Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Conservatism's core principles

Contemplating the long road back from the political wilderness to which the GOP will almost certainly be consigned next week, in the WaPo yesterday former Bush administration strategic advisor Peter Wehner argues that conservatives must stay the course with their "core principles":
"But saying that conservatism is in better shape than the GOP is not to say it doesn't face challenges. It would be silly and self-defeating for Republicans to repudiate conservatism's core principles of a strong national defense, limited government, constitutionalism and protection for unborn children."
Pardon? As Andrew Sullivan points out, there's something wrong with that sentence.

The first three "core principles" are general approaches to governing, but the last one is a specific policy, not a "core principle". (And ironically, it runs counter to the real conservative core principle of limited government and less state intrusion into the private lives of citizens.) The fact that an anti-abortion stance is being identified as a "core conservative principle" is indicative of the religious right's long-term influence on the GOP. When the rebuilding process begins, Republicans would do well to remember that the religious right is in no small part responsible for making the GOP what it is today: unelectable.