Monday, October 09, 2006

Liberal Conservatism? Sign Me Up.

Los Angeles Times columnist Niall Ferguson has another great column about the rise of "Liberal Conservatism," a strain of conservatism that is socially liberal and pragmatic instead of partisan and narrow in its social vision. Ferguson talks about how this kind of conservatism is taking root in Europe, primarily in the British Conservative Party and the Swedish Moderate Party.

It's also starting to take root here in America, with elected officials like California governor, Arnold Scharzenegger, who backed a hike in the state minimum wage and combating global warming. Ferguson didn't talk about this, but I think another politician that is exhibiting "liberal conservatism" is John McCain. Read his speech to the UK Conservative Party Conference recently and you can see some of this in action.

In my own personal view, the current Republican party is bereft of ideas and without any principles. From Iraq to Katrina, we have seen a party more interested in short term political gain than in ideas that will benefit this nation for years to come. A party that was once committed to fiscal disciplne has run up the nation's credit card. A party that believed in small government, has in turned favored big government. As many have said, this isn't the party of Roosevelt, Goldwater or Reagan, but the party of Dobson, Santorum and Katherine Harris.

What's needed is a new and vigorous conservatism, that is less ideological, more humble and basically efficient and pragmatic. I think our British brothers and sisters are showing the way. When the dust clears after November 7, the Republican Party needs to take a serious look at this more open minded conservatism.

For Conservative Party Leader David Cameron's "Liberal Conservative" foreign policy, please read here.

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