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The wisdom of middle America

Observer Viewpoint | Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Fools, now we can begin our plan to take over the world, destroy the environment and put CIA wiretaps on all your phones through the Patriot Act. I can’t tell you any details because then the vast right wing conspiracy would kill me, but it definitely involves evil and moon lasers. Vice President Dick Cheney and Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie are simply robots controlled by giant oil devouring space aliens slowly taking over the country. Only the politically enlightened such as Bruce Springstein or Michael Moore were standing in their way, until we rigged the election. (Add evil “muahahah” for effect)

From the tone of the post-electoral dialogue, I can’t help but laugh at the doomsday prophecies of some liberals. Consequently, I think it is time for a reality check of why the conservative movement simply makes more sense for America. As well, I wish to shed some light into the possibility of people who are not fundamentalist Christians or fearful bigots casting a vote for President George W. Bush out of reason and gaping weaknesses in Sen. John Kerry’s agenda.

For those who regularly read Viewpoint or follow the news regularly, I promise I will be brief on the much-debated issue of the war in Iraq. On this issue, the left has alleged that Bush lied to the American people. Addressing this issue, I’ll give you a quote from Bob Woodward’s Plan of Attack: “I think Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction are a threat, and that’s why I voted to hold him accountable and make certain we disarm him.”

This was a quote from none other than Sen. John Kerry from March 19, 2003. I don’t believe I need to elaborate what an obvious hypocrite his anti-war rhetoric 180 during the Democratic primaries made him look a year later. This, and the consideration that most of his critiques of Bush in the debates were made through the lens of hindsight made him look even worse to the American people.

In the broader spectrum of international affairs, our conservative agenda is less popular. However, things must be put into a realistic perspective. We’ve just held elections in Afghanistan, elections in Iraq are coming up, Libya has voluntarily given up its nuclear weapons program, North Korea is being pressured with six-party talks, Iran is being pressured into giving up its nuclear program, and Saddam Hussein is behind bars. On the short end of the stick, we’ve angered a lot of left-leaning Europeans, regular watchers of Al-Jazeera, an anti-semitic United Nations and Hollywood. If international relations were a popularity contest instead of a complex balance of power in an anarchic world, putting the United Nations over national interest would make sense. Fortunately, the American people chose policies in their interest over winning an “international popularity contest” Kerry alluded to in his slogan “Respected Abroad.”

While on the issue of the popularity, it’s quite difficult for the United States to achieve a happy medium of environmental regulation in an ever-competitive global economy. The United States faces large developing competitors in Asia, which are unwilling to adhere to the Kyoto Protocol. Therefore, it would seem completely logical for the United States to refuse to ratify measures that can only hurt its economy. In contrast, these measures would be quite easy to implement in a small European country’s economy. Bush made the right choice in protecting the interests of the American worker, despite the gripes of liberal pundits.

I wholeheartedly admit that the conservative philosophy does place a primacy on economic growth. It stands to reason that you cannot enjoy the luxuries of large government entitlements and costly environmental regulations without a robust economy. Instead of beginning from sweeping declarations of what government entitlements can be doled out, a conservative realizes that more people making money and investing in your economy ultimately expands your tax base to provide for such programs.

Free-market innovations like the computer, the telephone and the assembly line that initially cut jobs ended up creating better ones in the long run. Would not the same liberals bemoaning the automation of today’s factories cry out of what evil the telegraph did to the well-paid employees of the Pony Express? Today, this logic manifests itself in blaming “big corporations” for human inequalities that have existed since the dawn of time. Eventually, varying degrees of state socialism becomes the one size fits all policy prescription of liberals that loathe the free-market.

Other popular myths must be debunked as well. Social Security will be reformed so my generation will be able to make money off of a new and innovative system of private accounts that is expected to average 6.4 percent returns, as opposed to a meager return of one percent or less under the current system. Healthcare will be reformed to operate on a system that promotes insurance company competition instead of Washington bureaucracy. We will also see fundamental tort reforms that may be upsetting to those that make a living off of suing the nation’s hard-working doctors.

In this brief summary by no means covering the spectrum of the conservative agenda, I wanted to elaborate on some spots of our policy agenda that could be appealing to those voters who are not motivated by scare tactics or evangelist Christianity. I feel like I am becoming an echo in pointing out once again that the United States must make itself the best place to do business to continue to be truly successful. To briefly address moral issues as well, it also makes much more sense for elected legislatures to enact law before activist liberal Supreme Court judges. In doing so, as conservatives we do not wish to harm anybody, but instead ensure policies that in the long run will continue to foster the greater liberty of society. To believe the average American could not perform this simple calculus of reason in voting for Bush denies reality.

Tom Rippinger is a senior political science major. He supports President George W. Bush and is the co-President of the Notre Dame College Republicans. He can be contacted at trippin1@nd.edu.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.