Technology with attitude

Only Rick Santorum Can Save Us Now!

4

Robert Novak opines in his latest column that there is a feeling among the Republican base that the three leading candidates for the 2008 GOP nomination, Mitt Romney, John McCain and Rudy Giuliani are not conservative enough for the GOP.

A “push poll” that was done for former governor of Virginia James Gilmore, shows that the “big three” might be considered too liberal to be nominated. In the push poll (which of course had Gilmore at the top) participants were told things that might alienate conservative voters: such as Giuliani’s support for gay rights, McCain opposing tax cuts and Romney not making abortion illegal when he was governor.

What’s interesting about this all to me is the defination of “conservative.” According to the push poll and probably in the minds of many a Bush Republican, a true conservative, will always support a tax cut, will ban gay marriage and not give gays any rights, will ban abortion and will ship illegal immigrants back to Mexico.

But what Novak and probably a lot of Republians forget, is that there are many kinds of conservatism and not just their own (bigoted and narrow-minded, IMHO) viewpoint.

Fellow blogger Michael van der Galien links to an article about Rudy Giuliani, that presents a conservatism that I line up with:

Mayor Giuliani is calling on the Republican Party to redefine itself as “the party of freedom,” focusing on lower taxes, school choice, and a health care system rooted in free market principles.

Delivering a policy-driven overview of his presidential platform yesterday, Mr. Giuliani outlined the agenda in a Washington speech before a conservative think tank that sought to make clear distinctions between his vision and that of the Democrats, if not his rivals for the Republican nomination in 2008. The former New York mayor’s proposed redefinition of the Republican platform would signal a shift away from any focus on social issues, on which Mr. Giuliani is much less ideologically aligned with the party.

Mr. Giuliani talked about taxes, education, and health care, saying they are areas where Republican ideas trump those of Democrats.

Democrats, he said, would want to raise taxes to pay the higher costs of a war. “That shows a dividing line, and to me, a misunderstanding of how our economy works,” Mr. Giuliani said. He said that while Republicans believe that the American economy is “essentially a private economy,” Democrats “really believe, honest, that it is essentially a government economy.”

Citing the tax cuts of President Kennedy, Mr. Giuliani said the Democrats’ move away from a low-tax policy was one reason he left the party to become an independent and later a Republican.

On education, Mr. Giuliani acknowledged that he had more success overhauling the New York City welfare system than its public schools, but he lauded “school choice” programs that allow parents to use government money to send their children to private schools. Those initiatives have long drawn criticism from some who contend they amount to an abandonment of public schools.

Mr. Giuliani promised to take on the nation’s public school system, but he said would not seek to dismantle it. “I would not destroy it,” he said. “I would revive it, reform it, and change it.”

While saying the government needed to “find ways” to expand access to health insurance, Mr. Giuliani criticized Democratic proposals for universal health care that he said would threaten a “socialization” of the American medical system. “That would be a terrible, terrible mistake,” he said. The solutions, he said, “have to be free market solutions. They have to be a competitive system.”

Notice that he doesn’t talk much about gays or abortion. He seems more concerned about things that most Americans are concerned about: health care, education, taxes. Giuliani is showing a different kind of conservatism that isn’t obessed with social issues, which the government should not be so involved in, and more focused on “bread and butter” issues from a conservative standpoint. Rudy’s conservatism is more of the traditional “classical liberal” stripe than the social conservative style and if the GOP is smart they will latch on to this form of conservatism than waiting for a “Social Conservative Moses” that will lead them to the promise land.

There is no “conservative void.” There is void of imagination among the Republican base, who only seems to want someone like a Rick Santorum as their nominee.