A Country with Short-Term Memory

Our politics are all about the now. People are only talking about the present: the unemployment rate today is 8.4%, troops’ withdrawal from Iraq in late December, Newt Gingrich’s lead in the Republican field etc. But why do they not care about the past?

The 2012 election reflects this sentiment. Both President Obama and even some candidates in the Republican field have skeletons in their closets that people are all too excited to forget about.

The founder of modern day conservatism, Edmund Burke, was absolutely right when he said, “those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”  If people choose not to analyze the history of current Presidential candidates, America will experience another failed Presidency; the U.S. cannot afford that.  $15 trillion in debt, an entitlement crisis, a flawed tax system, and a crumbling education are nothing to scoff at.  As a country, there are too many pivotal issues at hand to waste an election on a candidate who will hesitate to bring the change that America really needs.

In a recent speech blasting health care companies, Obama said, “at a time when everybody’s getting hammered, they’re making record profits, and premiums are going up.  What’s the constraint on that?”

The President’s plan intended to levy competition in the health care market, thus lowering prices. This illustrates perfectly why Obama has serious issues with his candidacy.  He says one thing and does another.

Once Obamacare passed the U.S. Senate, health care companies’ stock increased to record highs. Pharmaceutical stocks like Hospital operator Tenet Healthcare rose 6.1%, Merck had a 2.3% increase, Pfizer 1.5% increase, and Express Scripts 2.1%.  Under Obamacare, health care companies are guaranteed profit because of the individual mandate provision of the bill that forces people to purchase health care or be subjected to a fine of $700 to $950.

People also forget about Obama’s close relationship to Wall Street. President Obama received the largest campaign contribution in history from Wall Street.  Obama received $1,013,091 from Goldman Sachs, $808,799 from JP Morgan Chase & Co., $736,771 from Citigroup Inc.; the list of Wall Street supporters goes on and on.  He receives support from Wall Street, yet endorses Occupy Wall Street.  The President is excellent at sending mixed messages.

Yet, Obama is not the only candidate in the upcoming election that has been absolved by America’s short-term memory.

Mitt Romney is not a conservative.  As the Governor of Massachusetts, Romney supported several conservative ‘mortal sins’.  Fox News anchor Brett Baier pointed out in a recent interview that Romney flip-flopped on several issues such as global warming, abortion, gun control, health care, gay marriage, and immigration.  At one point, he was pro-choice, against the Second Amendment, for amnesty, and for cap-and-trade.  These are abhorrent to true conservatives, yet somehow Romney finds himself near the front of the Republican field.  Have people forgotten that Mitt pitched left?  How can we, as conservatives, be certain that Mitt won’t return to his left-leaning tendencies if he is to assume the position of the Presidency?

Same goes for Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.  Few would argue that Newt also has dirty laundry; at one point, Gingrich supported an individual mandate idea like the one implemented in Obamacare.  On October 28th, 2011 Gingrich said, “’I absolutely [supported the individual mandate] with the Heritage Foundation against Hillarycare.” But in 1993, Gingrich stated on Meet the Press that “’I am for people, individuals — exactly like automobile insurance — individuals having health insurance and being required to have health insurance.”  So which is it, Newt?

The Former Speaker of the House also received $1.6 million from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from 1998 to 2008 working as a consultant.  These are the same mortgage lenders that were forced into the reckless housing crisis and the same lenders that accepted $160 billion in bailouts from TARP in 2008.

Additionally, Gingrich vehemently opposed Congressman Paul Ryan’s plan that would have pushed for bold entitlement reform.  He commented last spring on Meet the Press by saying, “I don’t think imposing radical change from the right or the left is a very good way for a free society to operate.”  In my opinion, Ryan’s plan was not “right wing social engineering,” as Gingrich labeled it, but rather a responsible attempt at conservative reform to Medicare.  Newt stated in the same interview, “I’m against Obamacare, which is imposing radical change, and I would be against a conservative imposing radical change.”  Newt, we need radical change.

People forget about flip-flops; they don’t want to see them.  Obama and even some of the leaders of the 2012 GOP field are terrible excuses for conservative candidates.  If people remembered the past, then Obama wouldn’t have a shot in the world at a second term.  If people remembered the past, Mitt Romney would fail for lying about his record and being inconsistent; Newt would have the same problem.

