I've not been around you folks for a while - at least as an active poster. I've lurked some, but no longer felt comfortable posting. That discomfort will remain for a LONG time.
But Erick's recent missive warrants a response. He wonders why there's a bit of disunity. Well, here's my perspective.
I'm generally right-of-center on a lot of issues. I am pro-life, and feel abortion should only be allowed in cases of rape, incest, or when the life of the mother is at risk. I like lower taxes. I support the traditional definition of marriage. I want judges who will show restraint, and not use their positions to make law.
So, why am I at this point, not with you folks? Because, quite frankly, since about September 2005, I have found myself suspicious at best of those who presently speak of conservatism, as well as its leadership. It was, in large part, driven by the Harriet Miers and immigration debates. It was not the disagreements, but it was the way they were pursued - largely the absolutism that reigned, plus a little bit of bad faith.
On Miers, I believe the bad faith was in trying to force the withdrawal of her nomination. In 2002, and 2004, the Democrats were rightfully upbraided and beaten because they were filibustering nominees and denying them up-or-down votes after hearings. The names Miguel Estrada and Janice Rogers Brown come to mind. Miers never got the hearings, or the up-or-down vote. And those who were saying she should got labeled on Redstate as "party hacks", while he held himself up as acting on principle. Well, you got Alito out of it, and that may have worked. At least for now.
The immigration debate, though, was worse. There, it really was the final straw for me. There is a big split between Wall Street Journal Republicans and the social conservatives on that issues. But it didn't help when the insinuations of treason started flying. And then it went beyond insinuations. What proof of treason was there beyond the fact that people disagreed with Paul J Cella's immigration position - even if it was for strategic/tactical reasons? And this is in the face of what I would call real treason, when the New York Times and Washington Post were blowing intelligence programs that are crucial parts of preventing the next 9/11.
Finally, to top it off, it failed. Just look at the 2006 mid-terms. The results are plain as day, when Nancy Pelosi is Speaker of the House. This was what the 2005-2006 conservatism did, and now it wants to call the shots, when it has shown highly questionable competence in a strategic sense. For all of Bush's faults, he was able to win two Presidential elections, and in 2002 and 2004, he delivered gains. And if one just compares the 2004 and 2006 exit polls, we can see how he did it. He managed to stay competitive among the various groups that Republicans weren't in 2006 (moderates, independents, and Hispanics, in particular).
In essence, you racked up three strikes of your own. Strike one, conservatives managed to look hypocritical on a signature issue that I agreed with you on (judges), and then got sanctimonious with those who disagreed. Strike two, conservatives viewed disagreement with them as treason, when the real thing was there for people to plainly see. Then, strike three, the conservatives' actions - in essence, you decided to bench George W. Bush as the play-caller, despite his electoral success - led to a shellacking at the polls.
Conservatives have managed to dig themselves quite a hole with their absolutism and strategic incompetence, and quite frankly, I have better things to do than to politically empower those who view me as a "party hack" who has sold his soul and/or a traitor to this country. In case you didn't notice, non-support or outright opposition is what happens when people do that sort of thing.
Now, you get to deal with the political landscape as it stands - a landscape that Redstate itself helped to create. I don't envy you. But, I have new endeavors on which I must focus - and, quite frankly, I've had the impression that you never really wanted my help.
Harold C. Hutchison