Definition of a Conservative

We have all heard the comments about the Republican Party lacking a brand and direction, while Conservative debate over what Conservatives are the movements leaders and strongest candidates.

As many Conservatives around the Country try to answer questions about what it means to be a Conservative, an equal number are also asking that question.

Enter Lyn Nofgizer, who passed away in 2006. Nofgizer, who was with Reagan since his days as Governor in California and also ran political campaigns for Pat Buchanan and Steve Forbes, penned a very descriptive and enlightening definition of “What is a Conservative”:

“Allowing for differences I would define a conservative, first as one who believes in the Constitution as it is written. That takes care of free speech, freedom of religion, the right to petition the government, the right to keep and bear arms and, in the words of William O. Douglas in one of his saner moments, ‘the right to be let alone.’

“Second, a conservative believes in small, limited government at every level. Along with this he believes strongly in individual responsibility. That is, a person or a family should take care of itself and turn for help to government only when all other means have been exhausted. It also means that society, before government, has a duty to take care of its own. Government should be a resource of last resort.

“Third, a conservative believes taxes should be levied for the purpose of financing the limited responsibilities of government such as providing for the common defense, catching and incarcerating criminals, minting money and filling potholes. Taxes should not be levied for the purpose of redistributing wealth.

“That’s about it.

“I know there are those who say a conservative should be pro-life, which I am, but I’m not sure a person has to be that to qualify as a conservative. Nor am I sure that a person must be opposed to pornography, which I am. In both cases there are questions of individual rights and responsibilities which are arguable.

“One other thing I think a conservative believes is that the parents, not government, are and should be responsible for the upbringing and behavior of their children.” {Source: Muth’s Truths}

I am sure that this definition will raise some questions, especially in regards to the Pro-life paragraph. But Nofgizer raises a good question about if this one issue defines if a person is a Conservative or not.

One need not look further then to 2 Congressman in New Jersey, a Senator in PA and a Senator in Nevada. All 4 are Pro-Life; 2 are Republican and 2 are Democrat.

None are Conservative.

Yet there are many candidates and elected officials that are called “Pro-choice”, i.e. Pro-life except in the case of incest, rape or to save the life of the mother, that ARE Conservative in every other area.

Putting the Pro-life issue aside for the moment, the rest of his definition across the board is totally dead on and should be used as a template for a platform of Conservative principle’s for people to read and agree to.

But what about the Pro-life issue and the point Lyn makes? I certainly reject anyone who supports abortion on demand, taxpayer funded abortions, partial-birth abortion and abortions at any time during the pregnancy for any reason, as being a Conservative, or even a Republican for that matter.

I think the problem is that some Pro-life politicians are being called Conservatives when they aren’t, and getting a pass because of it. When it comes down to it, Nofziger’s definition of a Conservative is a great tool to use as a check list to gauge someone’s positions, but at the end of the day, the voter will vote for who represents their beliefs the best.

For the one-issue voter, whether it’s the life issue, or immigration, or gay-marriage even, that ONE issue will determine which way there vote will go.

This certainly needs to be addressed further, as other issues come and go, or go hot and cold depending on the year, the life issue is always at the forefront. Nofziger seems to be suggesting that the Conservative movement can include people who are pro-choice. I’m not so sure that is going to fly though, HOWEVER, the movement does include Pro-lifer’s who get the Conservative label, but are not Conservative on any or many other issues.

Why the exception, and is it fair? Do you think that one of the problems is that to many Pro-life office holders diluted the Conservative movement by being a RINO and voting like one on to many other issues, while Pro-choice Conservatives have been shut out of even serving in office, giving way to a Pro-Choice liberal Democrat or in the rare case, a Pro-Life liberal Democrat?

Is there such a thing as a Pro-choice Conservative and if so, is that going to be acceptable?

Are there to many Pro-life elected officials now in office that get branded as a Conservative, but vote like RINO, hurting the overall Conservative movement?

It looks like I have the questions, but I sure don’t have the answers. Do you?

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