Ingraham’s Conservatism

My good friend Robert writes in on my post about Laura Ingraham’s version of Conservatism:

I like

the write up you’ve done here. I, too, question what Ingraham means by

Conservatism. To begin with, let’s be honest, the US on a whole global

scale of all the countries of every period in history is a moderate to

liberal country. As to her specific argument, I look back to the

presidencies, and thus American policy, of the last 100 years, and I

wonder how Ingraham drew her conclusion. I think the movement had wisps

of success in various periods, only to see it blow up in conservative’s

faces. A decade of what I’d called true conservatism in the 20’s lead

to the Great Depression and a 20 year hold by liberals. A little social

program which came out during that period was called the New Deal. The

50’s, led by Eisenhower, had a few flashes of progressivism, such as

the start of desegregation. The economic prosperity of the time was

also due in large part to the recovering global economy started under

Truman’s watch. The 60’s? I give you LBJ’s Great Society, another spurt

of far-reaching social changes.

Sure the 70’s brought a new call for conservatism, and Barry Goldwater,

who ran against LBJ in 1964, was its poster child. But how did

Goldwater, aka Mr. Conservative, react when the religious right moved

in to the GOP? He and other conservatives distanced themselves from the

emerging movement.

I would thus make the argument that Ingraham got only part of her

thought process right. Religious Conservatism has been the prevalent

political ideology of the last thirty years. The reason it still has an

impact today is largely because, as Sullivan hinted, they spent us into

the economic situation today.

In a similar vain… I recall a conversation with my grandfather,

during Clinton’s presidency, reminiscing about the good ol’ days in the

50’s, “when things were easier, a man could support his family and

conservatives ran the country.” He’s right that conservatives had

something to offer, because there’s certainly room for good ideas from

both sides. However, I remember a scene from ‘Mad Men’, which takes

place in that period, where a main character shakes out her blanket

along a highway after a picnic, leaving the family’s garbage behind,

something that certainly wouldn’t be tolerated today (Note: highway

beautification was the pet project of First Lady Lady Bird Johnson).

Maybe the analogy could be made that liberals/progressives have had

such a strong impact in the last century because conservative screw ups

have been so bad, the nation demanded the other side come along to

clean up the mess. With that clean-up job though, came the opportunity

to enact amazing social changes. With a little luck, the country can

continue its progressive trend.

Okay, so that became a little long but what can I say? You bring up

interesting topics. Oh and Ari’s posting of Obama at Dover AFB was a

fine tribute to such a solemn and poignant photo.

Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.