It is impossible to really go through the last year and not to begin to re-think my decision to consider myself a conservative and to continue associating with that movement.
Perhaps my first clue was the fact that nobody in that movement seems ready to question some of Michelle Malkin's highly questionable friends that I commented on earlier. To wit, she has endorsed a web site that runs stuff from the likes of Sam Francis, Jared Taylor, and Steve Sailer. She's endorsing a site that seems to have no problem with some out-and-out racists, and gives it a one-day head start on her columns. She's endorsing something that is, to put it bluntly, evil. And nobody in the conservative movement is even stopping to ask her, "What's up with this?"
Then there was Terri Schiavo. I did not think pulling the feeding tube was the right thing to do. Not by a long shot. I had questions about whether Michael Schiavo had a conflict of interest, to put it mildly. But some people went beyond that - they demanded that efforts outside the law be taken - to include murdering Michael Schiavo and Judge Greer. Sorry, but that is something I won't support - murder is still wrong.
Then there's Harriet Miers. She never got a chance for a hearing. It was a classic case of a verdict being reached, and inconvenient facts being ignored. It was a feeding frenzy that used some of the tactics of the left (Hugh Hewitt's piece in the New York Times - registration required), they threw out common decency, not just to Miers, but to some supporters. Ultimately, she withdrew, and Samuel Alito got the slot, but Alito's successful confirmation was a matter of luck - the Democrats overreached and tried a despicable piece of character assassination, rather than focus on the hypocrisy of the anti-Miers conservatives.
Now, there's this UAE ports deal. I've written about it here. But some of the same people (Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham, and National Review) who jumped to conclusions on Miers are now jumping to conclusions on this deal. And some of the same slimy rhetoric is flying at those who object to the feeding frenzy.
I'm probably someone who conservatives would agree with on some issues. I want to win the war on terror (of which Iraq is but a campaign). I oppose terminating a pregnancy except in cases where the life of the mother is in danger (under the same standards for the use of deadly force in self-defense), and in cases of rape or incest - and there might be other situations where terminating a pregnancy is appropriate, albeit not in as sweeping a generalization as I have for the three examples above there. I favor cutting taxes (ideally, a flat tax like the one Steve Forbes supports). I support the death penalty - and probably to a larger extent than most conservatives (I'd include involvement in the production of child pornography as a capital offense - and favor the old-school GRU method of execution for such offenses).
But I'm not willing to stick around the kind of stuff I have seen from conservatives over the last year or so. I'm not voting for a Democrat, not just because they raise taxes even when there is a budget surplus (as was the case in Virginia a couple years ago), and because the entire party leadership had shown a level of incompetence on the war on that makes me fear for my country's security. The other issues facing this country don't matter if we're all dead.
What is to be done about this? I'm not sure. I'm still willing to vote for Republicans, but I'm not so sure that I trust conservatives any more.