The Norman Transcript


December 8, 2012

In defense of conservatism



Perhaps one can find some humor in the dictionary definition of conservative as “moderately cautious.” Its synonyms — reasonable, temperate and judicious – are descriptors that most would normally appreciate. But for us on the right, the term “moderate” is decidedly negative and misdirected at reality-based conservatives who dare question the ideological. 

Even with a consistent record of cutting taxes and spending, this conservative economist was dinged for questioning a study by Arduin, Laffer and Moore and even jabbed in a Wall Street Journal editorial for issuing a “bogus” opposing report.

Of course, no such report existed and the editorial was written by Stephen Moore, who along with Laffer was being paid by OCPA for services rendered. Seemingly forgotten was that our policy positions are in alignment much more often than not.

Recently, the Oklahoman urged “caution in cutting the income tax without offsets,” siding with the more “moderate voices.” Their use of the M-word may be correct according to Webster’s. But in politics such characterization scores a win for the agenda-driven ideologues who seek to redefine conservatism, which begs the question: moderate compared to what?

Ronald Reagan, the deserved standard bearer of conservative principles, would no doubt be attacked in today’s political climate since he failed the revenue-neutral test by signing several tax increases.

The fact that he greatly lowered income tax rates overall and shrunk the highest marginal rate from 70 to 28 percent would not be good enough.

When reminded of this inconvenient fact, Republican Senator Jon Kyl said, “Reagan was in a situation where he had to compromise in order to get some things done.” Gee, with the pending fiscal cliff and three years with no federal budget, I guess we’re not there yet.

Though the 100-percent litmus test currently shows little sign of abatement, with principled statesmen like Coburn reclaiming the real(ist) definition of conservatism, perhaps soon we will be able to focus our energy on the 99-percent where conservatives agree rather than the 1-percent where we do not.

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