Wednesday, June 28, 2006

No Big Tent

Given the high level of indignity being directed toward Roger Abramson by Tennessee conservative bloggers (see here and here for a rundown and numerous links), one might think that he had endorsed Harold Ford, Jr. for the Senate.

As a conservative and a Christian who has never identified with the religious right, I have a certain amount of sympathy for Abramson's position, even though I don't agree with all of his arguments and criticisms. Twenty years ago, the late evangelical theologian Carl F.H. Henry stated that the religious right would have limited success due to its failure to develop a coherent philosophy of public policy, including an understanding of the role of the state and an appreciation for the potentialities and limitations of involvement in the public sphere. He has proven to be right. For all of their noise, the religious right has accomplished little of their actual agenda while doing a fair amount of harm by politicizing the church.

As far as Abramson's critics, there is something strikingly wrong with rejecting an ally because he disagrees with Roe v. Wade as a judicial matter rather than as a moral one. There is also something wrong with the notion that one cannot endorse Corker and be a conservative. By the way, I do not plan to vote for Corker -- I don't think he will hold the line on fiscal restraint or on the social issues that can be dealt with in ways consistent with a view of limited government. I also do not plan to vote for Hilleary -- I got beyond 5th grade. The Republicans need to hold the Senate if Bush's judicial nominees are to have any chance.

Republicans who have followed the lead of Ronald Reagan, who had a policy of not criticizing a fellow Republican, have been good at choosing to make allies on points of agreement. That some value full ideological purity to an extent that they would seem to want to go to war with a would be friend (on at least a majority of issues) over the extent of their conservatism is ultimately foolish.


Anonymous Roger Abramson said...

Thanks MCO. I appreciate the thoughtful response.

1:57 PM  
Blogger John H said...

Your '5th grade' comment makes this worth the read, but your reasoning, as always, is clear and well presented.

The purists on my side of the aisle would like to banish Lieberman and disembowel pro-lifers. Not to get all rodney-kingish up in here, but can't we make some kind of effort to get along and listen, and tamp down the pontification.

9:30 AM  

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