When The Republican Party Takes It On The Chin, So Does Conservatism

My pal Ivy J. Sellers over at Human Events wrote an article called Conservatism Was Not Defeated and while I agree with 98% of what she wrote, I have a problem with the title of the piece, even though the sentiments it expresses have been commonly heard around the blogosphere since the election.

Sure, Republicans didn’t get in trouble because they were too conservative, they got in trouble because they weren’t conservative and principled enough. While that’s true, make no mistake about it — conservatism was defeated on Tuesday because the Republican Party is the imperfect vehicle used to implement conservative policies.

Now, maybe you think that’s just semantics or a minor point, but it’s not. Just as the Republican Party can’t win without conservatives, conservatism cannot win without the Republican Party. When the Republican Party cratered on Tuesday, the ability of conservatives to shape and influence government policy cratered with it.

That’s an important thing to understand because a lot of people on the right, I’m not talking about Ivy here, seem to have the mistaken impression that the fate of conservatism and the Republican Party are not intertwined. So, they errantly believe that if the Republican Party loses an election, conservatism isn’t affected or if they go off and vote for some loser Third Party, that they’re still doing their part to move conservatism forward. Sorry, but that’s just not true.

Although merely having Republicans in power doesn’t guarantee that a conservative agenda will be enacted, for a conservative agenda to be enacted, Republicans need to be in power.

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