Even after Barack Obama’s stunning victory Tuesday night, I am convinced that 75% of Americans still live, breathe, and believe in Republican Conservative values.
So why is it, you ask, that the Democrats now control both the Executive and Legislative Branches of the U.S. Government? Plain and simple … and starting at the top … the Republican Party has been abandoning conservatism. They have continued to abandon the very principles and people that made it victorious.
The Bush presidency has made a shambles of real conservatism. Let's leave aside the issues on which liberals and conservatives can be expected to disagree, like his tax cuts for the rich, expansion of Medicare or his position on immigration, and focus solely on ones that should be above partisan rancor … ones involving the Constitution and all-American values. On issue after the ‘Mom and Apple Pie’ issue, Bush has done incalculable damage to conservative principles, and he has been supported every step of the way by Republicans in Congress, who have voted in lockstep for his questionable policies.
The Bush presidency has damaged American civil society in many ways, but one of the most lasting may be its destructive effect on conservatism. The 75% number includes those Americans, who do not call themselves conservatives, but acknowledge the power and enduring value of core conservative beliefs. That is belief in individual agency and responsibility, respect for American institutions and traditions, a resolute commitment to freedom, a willingness to take principled moral stands. It is a movement that draws its inspiration from towering figures such as Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, Edmund Burke … as well as the greatest conservative of all … Ronald Reagan.
I view the Bush Administration as having been the captain of the U.S. Naval Submarine “The Conservative” (SSN Class 2004). The captain, in essence, kept The Conservative submerged far too long. At nearly every moment when the Captain should have surfaced the sub, he instead chose to dive a little further.
For a good part of the past eight years, The Conservative drifted in waters at a depth of 30 meters down. It is at this depth that red light is quickly absorbed, and since there is no red light to reflect anything that is red, it thus absorbs all light that hits it and red will appear a blueish black.
For the past year, The Conservative continued to teeter between a depth of 29 and 30 meters. It is precisely this analogy, when applied to Tuesday night’s Electoral Map, that should help explain why most of the red states simply disappeared.