Friday, December 11, 2009

Conservative vs Conservative

I think some wings of the conservative movement have hit the point where they actually make no sense. Erick Erickson, founder of RedState:

"Lately, we have collectively been saying a lot of people are conservatives, the noun, when we should be saying they are conservative, the adjective. Here is a good example:

George W. Bush is not a conservative. He is conservative, but not a conservative. While Christianity has certainly always defined who George Bush is, conservatism has not. Put another way in which I think we can all agree, George W. Bush’s gut instinct is a conservative one, but the fiber of his being is not that of a conservative.

I don’t mean to pick on a President I like, but it was Rush Limbaugh in 2005, who was the first real conservative (noun) to say George W. Bush was not a conservative, but had conservative instincts.

Here is where the trouble comes in — there is no rule to separate between the two. Congressman Kevin Brady sent out a press notice yesterday that said “House conservatives,” not “House Republicans”, would hold a press conference on the debt ceiling. The congressmen involved were Steve Scalise (R-LA), Eric Cantor (R-VA), Kevin Brady (R-TX), Jim Jordan (R-OH), John Shimkus (R-IL), Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Jack Kingston (R-GA), Mike Conaway (R-TX), John Fleming (R-LA), Eric Paulsen (R-MN), Chris Lee (R-NY), and “other House Conservatives.”

I am sure that each of these men is in some way conservative, some absolutely are conservatives, see e.g. Jeb Hensarling, but they are not all one of us. Several on the list are not by definition conservatives, but are by definition Republicans — it is the party that defines them and conservatism only describes one aspect of their being, some more than others.


I’ve done my best to make some sense of this. I hope you have been able to follow along. It is important we start paying attention to the difference between the noun and the adjective."


TJE said...

I think many conservatives do not see W as the heir to their hero, Ronald Reagan. NCLB and exploding domestic spending were very un-Reagan. This for them, W was not a true conservative.

Evan said...

I see where that line comes from in general, but the manner in which it was presented was...not especially coherent.

TJE said...

I agree.