A few days ago, Stephen Bainbridge wrote a blog post called “It’s getting embarrassing to be a conservative.” He listed ten reasons why, for him, this is so. These three will give you the flavor:
1. A poorly educated ex-sportswriter who served half of one term of an minor state governorship is prominently featured as a — if not the — leading prospect for the GOP’s 2012 Presidential nomination.
5. .Thanks to the Tea Party, the Nevada GOP has probably pissed away a historic chance to oust Harry Reid. See also Charlie Crist in Florida, Rand Paul in Kentucky, and so on. Whatever happened to not letting perfection be the enemy of the good?
6. The anti-science and anti-intellectualism that pervade the movement.
Every conservative probably has a list of reasons why it is often frustrating to be a conservative. Mine includes a few of the items on Professor Bainbridge’s full list.
But Tom Smith of Right Coast does a great job of gently pointing out the element of self-indulgence (my term, not Smith’s) in Bainbridge’s post. Smith concludes, “one can be a little embarrassed about the low points of current conservatism, but one has to consider the alternatives.”
SCOTT adds: Should conservatives really be embarrassed because they were set to reject Charlie Crist as the GOP senatorial candidate in favor of Marco Rubio? If Charlie Crist should be a source of embarrassment, I don’t think it’s for conservatives. I’d like to see Bainbridge make the high-minded case for Charlie Crist. I should think that would take some doing.
Bainbridge was inspired to create his list by David Klinghoffer’s Los Angeles Times column on the purported descent of conservatism. Now that is embarrassing!.
PAUL adds: Good point on Rubio-Crist. One of the things that embarrasses Bainbridge about being a conservative is that
. . .when the GOP took control of Congress in 1994, and the White House in 2000, the desire to use the levers of power to create “compassionate conservatism” won our over any semblance of fiscal conservatism. Instead of tax cuts and spending cuts, we got tax cuts along with a trillion dollar entitlement program, a massive expansion of the Federal Government’s role in education, and two wars. That’s not fiscal conservatism it is, as others have said, fiscal insanity.” Yet, today’s GOP still has not articulated a message of real fiscal conservatism.
But Charlie Crist seems to me like the kind of “conservative” who held sway during this period, while Rubio is the kind of conservative who is attempting to articulate a message of real fiscal conservatism.
JOHN adds: All I can say is, conservatives are a heck of a lot easier to embarrass than liberals.