My negativity regarding the prospects for a conservative nominee subsided, and disappeared, following CPAC’s impressive paeans to conservatism, along with Rick Santorum’s surge among conservatives who frankly aren’t that tickled by Rick Santorum. A recurring truth of folks’ behavior when they live guided by principles of individual autonomy is again public; PJ Media Editor Bridget Johnson noted the trend:
One of the messages sent strongly by CPAC voters — and the corresponding Washington Times phone poll of 600 self-identified conservatives — is that the general election isn’t their point.
At the conference, 59 percent of straw poll voters picked a candidate’s stances on the issues as the most important quality in choosing a nominee, compared to 56 percent in the nationwide poll. Thirty-eight percent at CPAC and 33 percent nationwide picked the candidate’s chances to beat President Obama in November as most important.
Be as sure the Rovestablishment will misinterpret this poll as you are of its message:
You need us. We do not need you.
Marco Ryan de Clarencepalin would be grand, but being alive while living according to a code of personal responsibility implies that — ahem — one has been able to remain alive without this person, and yet another political season is afire with the primary players out of touch with this phenomenon of conservatism. Despite this, the results so far are astounding: I fail to see how the box scores should be cause for anything but pride among the country class.
The continual march of conservative torch-bearers rising and falling versus Mitt Romney signals two messages. First, and obvious to all, conservatives have no interest in supporting Mitt Romney, and there is absolutely nothing he can do to change this besides being the only guy left when the music stops. And that so many have risen to challenge him should not be upsetting — the streak of upstarts is nothing less than historically phenomenal.
Simply, Romney has not worn down the conservative voter, well into the primary season, and this is because a large enough number of conservatives — for the first time in my life as a dedicated political observer — are living and acting publicly as conservatives. They detest representing Romney’s half-socialism more than they detest being stuck with a weak candidate.
Why should any observer feel down about conservatism’s prospects following this historic display of moral clarity?
The second message: the several conservatives bearing varying fulfillments of conservatism — both in service and in private (‘ello, Messrs. Cain and Gingrich) — have been rising and failing according to their bona fides, which is also historically astonishing. Conservatives are not at all representing the following message (though the GOP, of course, assumes they are):
No thanks, feel safer with this properly groom’d moppet Romney. Note the break of his pant!
The actual message, each time a challenger to Romney fails, has been:
Wake me with a true champ. Otherwise, I’m busy.
And the subtext, which has me thrilled, and should you as well:
We are never scared.
A mass of conservatives large enough to matter are finally demonstrating the great benefit of their creed: self-sufficiency that extends far beyond one’s possessions, a self-sufficiency that builds nations and prosperity, pioneers electronics, saves the sick. They pull their own, and they desire a president who will handle protecting their natural rights, but if necessary they will handle that burden on their own as well.
Romney might as well be selling his misinterpretation of conservatism to a socialist; the GOP’s attempt to frighten us towards Romney is farcical; and the challengers’ attempts to scare us with the prospect of Romney is farce as well.
Conservatism is proud and beaming. Why aren’t you?