who we are. Our own character is at stake.

You can talk all you want about the unpopularity of President Bush, or the Iraq war, or immigration. But what this campaign really boiled down to was, well, when it comes to conservatives, it’s character, stupid. If conservatives don’t learn that lesson, they will spend a long time in exile—and deservedly so

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Entry filed under: Culture, Economics, Literature, Media, Missions, Politics, Religion, Society, World.

Good News for Democrats, Good News for Evangelicals “Adam, where are you?”

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. houstonmacbro  |  November 10, 2006 at 4:08 pm

    i will have to agree with you on just about everything you said. while i am not a ‘conservative’ (more moderate-center) or republican (more dem but lean to independent) i think you hit the nail on the head.

    for years, the republican party has preached morality, fiscal discipline, etc. and some have acted, when elected, in the complete opposite.

    let me also offer this thought. i would also hope that we do not become a nation that legislates through religion. not everyone is christian and i certainly wouldn’t want a hindi or muslim WILL to push through laws, any more than i would want a christian to make them based on the only thing save the bible.

    i also hope and pray that the democrats can maintain not just an ethical highroad, but a responsibility to maintain the guardianship of the law and the constitution and the ideals to which the founding fathers believed, as well as an overwhelming desire to help the COMMON person in america.

  • 2. Kenyan Analyst  |  November 10, 2006 at 11:21 pm

    Uhhn…I so hear you there…

  • 3. toiyoi  |  November 10, 2006 at 11:22 pm

    Colson gets it. I heard Dobson’s broadcast yersterday (11.09.2006) and thot “they still do not get it”
    Imagine Prez Bush preaching compassionate conservatism and leaving the Katrinas high and dry (or wet) .Imagine DeLay preaching family (even likening himself to Christ!!) values and busy( with Abramoff) screwing the native americans in their schems. Imagine Haggard preaching water and drinking wine and more. It could not have happened at the worst time for the repblicans.

    One thing the republicans should be happy about is this: The war is a quagmire, for anyone, no matter how it is handled. But now, they have the democrats to blame for any outcome.

  • 4. houstonmacbro  |  November 11, 2006 at 2:00 am

    why is it that we have BLAME anyone. i think that is what’s wrong with the culture of this country … instead of trying to help and see other people’s points of view (walk a mile in their shoes) we always and first just resort to BLAMING them.

  • 5. Patrick Gathara  |  November 17, 2006 at 2:12 pm

    The thumpin’ the Republicans got was not from the Democrats but from the American people. This was not a vote for the Dems (they really had nothing to offer) but rather a vote against Bush, his misadventure in Iraq and his attempt to create an Imperial Presidency from where he could govern by fiat. The authorisation of the use of torture in interrogations as well as the abrogation of the “Great Writ” of Habaeus Corpus just goes to show how far the US has fallen under the Republicans.


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