This might go down as one of the most incoherent and just plain wrong things I have ever read.
If the GOP decides to go in the Bobby Jindal direction (fundamental Christianity, creationism, hard-line anti-abortionism, aggressively anti-gay rights), it will be committing political suicide. As much as anything else, this election was a referendum on the social conservative agenda, and the social conservatives did not win.
So says Charles Johnson, someone who found his way to the GOP after September 11. I always appreicate it when people who have almost no track record within the conservative movement other than their hard-line foreign policy stance lecture the rest of us on what we should do to succeed electorally.
Where to begin with this mess? First of all, Johnson seems blissfully unaware that Bobby Jindal is a Roman Catholic, not a Christian fundamentalist. Yeah yeah, we all look the same to you, but we’re actually quite different. But why let things like inconvenient facts get in the way of a mindless rant. Second of all, as a Catholic, Jindal is not necessarily prone to being sympathetic to creationism. I am not sure of what Jindals’ beliefs are in this regard, but it’s simply wrong to assume that he necessarily is a creationist. (Update: I am reminded of his support for the Discovery Institute, so his views on this might tend in the creationist direction, but who cares? Was this really an issue at all in this election?) And please spare me the “anti-gay rights” garbage. Opposing the complete mangling of the definition of marriage is not the same thing as opposing civil rights. Sorry, but two men can’t get “married” any more than I can call myself the mayor of the Milky Way. Gay “marriage” is simply a thing that cannot be. Those of us who hold this view are hardly going around with billy clubs every night and trying to round up them gay folk into the backs of our trucks, okay?
As for this:
As much as anything else, this election was a referendum on the social conservative agenda, and the social conservatives did not win.
What election was Johnson watching? When did social issues become the dominant theme of this campaign? There were four presidential and vice presidential debates, and the total time spent on social issues was about equivalent to a longish Led Zeppelin song. And I don’t think it was the passage of some social conservative piece of legislation that caused McCain to go from up in the polls to down in the polls over the course of a single day. Something about a financial market collapse seems to come to mind.
Meanwhile, the GOP’s nominee avoided social issues like the plague. His running mate was a solid social conservative, but even Palin hardly spent much time on the stump railing against abortion and gay marriage. And, if anything, Barack Obama was able to garner votes because he somehow convinced a significant portion of social conservatives that he was some kind of a moderate. He absolutely hid his extreme positions and ran away from his record.
And then there’s that hole Prop 8 thing. It passed in CALIFORNIA – you know, that bastion of Christian conservatism – and it passed because of the votes of African Americans. Gee, you think that might signify that it isn’t the GOP’s social conservatism that’s repulsing voters?
Oh, but we might lose 25-year old singles that get their news from John Stewart. Yes, that is a problem. But what’s troubling about that trend is that it reveals the fundamental faults in our education system, not the errors of “clinging” to social conservatism.
But as dumb as Johnson’s comments are, he was topped by one his minions in the comment thread.
Conservatism has so much less to do with religion and so much more to do with Freedom for the individual to prosper.
Somewhere Edmund Burke just spun over in his grave several times. I’ll address this point later today, but it’s fundamentally wrong. Conservatives value individual freedom because of our strong religious beliefs, not in spite of them.
But I’m grateful for people like Johnson, because they demonstrate the difference between being a conservative and being a right-winger. Yeah, we should commend Johnson for recognizing the threat of Islamic terrorists, but a conservative this makes him not. So excuse me if I don’t think conservatism should cast aside the very things that define conservatism, all to appease a Johnny-come-lately.