Does CPAC show some of the big fractures in the Conservative Movement?
I actually started writing an article about this back when coffee and markets, a conservative podcast, started talking about the end of Fusionism being possible because of the pulling out of several social conservative groups from CPAC after GOProud was accepted as a sponsor of the event.
Now at issue is a fundamental problem at the core of conservatism, as you can seem from this diagram from those nice people over at Red State, and their ideological purity against libertarians
Now the Fiscal Conservatives are the closest to the libertarian ideal, claimed by many in the Republican party and the Conservative movement. But this is more about the movement than the party, which has its own problems and issues.
The tripod on which conservatism stands, is somewhat strange if you think about the natural enmities. Libertarians are against regulation and top down government, which the Social conservatives crave. Defense focused conservatives are generally a fan of outrageous military spending, which should be an anathema to the fiscally conscious libertarians. The Social conservatives with a strong focus on supporting the needy and the poor woven into their faiths, should be totally opposed to the cutting of welfare demanded by the libertarians, and the libertarians being strong on personal freedoms should be opposed to the Defense focused conservatives agenda of interfering with other peoples round the world.
What you have here is an unholy trinity, of three things that are not alike fused together which rarely line up so tightly in other political systems producing this so called “True Conservative”. The fictional true conservative if following what’s talked about by the Conservative movement would be a libertarian, however that is not the result we get.
The Fiscals generally support the Social agenda, who then support the Defense agenda, who then come back round and support the Fiscals, all the while remaining somewhat united if not in ideals, but the core ideology they present, and many people are fusion of Social, Fiscal and Defense conservatives in their beliefs. We look in from the outside very baffled because we see the contradiction, without understanding the pact formed by these conservative movements, often in the hearts and minds of the members of the greater conservative movements.
Some interesting events have happend recently one being GOProud sponsoring CPAC, which is a group of LGBTQA people who identify with the Defense and Fiscal wings of conservatism, and are tolerant of the Social wing. Now the Social Conservatives derive at great deal of their appeal opposing gay rights and other areas of social progression, and so feel that they cannot present their message at a function sponsored by a group who effectively say “Its okay to be conservative and gay” and so have pulled out. Does this mean that the social conservatives and their key membership the evangelical christians are going to march out of the conservative movement and start out on their own, of course not, but the fracture has been seen, and its not one that will easily heal, even with all the frantic PR thats going on at CPAC at this very moment.
The second is that no matter how you feel about the elections, its clear that due in part due to a total failure of messaging by the Democratic party, that a libertarian slant was put on the American citizenry, irrespective of the tea party which still seems to be limited, in part due to their limited actual size which is far smaller than Fox news likes to say. The message sold to the American people, was “less government is good”, which sounded nicely libertarian, then they showed massive government waste by trying to repeal a law they know they cannot repeal, annoying the fiscals and then returned sharply to the social conservatives who have inserted 3 bills to attempt to restrict a woman’s right to choose. Also on the horizon, every single candidate for the RNC chair professed strong social conservative anti-gay rights views, as has the entire crop of probable 2012 candidates. Tim Pawlenty, long thought to be a strong moderate voice within the Republican party, has announced that he plans to try to repeal the repeal of Dont Ask Don’t Tell, because he really cares about…well clearly not moderate viewpoints any more.
Now sadly as much as I’d like to be preparing to dance on the grave of conservative fusion. Being a pro-welfare, pro-choice, queer culture promoting, muff munching, peacenik, pro-taxing the rich socialist I’d like nothing more than seeing an end to the hypocrisy of someone saying “we have to cut Medicaid, because we have to cut spending, but i need a hundred billion for this new fighter plane” or someone who says “I’m for small government, and protecting the traditional family”. However thats not the case yet, but it gives us an in. You probably know some conservatives, I’m friends with a few, but many of them are gonna be leaning a little bit more heavily on 2 of those legs than the other one, so I’m not saying have an argument, but maybe chip away at those fractures a little bit more and maybe we can put an end to this myth of bipolar politics in America.