Conservatives should adapt faster

Michael J. Greenburg

You hear it a lot. Liberals say conservatives are plain stupid. Conservatives counter that liberals just don’t get it.

After last week’s liberal-bashing, I feel I should speak to my conservative brethren, especially now that some conservatives are so cocky, they think they have the silent majority by the hook.

I wouldn’t say conservatives are stupid, but I would definitely say conservatives are slow.

Conservatives tend to have a strong internal locus of control. We have our principles and value system, and we stick to them. Like Bush, we answer to no one but God. Contrast this with liberals who are forever watching, following and trying to appease those around them. Which of these is better depends on who you’re talking to. But the fact remains: Liberals tend to learn and adjust faster, while conservatives take forever to learn.

Look at the Deep South. It took many social conservatives there a good 130 years (in the ‘90s) to start solidly voting for the GOP, the more conservative of our two major parties. For decades, many a southern conservative actually had to hold his nose and run under the Democratic banner. For about 100 years, a good number of conservative southern democratic U.S. senators were as democratic as Ted Kennedy is dry and maritally faithful.

What happened?

Southern conservatives thought they were patriotic when they exhausted all their money buying Confederate bonds. When Sherman crushed their entire family fortunes, he crushed their hearts. Southern conservatives might forgive, but they never forgot. They remembered why their fathers and grandfathers lost it all. For more than 100 years, many of them steadfastly refused to vote for a Republican. All the while, the Republican Party has become the conservative flag bearer! Meanwhile, liberals learned so fast, they abandoned GOP before their grandfathers could say “Lincoln!”

We may laugh at how slowly these southern conservatives learned. But look at our conservative politicos in Congress. Many of them apparently aren’t yet aware that Hillary is preparing for a strong, credible and probably victorious campaign in 2008.

We should learn from Harry Reid, the Democratic leader in the Senate, who, according to Newsweek, prefers to stay on the sideline, letting conservative lawmakers punch themselves out. All in politics or business should learn from a great seafaring legend who left us this saying: When you see your enemies doing stupid things, don’t try to stop them!

By being slow to see and feel and learn what is happening around them, conservative politicians are doing stupid things that may very well help Hillary, or someone worse, secure his or her boarding rights at the White House in 2008 — like DeLay.

I know, Senator, you’ve done a lot for the party. Thanks, by the way, for the extra seats from Texas. But, by stubbornly trying to hang on to your seat, sure you may eventually win your battle, but you may end up losing the war.

Michael J. Greenberg is a graduate student and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.

Editor’s note: Michael J. Greenberg is a pseudonym. He can be contacted through the editor at [email protected].