As things are shaping up, it is evident that we as conservatives must actively oppose much of the agenda of the transitioning administration. Conservatives had no doubt that this would be the case and are ready as always with common sense solutions. But we cannot lose track of one thing: unlike the Bush haters, we must promote our values, not just oppose theirs. Our opposition is not to Barack Obama, it is to the harmful policies that he and his party seek to promote.
This is not to be misunderstood, by any stretch of the imagination, as an appeal to stop fighting for what we believe in. At a time that our nation is in great economic, national security and societal peril, we must promote our needed conservative solutions with more vigor than ever before. But it is also imperative that we go about this the right way.
An overwhelming majority of conservatives understand that we must not emulate the Bush haters. Liberals believe in a cult of personality. Conservatives believe in ideas. Our support of President Bush is linked first and foremost to policy. Likewise, our opposition to President-elect Obama is based on policy. But for those who will soon join us as they see the harm of liberal policies and become disillusioned: your opposition to Obama must be based on the issues and on what he does.
Conservative values and solutions are a message in and of themselves. Our efforts must be concentrated on best articulating those principles and on aptly defending them against baseless attack.
Do not learn a lesson from the Bush haters, other than what not to do. These were people for whom the President could do no right. When he launched war against Saddam, after 18 months of constant warning (which were themselves preceded by over 10 years of general warning), he was accused of "cowboy diplomacy." When he allowed similar diplomacy (albeit with a real threat of force to back it up) to run its course with North Korea and Iran, he was portrayed as having cowered and Time Magazine did a cover feature, marking the "end of ‘cowboy diplomacy,'" complete with a cartoon hat and boots for full characterization.
When hurricanes hit in 2005, even before Katrina, the left started tales of Bush ordering the seeding of clouds over urban neighborhoods. And when Katrina hit, they pounced, proceeding to politicize a natural disaster. It did not matter that the federal response was the fastest ever to be launched, nor that it would have been faster still had the Democratic Governor not asked for a 48 hour waiting period. And when it was discovered that FEMA Director Brown had given the unprecedented advice to countermand the Governor's appeal and send in federal forces early, not only was he given no credit, but the President is ridiculed to this day for saying that he had performed well.
Indeed, if President Bush were to stumble upon the cure for heart disease while reading through a medical briefing, Democrats would excoriate him for "shirking the duties of the office to play doctor." If he were to singlehandedly save a boy and his grandparents from drowning, the media would portray the entire event as "a clumsy act of playing lifeguard." Yet while the mainstream media were complicit in the societal normalization of the Bush hatred lunacy, their effect is temporary. History will be far less kind to their methods and far more truthful. So let no one on our side emulate these fools. And in case anyone is wondering, doing so would not be conducive to future electoral success.
We must oppose appeasement of dictators, including anything being done that could strengthen the Castro regime in its final stage of power. We must advocate a strong foreign policy to protect the homeland from terror, something that the current President has accomplished with far greater success than has any other. We must push for a robust economy, an objective best achieved by providing targeted economic incentives for job creation, or as they're commonly referred to: "tax cuts." They're what led us away from recession in 2001 as well as what ushered in the Reagan boom.
We must oppose anyone who tries to stand in the way of what's best for the nation and argue against those who oppose methods that have been tested and proven time and time again. But we must not make caricatures of our opponents when engaging in serious discussion, for to do so is only to make caricatures of ourselves.
The struggle ahead is serious and conservative values, when properly articulated, always win the day. Let us engage in the national discussion with an approach that is respectful and loyal. Most of all, let us do so effectively. The future of the nation is at stake.