Kingsley Guy’s recent analysis of and admonition to Republicans – “Rubio’s Dilemma- Moving too far right can be dangerous” is certainly worth a read. While Mr. Guy’s article makes some salient points about the divisions that exist within the Political Right, it misidentifies who those factions are, and also what “true conservatives” believe. Since the terminology he uses in his article only clouds the political landscape, let’s attempt to clear the air and offer an alternative opinion of just who is who, and who thinks what on the Right.
For starters, Mr. Guy can’t seem to make up his mind whether it’s good or bad for Marco Rubio to be “kowtowing” to the “far right”. And just who are the “far right”? More on that in a second. But let’s cut to the chase- Republican primary voters in Florida will either respond to Rubio’s conservative message or they won’t. We believe Rubio’s conservatism is not a ruse, nor is it of convenience, therefore he is not “kowtowing” in the true sense of the term. What’s more, the term “far right” has been so thoroughly abused in American political discourse, it’s been used to describe any of the following-
A. Anyone who simply supports lower taxes
B. A candidate who is a consistent, principled conservative throughout his career
C. Neo-Nazi holocaust deniers
D. Anarchists who reject authority and want no semblance of government at all
For purposes of this article, Marco Rubio is “B”, and the “far right” is best represented by “D” on the political spectrum.
Guy then goes on to make a distinction between “true” conservatives from today’s “so-called” or “self-anointed” conservatives:
True conservatives recognize the nuclear family as the fundamental element of civilized society. Yet at the end of the Clinton administration, so-called conservatives sought to separate a young boy (Elian Gonzalez) from his father. Fortunately, the U.S. Justice Department acted as the legitimate defender of conservatism by reuniting father and son.
There are a couple of questionable assertions here, let’s tackle them one by one.
It’s very true that conservatives view the family as the fundamental building block of civilized society, and as the family goes, so goes the success of a civilization. But the assertion that the U.S. Department of Justice was the “legitimate defender of conservatism”- under the auspices of Janet Reno – is patently absurd. The DOJ’s highly questionable actions and policies of that era could hardly qualify it as a “conservative” department, and no serious commentator would argue that the DOJ’s blunders during this period were in accordance with any kind of limited government philosophy. Even more misleading is Guy’s charge that, “so-called conservatives sought to separate the boy (Elian) from his father”- ignoring the fact that the decision to separate Elian from father was effectively made by his mother, for reasons that were well within her rights to do so. It was primarily liberals who believed in the coercive power of the state to redress what they perceived as a so-called “injustice” and sent machine-gun wielding federal agents to bust down his Miami residence and seize him from his relatives.
Now that Elian has undergone “psychotherapy” to cleanse him of any lingering sentiments towards America or his Miami relatives, and has pledged his fealty to the Castro regime by joining the Young Communist Union, whose course of action is looking wiser in retrospect? Choices have consequences, and it was Elian’s mother’s choice that was ultimately ignored. It was not “true” conservatives who advocated returning a child to the clutches of a repressive regime, and the results of this “reunification” were very predictable.
As to his analysis of the Political Right, Kingsley Guy is right to note that most Americans don’t identify as Republicans. But 40 percent of Americans DO identify themselves as politically “conservative”- the largest single political ideological group in the country. Guy again misses the mark when he makes his distinction between who are “true” vs. “so-called” conservatives. The “so-called” conservatives that he’s referring to- those who do not uphold the principles of limited government and individual liberty are primarily those who reside within the wishy-washy moderate wing of the Party. Call them RINOs, if you will. In spite of Mr. Guy’s claim, there is not some majority of “so-called” conservatives, as he identifies them, who wish to impose their personal beliefs on the populace via government. The real schism within the Republican Party resides between those who are willing to to acquiesce to substantial parts of the Democrats’ big-government agenda, and those who are unwilling to compromise with it.