Shocking title, eh?
Well, it needn’t be. Heck, if you are a conservative, don’t be ashamed of it! Be PROUD of it! It means you are normal! We conservatives are awful when it comes to governing.
The longer I live, and the longer I have dealings with liberals, I have come to suspect they are mentally disabled in some way. It is the truth. Conservatives, on the other hand are fairly easy to figure out. We come into this world hard-wired toward conservatism.
OK, let me see if I can stir this piece back to conservatives and why we are so terrible at governing. The underlying, single most important fact about conservatives is that they loathe government. We DO understand there must be boundaries and government provides that, but when government reaches beyond providing a service, which offers security for the country, most conservatives, including this scribe, recoil.
Ronald Reagan summed it up for conservatives: "Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." (Ronald Reagan -- First inaugural address, January 1981) He was right on the money.
We conservatives can abide government when it is small and kept that way, but the very nature of government, itself, is to grow and become bloated and end up smothering to death the very society it was set up to oversee. The most efficient form of government on the planet, at smothering its adherents, is… socialism. You know, the type of government we now have in the United States! You may have thought all those parties on January 20th were for Obama’s inaugural. They were not. Those parties were, in fact, a wake for democracy in America.
It is abhorrent to conservatives that a government should be run by a cadre of people who have trained all their lives to administer power over their fellowman. That is how we view the corp of trained bureaucrats running all those government agencies and even those in the Legislative, Judicial, and Executive branches of the government. Liberals may choose to view them as public-minded civil servants. Conservatives do not. We see them as tyrants and would-be dictators. The very idea that they are in government to serve their fellow man is foreign to conservatism. If one wishes to serve his fellowman, there are many other ways to do it than through administration of some government agency that wields control over those it supposedly serves. No, do not expect conservatives to toss laurel branches at government toadies!
I suppose one must say that government is a necessary evil. In that case…. Conservatives demand that it be kept small. Currently, the US government is growing like a marshmallow in a microwave oven! I know you are going to say it grew under George Bush, a Republican! Yes, but we are not writing of Republicans here. I am writing of conservatives here. George Bush was a lot of things but he was/is not a conservative.
Liberal government types do not speak to you, they lecture you, they “talk down to you.” They come across as stiff necked, and rigid, and convinced of their superiority of intellect, over yours, and they, and they alone, are your salvation. As an example, I give you the President of the United States, the messiah, Mr. Obama.
There is something in the conservative animal that resents the living daylights out of that approach to anything, including politics. It is one of the underlying reasons Northeastern candidates do so poorly in the bastion of conservatism, the South. In the South you are free to suggest most anything you want. But, the instant you begin “telling” or ‘commanding” or “demanding”... we bristle, and we get our backs up. We do not like being ”talked down to.” We find it offensive… extremely offensive.
Conservatives have such disdain for government that if and when we stand for election, it is most likely out of sheer consternation with the then current liberal office holder. If, and when, we win that office, we have a very steep learning curve because we are not prepared to accept superiority over our fellow citizens and we have not trained for a job in government as so many, many, of our liberal friends have while studying in their liberal colleges and universities. Plus, a true conservative is never REALLY happy in a government job. He feels, well, somehow dirty.
I’m not offering any of this as an excuse for conservative failure at politics. I’m offering it as one (conservative) man’s opinion as to why conservatives really do so badly at governing. If it makes you uncomfortable, I ask only that you think about it for a bit. You may come to agree with me… you may not. I would ask that you consider how conservatives, when in opposition in the Congress, seem much more effective with more “fire in the belly” as they oppose the would-be legislation introduced by liberals in both the Senate and the House. While that does not make my case, in my mind, it sure does lend validity to my argument.
J. D. Longstreet