Monday, April 21, 2014

A Few Questions For South Dakota Conservative Republicans

Over at Dakota War College, Pat Powers got his comment waters churned into a froth when he tossed out this bit of chum from a Representative Reverend Steve Hickey comment:
I don’t get how Stace and those here can work so easily with Dems but not with moderate Republicans.
A host of anonymously and pseudonymously authored posts failed to get to the crux of the matter because they failed to ask the right questions, so I'll ask those questions here.

First, what exactly makes one a conservative in South Dakota? Modern American conservatism, as I understand it, began when William F. Buckley founded National Review to stand "athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one [was] inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it." Nationally and locally, self-described conservatives seem to demand history not only stop but also retreat. It's unclear whether they wish a return to 1988, the last year of the Reagan administration; 1688, a time when planning to hunt witches was considered good form; or 888, the midst of the European Dark Ages.

Second, what's wrong with moderates? If one wishes to push history back, one could do worse than landing in Aristotle's Athens where the Golden Mean seemed best. In contemporary America, avoiding extremes is a difficult principle to uphold.

Third, where are all of these moderates that seem to worry conservatives? I suppose it's possible that they and the last 7 liberals in South Dakota have all moved to an undisclosed location in the Badlands and are building a fortified castle ala Doomsday Preppers, but I haven't seen three moderates together in the same room for at least 20 years.

Fourth, what exactly do South Dakota conservatives support? Opposing Obamacare and Medicaid expansion is not the same as supporting something. One Dakota War College commentor, South Dakota Jammer, has urged repealing the Seventeenth Amendment which allows the direct election of United States Senators. Once again, being against elections doesn't mean that one supports something.

Fifth, why isn't South Dakota a conservative paradise already? Republicans, most describing themselves as rock-ribbed conservatives have occupied the governor's mansion and the legislature since statehood. If conservatives haven't put in place all the conservative measures they want by now, it would seem they have no one to blame but themselves.

Sixth, I'm speculating that some conservatives will answer question five by claiming that they have been betrayed. That claim prompts two questions: how many Judases have populated the conservative Republican ranks and why don't you have better quality control in your party? (I will avoid asking any questions about paranoia in this post.)

Seventh, and this one seems to be the most important question, why can't you graciously declare victory and practice Lincoln's dictum of working with malice toward none and charity toward all? Your antics have been entertaining but lately they seem to be becoming a bit too malicious and uncharitable for comfort.

1 comment:

P&R said...

In light of the Plainsman's Corollary, I should think the answer to #5 is obvious: RINOs :-)