Liberals always seem to be suggesting ways for conservatives to get back on the right track. E.J. Dionne, for example, suggests in a new book that conservatives would be more successful if they “moderated,” abandoned many of their core ideals, and came to terms with big government.
Contrary to Dionne’s advice, conservatives understand that the way to win the electoral debate is to take a strong forward position and stick with it just as Reagan did with his 1981 tax cuts that triggered 90 months of economic growth and his Strategic Defense Initiative which forced the Soviets to abandon the arms race and agree to end the cold war at the bargaining table and not on the battlefield.
Dionne is correct that President Eisenhower presided over a period of comparative peace and prosperity in the 1950s, but his “modern” Republicanism was rejected as “a dime store New Deal” by Barry Goldwater, a prime maker of the conservative movement. What Reagan said in his first inaugural address still applies: “In this crisis, government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem.”
Contrary to Dionne’s counsel, American conservatism does not need warmed-over Republicanism from the Fifties to get back on track but principled leadership committed to real health care solutions, meaningful spending cuts, tax reform that spurs economic growth and creates jobs, a strong national defense, energy independence, commonsense immigration reform, protection of human life from conception to natural death, and preservation of the traditional family.
What do you think? Is abandoning principle the only way conservatives can succeed? Or should conservatives look to change the debate and win more Americans to our views?