Every election year, many conservatives wonder why there are no politicians who will simply stand firmly on the traditions of conservatism, and refuse to foray into mushy moderateism. They wonder why both parties seem willing to compromise on important issues. Where, voters wonder, are the principled candidates who stand up as consistent conservatives .
There are. And every years, the media gives them a label: defeated. There are usually good, solid conservative candidates. They inevitably lose. (Reagan was an exception).
The latest to fall has been Fred Thompson. Thompson is a very strong conservative, who has a great number of good ideas. His Social Security plan is very strong, and is the only one proposed by any of candidates. (Social Security is one of those issues politicians like to ignore). He wants to end the IRS as we know it, which conservatives have been pushing for for years. With the exception of McCain-Feingold, he is indisputably conservative.
Some, though, have questioned his position on abortion. He is against a constitutional Human Life Amendment, preferring to leave the matter up to the states. Abortion arguably is a states rights issue. However, it seems inconsistent to leave abortion to the states, while so many other issues, which constitutionally probably are also states issues, are given to the federal government. However, it does not seem to me to be an issue of such weight that conservatives should withhold their support. He would probably be as strong a pro-life President as George Bush is, and Bush in turn is easily the strongest pro-life President ever.
Thompson is a true conservative- and has little support. It demonstrates that many, perhaps most, Americans would rather have the flashy candidate (Mike Huckabee) than the ideologically strong one (Thompson). Conservatives should not complain that Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, or Mike Huckabee are diluting the party's conservatism as long as true conservatives like Thompson (or Duncan Hunter) are ignored.
Who is to blame for this state of affairs? While there is plenty of blame to go around, I think that Sean Hannity bears a large measure of fault. I don't expect him to endorse a candidate. However, I do expect him to acknowledge there are differences between the candidates. Rudy Giuliani is not the same candidate as Duncan Hunter. Hannity has covered the election closer than any other talk show host- and has never admitted to there being any difference between the Republican candidates. Hannity's listeners deserve better. (And speaking of endorsements, Rush Limbaugh [!] didn't quite endorse Fred Thompson yesterday. He did say that he was the only conservative in the race. That's good news for Fred).
Commenter Beth suggested in the comments to my last post that if Huckabee and Hillary debated, they would end up agreeing with each other. If Huckabee was consistant, they would. However, Huckabee is a political chameleon- he is all things to all people. In the Deerborn, Michigan debate (which suffers from high unemployment), Huckabee was the friend of the common man. If Florida, he was excited to propose new avenues of space exploration. Where does Florida get much of its federal funds from? Couldn't be NASA, could it? Huckabee's debate with Romney over his scholarship program for illegals was amazing- his program was indefensible- and Huckabee still won. He is that talented. I like Huckabee's attitude towards values, but it would be just as well if he didn't pay for his good works with taxpayer money.