In the 1940s comedians Bud Abbott and Lou Costello did one of their best known skits “Who’s on First?” In this skit, there is much confusion about what baseball player is doing what because of a confusion in names. In many ways, this is the problem that many people who vote for Republican have. After all, a Republican is a Republican, right? Unfortunately, this answer is wrong.
I remember when I was a young USAF second lieutenant in the early 1980s. I believed that all Republicans were conservatives. So I was confused on many an occasion when I saw elected members of the Republican party doing and voting for all sorts of things that I thought were inconsistent with being a Republican. Little did I know that there are many types of conservatives and unfortunately, many types of Republicans.
There are at least four different type of conservatives. Most of us, when we think of conservatives, think of the traditional conservative who Russell Kirk described as having: 1. A belief in a transcendent order, which is based in tradition, divine revelation, or natural law; 2. An affection for the "variety and mystery" of human existence; 3. A conviction that society requires orders and classes that emphasize "natural" distinctions; 4. A belief that property and freedom are closely linked; 5. A faith in custom, convention, and prescription, and 6. A recognition that innovation must be tied to existing traditions and customs, which entails a respect for the political value of prudence.
For Kirk Christianity and Western culture are inseparable. Unfortunately, there are a number of conservatives who have departed from these ideals. For example, there are the: Fiscal conservatives- will frequently call themselves libertarians. These conservatives are really just classical liberals. Classical liberals have a great deal in common with conservatives, but they are not bound the natural law, objective morality, or God. For them, everything is reducible to economics. Consequently, they are for small government. Social Conservatives- are generally from a religious (Christian more often than not) orientation. These are the defenders of traditional moral values. They generally favor a powerful military and otherwise smaller government. Neo-Conservatives- are a form of conservatism that supports a more assertive, interventionist foreign policy, aimed at promoting democracy abroad. It is supportive of supply side economics and is tolerant of an activist government at home, but is focused mostly on international affairs. University of Chicago political philosopher, Leo Strauss and journalist Irving Kristol, were the founders of this movement. Kristol defined a neoconservative as "a liberal who was mugged by reality." Paleo Conservatives- are in part a rejection of the neo- conservatives. They stress a Judeo-Christian tradition and the importance to society of the traditional family.
These are just the main groups. Sometimes they work together and sometimes they do not. More often than not, they are affiliated with the Republican party. Only on a rare occasion, you will find some of these within the Democratic party. What makes matters even worse are the Republican politicians who are only interested in personal power. In Tom Delay’s No Surrender (Sentinel Books, 2007), we find that many elected Republican officials are only interested in maintaining their own power and accepting whatever crumbs the Democratic Party will throw their way. For this group, the Golden Rule is the median- voter theory- "a majority rule voting system will select the outcome most preferred by the median voter," or a politician close to the middle of the road is the likely winner of an election. We generally think of these people as the RINOs (Republican In Name Only), but the truth of the matter is that since Teddy Roosevelt, the Republican Party has not been a Conservative party. It is only more conservative than the Democratic party. In fact, the Grand Old Party (GOP) has become the GNP (Good for Nothing Party). The traditional conservative is now the RINO, who the Republican establishment will call a “wacko bird.” Angelo Codevilla’s The Ruling Class makes it clear that the average Republican official has more in common with his Democratic counterpart than he does with those who elected him.
What all of this means is that we cannot count on the Republican party to defund Obamacare, which will become a disaster for all of us who voted for Republican politicians. It also means that they will keep putting up ineffectual, and weak and candidates for president like John McCain and Mitt Romney. There are few Republican politicians like Senator Ted Cruz, who means what he says and says what he means. Unfortunately, there are not enough of them to get the job done.
All of this means that we have to pray for our government and those in leadership, if this country is to have a chance. 1 Timothy 2:1- 2 says, “First of all, then I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for Kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way (ESV).” The old hymn says that “the arm of flesh will fail you, you dare not trust your own.” For Christians, it is Jesus Christ who is first and on first. He is the only way to justice and righteousness.