November 30, 2006
With the 2006-midterm elections now in recent memory, it is an accepted fact that the election functioned as a veritable referendum in our republic on the majority Republican Party. As many pundits have assessed, though, the question remains if the election is a refutation of American conservatism. Liberals eagerly clamor that it is, but it is questionable if any coherent conservatism remains in the United States.
p. Republicans typically degrade their Democratic opponents as having neither cohesive policies nor programs. But perhaps introspection is warranted after such a cataclysmic election where the rule of Nov. 7 appeared to be anyone except a Republican. Those who question if conservatism was voted against must believe that the Republican Party still embodies conservative ideals, which it does not.
p. Modern Republicans have abandoned the tenets of their party and espoused a new incoherent “conservatism.” Under this new doctrine, Justices of the Supreme Court who interpret the Commerce Clause as a means to enforce states’ rights instead of expanding Congressional power are nominated and confirmed, as evidenced by United States v. Lopez. This same doctrine endorses the notions that the federal government has the authority to regulate education within many states and the ability to nationally intrude into the private lives of its citizens in continually aggravating ways. This new conservative philosophy also advocates the federal regulation of marital vows between individuals — a practice historically granted to the states under the Tenth Amendment. Subscribers to the “conservative” movement often advocate the national banning of all methods of abortion, describing it as nothing short of homicide. However, they do not offer an initiative to nationalize the crime of homicide that assuredly rests as a “police power,” which is guaranteed to the states under the provisions of the Constitution. Ironically, the conservative position that the Constitution does not permit federal banning of the deplorable practice of abortion most publicly resides with the 2004 presidential campaign stance of Senator John Kerry who expressed personal disapproval, but emphasized Constitutional propriety. Religion must guide, not govern.
p. If the Republican Party wants to maintain a prominent position within the federal government, it must return to its core values. Emerging Republican rhetoric states that the party was placed in power 12 years ago to “change government,” but that “government changed the Republican Party.” However, it is likely that these words shall prove to be little more than rhetoric. The Republican Party needs to return to its conservative origins. Currently, the “conservative” doctrine proclaims that government should stay out of personal matters but advocates governance by personal interests. As candidates emerge for the presidential election of 2008, the Republicans will ultimately choose the destination of the party. Either the doctrine of conservatism will return to offer the electorate true alternatives, or the modern doctrine of “conservatism,” as shown by the failed senators and representatives of Nov. 7, will linger.
p. This midterm election has allowed the Republican Party the historic chance to reunite with its true origins, but the upcoming presidential election will determine the fate of the party. It will prove whether there has been enough damage to tear apart a party that, over two centuries ago, emerged from the collaboration of many wrecked coalitions and noble pursuits. The Grand Old Party, which saved the Union, has erroneously begun to enact the most divisive of political practices, which will lead to its own demise. True alternatives are deserved and desired by the people of the United States. It seems that no party upholds the Constitution any longer, electing to champion the sanctity of individual liberties. The grandeur of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower must return to a party long tethered to a sinking agenda by the Sunbelt, if it desires to save itself. True conservatism needs to return to serve the people of our republic.
p. __Aaron Griffin, a member of College Republicans, is a freshman at the College. His views do not necessarily represent those of The Flat Hat.__