The Corner

Conservatism’s Comeback . . . in New York?!

Laura Ingraham e-mailed this around in the wee hours: 

Of course “Republican” Dede Scozzafava endorsed the Democrat in the New York-23 congressional race! When I first got word of her dropping out three days before Tuesday’s special election, I knew it was only a matter of time. 

Ten days earlier, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was a guest on my radio show. He was booked to discuss his new historical novel, but I sensed history was unfolding in upstate New York and wanted to hear his justification for endorsing the liberal Scozzafava over her Conservative Party challenger, Doug Hoffman. The Republican National Committee, in typical tin-ear fashion, also supported Scozzafava. During a rather spirited back and forth, Gingrich’s main contention was that the people of NY-23 had rejected Hoffman in the primary, and thus his “conservative friends” should support that decision. Yet the “primary” Scozzafava won was determined not by “the people,” but by a gaggle of party pooh-bahs who obviously have their heads up their posteriors. Had these people not seen, felt, and heard the spirit of this summer’s townhall events? Where were Republican primary voters rallying for a politician like Scozzafava, who is pro-union, pro-abortion, and — as we’ve since learned — pro-Democratic Party? The Republican Party needs warriors ready to fight for conservative principles; and yet Scozzafava couldn’t even muster the courage to discuss taxes with a reporter from the Weekly Standard. 

Listeners’ reaction to Gingrich was overwhelming. No less than 95 percent of callers and emailers were outraged. For them, the country is already way beyond party affiliation; why fight for the RNC if it no longer represents core conservative values — like fiscal restraint, individual liberty, and a pro-growth agenda? “If he doesn’t want to be part of the solution, he needs to get out of the way,” wrote one listener in Kansas . And from a mom of five in Syracuse: “He may be a brilliant thinker and writer, but he’s soooo ’90s.” Ouch. 

President Obama has done something no GOP pol has managed since Ronald Reagan — he’s spurring a reinvigorated conservative movement that transcends party, geography, and its own internal factions. It’s now obvious the country didn’t move left alongside Obama’s ascendancy. The pundits and intellectuals who delivered election night eulogies to conservatism owe the public, and their own credibility, one big mea culpa. Conservatism is the most influential political philosophy of the past 100 years because it’s built upon essential truths. Here’s to more triumphs of orthodoxy over oscillation.