Friday, August 24, 2012

True conservatives

From Prop8TrialTracker:
The Indepdendent reports today that Michael Ashcroft, a former deputy chairman of the UK’s Conservative Party, has told Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron that he should stand up to those on the far right of his party who oppose marriage equality, arguing that to do otherwise would be even more politically damaging...
.... The poll found that 41 percent of respondents favored equal marriage rights, with 27 percent having no opinion. Thirty-one percent opposed marriage equality, but only 12 percent of that group said their vote would be affected by the issue.
That point stands in rather stark contradiction to American conservatives, who this week voted for a Republican party platform that is strongly anti-marriage equality and calls for a constitutional amendment banning marriages for gays and lesbians. In addition, the platform committee overwhelmingly (and, according to the Washington Post, noisily) voted down language that would have supported civil unions. Lord Ashcroft’s statements about “joiners and considerers” shows that on gay issues, the Republican party is becoming increasingly a small-tent operation, while in the UK, marriage equality has effectively ceased to be a partisan issue.
It has been pointed out many times that marriage equality is a deeply conservative belief.  The UK conservatives get that.  And it's yet more evidence that there are no conservatives left in the Republican party.  Andrew Sullivan writes passionately that the Republicans aren't conservative at all, but instead a religious populist association.  And just as I find Obama too conservative, Andrew finds him a true conservative.
That's why I have long been baffled as to why people said my preference over Obama was some kind of shift to the ideological left. Nope. Against a radical right, reckless, populist insurgency, Obama is the conservative option, dealing with emergent problems with pragmatic calm and modest innovation. He seeks as a good Oakeshottian would to reform the country's policies in order to regain the country's past virtues. What could possibly be more conservative than that? Or less conservative than the radical fusion of neoconservatism, theoconservatism and opportunism that is the alternative? 
For thinking conservatives of a classic variety, Obama is the best president since Clinton and the first Bush. We need him for the next four years if we are to avoid the catastrophes that always follow revolutionary ideology. Like another Iraq; or another Katrina; or another Lehman.

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