It’s been obvious to many that modern conservatism has, to a large degree, become bereft of ideas and more about cultural issues, and opposing Barack Obama more out of personal dislike than principled opposition. On the right you’ll hear a lot of shouting and yelling, but almost no one is making a reasoned, optimistic pitch for why conservative ideas are better for actual people. It’s become all about firing up the base, which has been shrinking for years to the point where it is no longer enough to win elections.
But it’s one thing for a libertarian like me to say it. It’s another for Erick Erickson at the major conservative blog Red State to say it. I disagree with Erick most of the time, but he has just about nailed exactly what the current state of the Right is:
What I am finding is that among conservatives there is too much outrage, piss, and vinegar. It makes our ideas less effective. We have become humorless, angry opponents of the President instead of happy warriors selling better ideas. We are not even selling ideas.
Conservatives, frankly, have become purveyors of outrage instead of preachers for a cause. Instead of showing how increasing government harms people, how free markets help people, and how conservative policies benefit all Americans, we scream “Benghazi” and “Fast & Furious.”
Exactly. We see this all over the place. Obama is not simply just someone to disagree with, but someone to hate, to view as a literal traitor and evil person. Surely the left was guilty of this to some extent in the Bush years, but never to this degree. Frankly, the right has become exceedingly boring, and most of the country agrees.
And this is a simply tragic thing. I see a massive opening for conservative and limited government ideas. Many realize that government cannot solve their problems and often makes them worse. They know that we can’t sustain our debt. And they want a better future for themselves and their kids. Yet there are few making this case in a positive way. The average conservative has become lazy, happy to live in a permanent bubble. And, sadly, our media culture lets this happen quite easily. Just keep your TV on Fox News and your dial on talk radio, and you’re immune from reality.
Those of us who believe in a smaller government and a more free society have got to stand up and demand better. A big first step would be kicking out the most noxious and unproductive voices, those who call any compromise treason and would consider Ronald Reagan to be a “RINO”. Conspiracy theories need to be jettisoned out the nearest airlock, whether they be about guns in Mexico or Hillary’s supposedly faked concussion. Stop with the boycotts and the yelling and stupid nicknames.
Obama made his case for liberalism on Monday. We know what he believes. Time to show the nation that there is another option out there.