I was talking after the NARN last Saturday with one of our producers. He’s a younger guy, sharp as all get-out, and – as befits a producer at a conservative talk station – conservative.
But like a lot of younger conservatives – really, young people of any political affiliation – he hasn’t completely formed his impressions about…
…well, not so much is own principles, but how to analyze those of others.
Like a lot of non-wonks I know, he’s a little unclear on what the fuss is about Mitt Romney; “is he actually a conservative?”, he asked?
According to one big chunk of conservative conventional wisdom, of course, he’s on probation at best.
But I told him “yes” – he is. The real question is, “what do you mean by “conservative?” Because “conservatism” means at least three different, highly distinct movements in the US today. I’ve been writing about this for quite a while; we have…:
- Northeastern Conservatism: Comfortable with big government, but generally pro-business and anti-government-intervention, at least in re the economy. Think Romney, Giuliani, Chris Christie, and George H. W. Bush. Are they conservative? On fiscal, business and business-regulatory issues, absolutely. On social issues? “Not so much”, reply the…
- Southern Conservatives: The stereotypical southern conservative is a Bible-Belt Crusader on social issues. Paradoxically, they are frequently much less so on fiscal issues. I’ve often wondered why that was. Think Mike Huckabee and, to an extent, George W. Bush. We’ll come back to that later. Anyway – standing well aside and hectoring them both – these days, from the high ground, in virtual control of the GOP grass roots – are the…
- Western Conservatives: Libertarian on social issues (at least as re government is concerned) and budget hawks. They are big on Small Government. Ron Paul is as far out as the GOP gets in this department; most of us Hayek buffs fit in here.
Anyway – I read something yesterday that kinda made for a good explanation for the uninitiated, to try to help them untangle the whole “who is a conservative” bit.