By David Bozeman
The defining traits of conservative leadership are too varied and
detailed for this limited space. But as the GOP's 2012 nominating
process continues, a few pertinent points bear further examination, lest
the voters be fooled by spin-meisters and charlatans.
Pertinent point #1 is that conservatism and ego don't really mix.
Now, one could well argue that without a moderate degree of ego, most
ballots would be empty come election time. Still, voters must discern
between candidates who want to do important things and those who want
to be important people.
Speaker Newt Gingrich may well embody many traits of the former, but
conservatism is wedded to a belief that traditional institutions
(social mores, religion, family, the free market, etc.) are the best
checks on the foibles and limitations of human nature. We, ourselves,
don't really cures society's ills, our founding values do.
This talk about a "safety trampoline" (as opposed to Governor
Romney's notion of a mere safety "net") bears further scrutiny. Sounds a
bit grandiose for the conservative ideology most of us know. As do
neighborhood boards to review amnesty applications from illegal
immigrants. As does the Speaker's now infamous Post-it note to himself
twenty years ago: "Gingrich -- primary mission. Advocate of
civilization. Definer of civilization. Teacher of the rules of
Definer? Gingrich resembles one of his political idols, Teddy
Roosevelt, who is inexplicably revered by many conservatives. Another
colossal ego, his machismo and bluster are certainly a welcome contrast
to the metro-sexualized, blow-dried male image of today. His
admonition against hyphenated Americanism (we're either Americans or
we're not, he basically said) still inspires today as much as ever, but
can you say “progressive”?
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