America needs a consistent conservative who can get America back on its straightened path.  Conservatives are still looking for that candidate.  Many constitutional conservatives find themselves siding with Rick Santorum or Michele Bachmann.  Personally, I find myself intrigued by the policies of Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman.  Several conservative columnists, including Joe Scarborough, have recently come out in support of Huntsman.  Scarborough compared Gingrich, Huntsman and Romney records in his recent Politico column:

“I will preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose. I am not going to change pro-choice laws in any way.”  –Mitt Romney.  Conservative?  No.

Scarborough then takes on Newt Gingrich.  As a former Republican Congressman that worked with Gingrich after the 1994 election, he points out that Gingrich, at one point, sat down with Nancy Pelosi to advocate changes in policies intended to combat Global Warming.  Conservative?  It doesn’t appear so.

Scarborough cited many conservative credentials of Huntsman, however.  The American Conservative points out that “for the past two decades, a ‘moderate’ Republican was one who didn’t generally side with his party on three issues: taxes, guns and abortion. [Huntsman’s] record on those isn’t just to the right of the moderates. It is to the right of most conservatives.”  According to the Club for Growth, Huntsman received an “A” from the Cato Institute for tax policy delivering the biggest tax cut in Utah’s history.

He also has maintained a lifelong pro-life record and pro-second amendment record.  Huntsman signed a bill in 2009 that “that created a fund to defend against potential lawsuits if and when the Utah legislature follows through on its plans to one day outlaw all abortions in the state.”  All this to say, I’m a bit surprised that Jon Huntsman hasn’t gotten a heavier look from the voting public, at least the conservative members.

American needs a true conservative. What it doesn’t need is to prove Edmund Burke right again.

Alexander Uzarowicz // Knox College // @AUzarowicz

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Comments

  1. While I agree with the overall sentiment of this post, that the media and the People seem to be blind to the political flip-flopping of candidates on both sides, you seem to imply that it is a better measure of whether a person is qualified to be a candidate for the GOP is how conservative their views are. I would argue that conservatism for conservatism’s sake is also quite dangerous and this is a primary reason why many non-Republicans lament the Republican party as backwards. Our nation is not the same as it was when the Republican party was founded, although some would argue it should be. The idea that a Republican candidate isn’t conservative enough because that person was willing to sit down with someone of the opposing party to discuss such things as advocate changes in policies intended to combat Global Warming is absurd. That this example is the most important thing you could come up with is enough to warrant me not keeping my opinion to myself.

    I am well aware of the conservative viewpoints on “Global Warming” and the propagation of misinformation carried out through Climate-Gate and the subsequent attacks on the science behind the theories. But aside from a small minority, the actual experts in the field of climatology and all of the supporting hard sciences stand behind the findings of the IPCC and the hundreds, if not thousands, of independent studies of the overall scientific research which fed the conclusion of that report, now it its eleventh iteration. Global climate change is occurring, but it cannot be measured on a local scale alone – variations will always exist. Overall trends are not captured in a period of less than 100 years, or even 500 years. We have solid science that supports that the current concentration of carbon-containing molecules in the atmosphere is on the rise, current in the 390 ppm range, and that once the threshold of 450 ppm is reached, it is uncertain that our planet, which requires a subtle balance of natural processes to sustain itself as a life-bearing entity, will be able to recover from that upset. Republicans lament this hard science because, let’s face it, the wealthy many in this country are by and large proponents of policies which protect corporations which in turn provide the income on which those people depend to maintain their current lifestyle. Any legislation which might influence the profit margin are summarily dismissed as too damaging to the economic bottom line to even be considered, consequences be damned. It is for this reason that, while I largely identify with the Republican party, I am disinclined to put a Republican in office at this critical juncture when the consequences of ignoring this critical issue, which should come second to arguments about such things as welfare reform, whether abortion is moral or if gays are allowed to be in the military, to name a few of the topics that seem to have the most attention from the current Republican candidates, amount to the mortgaging of our children’s future in a safe world.

  2. The reason Huntsman is catching on is because he isn’t articulate enough. Same goes for Perry. Huntsman comes across as a pompous windbag and atypical politician expressing a lot without saying a thing.

    It isn’t enough to be conservative. One must also be able to communicate those ideas as well and be sell them to the public.

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