Mark West / Dec. 31, 2015

Conservatism: Defined by Action, Not Word

It seems the popular thing to do these days is to declare oneself a conservative, at least, it appears that’s the aspiration of nearly every one of the Republican candidates for President. It’s also true that during nearly every Republican congressional campaign, the candidates insist that they are the true conservative. But is the Republican Party overwhelmingly represented by conservatives, both in Congress and in those seeking the presidency? Is it simply that easy: just assert one is a conservative and, voila, he or she is such?

It seems the popular thing to do these days is to declare oneself a conservative, at least, it appears that’s the aspiration of nearly every one of the Republican candidates for President. It’s also true that during nearly every Republican congressional campaign, the candidates insist that they are the true conservative.

But is the Republican Party overwhelmingly represented by conservatives, both in Congress and in those seeking the presidency? Is it simply that easy: just assert one is a conservative and, voila, he or she is such?

Conservatism is not merely defined by one’s state of mind, feeling, belief or even a pronouncement. Rather, I would assert it is much more. Conservatism is ultimately defined by action which produces one’s track record.

Too often we see the electorate, politicians and bureaucrats claiming conservatism. But is claiming such enough?

There is a verse that states, “by their fruits you shall know them.” There is not a more appropriate verse than this when discussing or wondering about a person’s true political convictions.

I am humored by the claims of so many Republican politicians that they are “dyed in the wool” conservatives. It’s almost as if it’s a badge of honor to claim such. But we can tell their true colors when it comes to the bills they champion (or fail to champion) and the votes they cast (or fail to cast).

The $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill that was voted on before Christmas is the most recent example of what conservatism is not. We should note that 150 Republican Congressman (including my own TN Congressman Chuck Fleischmann) banded together with 166 Democrats to fund this orgy of spending on nearly every conceivable program and agency across the entire range of the political spectrum. True there may have been some minor aspects of this 2,000-page bill that conservatives might have endorsed. But all in all, this was a horrendous bill that encapsulated all that is wrong with Washington.

There are plenty of articles from reputable sources that document the voluminous “sins” that are endorsed and funded by this latest fiasco so I will not take the time to reiterate them here. But suffice it to say that the December 2015 omnibus bill is the poster child for all things progressive and the antithesis of all things conservative.

Following the vote by a majority of the Republican and Democrat delegations in both houses of Congress, Senator Ted Cruz from Texas criticized the legislation saying it “effectively forfeits our massive Republican victories of 2014 and cements Obama’s priorities for nearly the remainder of his term.”

Following years and years of manipulation, deception and double-speak, it’s time for ordinary Americans to move beyond the words of politicians and look only to their actions and track records. Conservatism is more than a word. Most importantly, it is action. And the most revealing action a politician takes is his or her vote. Their vote affirms who they are and what they believe.

The omnibus vote this month separated the wheat from the chaff. And sadly, if chaff is worthless, the Republican majority in both houses of Congress is the epitome of worthlessness, at least until a new crop of true conservatives is elected.

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