The Debate: Compassionate Conservatism Vs. Real Conservatism

Over at the Atlantic, Ross Douthat wrote a much quoted response to Rush Limbaugh that read in part,

“The bigger point (and I know I’m a broken record here) is this. Whatever direction you think conservatism should be going in from here on out, the absolute worst thing the members of a losing political movement can do – if they ever want to win again, at least – is attempt to pre-emptively close off debate about the movement’s future. Conservatives need to have arguments, not promise excommunications, or else pretty soon there won’t be very much worth arguing over.”

You know, I don’t believe in purges and I do think the GOP needs to have a constructive post-election debate about how to best retool our agenda, using conservative principles, to make the Republican party more appealing to the American people.

However, as far as I’m concerned, the debate over “compassionate conservatism” AKA “big government Republicanism” AKA as the “when somebody hurts, government has got to move” Republican Party is over and done with.

The GOP has already gone that route under George Bush and the election results of 2006 and the upcoming bloodbath of 2008 are the American people’s verdict on that decision. Just in case anyone hasn’t noticed the declining numbers of Republicans in Congress, the people’s verdict is a huge thumbs down.

As far as I am concerned, the people advocating that path for the Republican Party have already had their chance to lead and now, they can either follow conservatives as we pull the party to the right or they can get out of the way.

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