Monday, February 4, 2008

The semantics issue

There are many questions to be addressed in advance of a Republican primary, but one of the key ones that I've touched upon in this blog and the Ontario Empoblog has been the neo-conservative/conservative semantical issues (or, how did we get from Barry Goldwater to George W. Bush?).

Here's Aaron Brazell's definition of a conservative:

There are certain things about conservatism that move me to take a harder stance. A true conservative (or shall I call them paleoconservatives) hold to die-hard conservative principles. We disdain the neo-conservative philosophies that hjave taken hold in government across the board, including the Republican party. Key issues that true conservatives believe in:

We do not want the U.S. military to intervene in foreign affairs for anything other than worst-case scenarios.

Oppose illegal immigration and support tougher immmigration law and enforcement.

We believe in small federal government, with broader state rights

Well known paleocons are Pat Buchanan, CNN’s Lou Dobbs, Syndicated Columnist Bob Novak, The American Conservative’s Scott McConnell

But there are other definitions of a true conservative:

A "social conservative" accepts everything the Bible says. So, social conservatives are against abortion and sodomy because the Bible condemns them. But fiscal conservatives are pro-abortion and pro-sodomy because they don't care what the Bible teaches....

A person is a true conservative only to the degree that he or she accepts and lives by what God says in the Bible.

So what does that make Mike Huckabee? Evangelical Outpost considers:

For the past few months I've been arguing that Governor Huckabee is a solid and consistent conservative....

Yet many conservatives that I respect believe that I am wrong. In the last debate Sen. Thompson even said Huckabee would "bring about liberal economic policies, liberal foreign policies." Are they seeing something that I am not?

Josh R weighed in:

When all is said and done, nobody is a pure conservative unless you are an anarchist libertarian.

Mike is a pragmatist. He is going to oppose taxes, but he is going to get work done to move America forward.

But the Club for Growth doesn't think Huckabee is a pragmatist:

In a Club for Growth PAC-FreedomWorks event, the nation’s leading conservative organizations will hold a joint press conference to tell South Carolina voters about Governor Mike Huckabee’s liberal economic record. Although Governor Huckabee is attempting to portray himself as an economic conservative, his gubernatorial record and campaign rhetoric tell a very different story.


Pat Toomey, former Pennsylvania Congressman and President, Club for Growth
Dick Armey, former Republican Majority Leader and Chairman, FreedomWorks
Tom Schatz, Chairman, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste Political Action Committee
Donald Devine, Vice-Chairman, American Conservative Union PAC

And this is what some foreigner blog (hey, "Deo Vindice" ain't American) says:

To the point, and the person of Huckabee, he will do damage to the Great Experiment, our democracy in America, because he isn’t a consistent, conscientious, committed Conservative. He is a big government, Nanny State, tax and spend politician – who supports amnesty for illegal immigrants. Huckabee could be right, sometimes, for Social Conservatives. But, he is wrong and weak as a Defense Conservative. He fundamentally doesn’t understand the nature of the World War we are fighting or the global context of international affairs. If he governs like he did as governor in Arkansas, he is not a Fiscal Conservative. All good reasons not to make Huckabee the Republican standard bearer.

Evangelicals need to be concerned about the damage he will do to the Great Commission. If Huckabee is the Christian identity candidate then everything that goes wrong, every foible or failure of his, and every unimaginable consequence that befalls the U.S. during his presidency will be attributed by the nominally Christian, culturally Christian, Liberal Left Christian, non-and anti-Christian Americans (about 55% of the U.S.) to Christianity. That won’t help Evangelicals build the Christian witness and discipleship of the nominally Christian or convert by faith the culturally Christian. It’ll hurt Evangelicals when they engage the Liberal “Sissy” Christians and anti-Christians in the U.S. Culture War.

Politics is about compromise. Christian faith is about purity. Politics allows accommodations and exceptions, especially in foreign affairs, to defend the Nation. Christianity can’t divert from the truth, the light, the way of Jesus. Yet, a Christian identity President Mike Huckabee will be just a man bewildered on the world stage – when he must make compromises and take actions that many will not call ‘Christian’. That is if Huckabee got elected.

So we've heard about culture wars and the Great Commission - what about the Sermon on the Mount? Well, there's a proclamation entitled No Moratorium on the Sermon on the Mount.

The job of the peacemaker is "to stop war, to purify the world, to get it saved from poverty and riches ... to heal the sick, to comfort the sad, to wake up those who have not yet found God, to create joy and beauty wherever you go, to find God in everything and in everyone." I heard Muriel Lester say this when I was a senior at McMurray College in Texas in 1951. In a campus-wide address, this perky Englishwoman went on to say a number of uncommon things as she examined the Cold War from the vantage point of the Kingdom of God.

I was profoundly moved. What she said made sense. The Christian faith took on a fresh meaning and relevance. After the address, I heard one professor remark, "That woman sounds like a Communist." I didn't know much, but I did know that was utter nonsense-unless one's definition of Communism covers everything one doesn't agree with.

One of the presidential candidates linked to that blog post.

No, it wasn't Mike Huckabee.

No, it wasn't Barack Obama.

It was Mike Gravel.

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