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Erickson: The Fork in the Road Between Nationalism and Conservatism


By Erick Erickson - 

There was a time, particularly in the latest Bush administration, that Republican and conservative were just synonyms. The mass party switching that occurred from 1994 to 1996, when so many Democrats became Republicans, left conservative groups free to focus on the GOP without having to build bridges to the Democrats. There were no conservatives there anymore at the national level.

Then the Bush administration came in and conservatives and Republicans were treated as the same and many conservatives put party good over principle. If it advanced the party, it would advance conservatism they thought. We should have known something was up when Fred Barnes penned his “Big Government Conservatives” piece in the Wall Street Journal. It was all down hill from there.

The Republican Civil War that so many fixate on is what I actually refer to as the great unraveling. The ties that bind the GOP to conservatism have loosened and those who put principle over party are separating from those who put party over principle. That’s not to say there are no conservatives in the GOP anymore. There are plenty. But where they draw the lines of demarcation and compromise are different from those who would prefer the principle to the party.

As we move from here, though, it is increasingly apparent that there are some in the party who are going to cast nationalism as conservatism. We should all be concerned and conservatives need to be vigilant.



  1. Agreed. Some Whigs, even Lincoln, tried to straddle the fence on slavery but others became full out abolitionists and joined with Democrats who opposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act to form the new Republican Party in 1854.

  2. Jorod, you are correct. It is definitely “time for another transformation.” In fact, let me go one step further by saying that the all state and national GOP
    “cesspools” need to be cleaned out once and for all.
    We must never forget George H.W. Bush’s selling out of “we the people” when he spoke to the United Nations in 1990. Mr. Bush actually said, “I see open borders, open trade and, most importantly, open minds: a world that celebrated the common heritage that belongs to all the world’s people, taking pride not just in hometown or homeland but in humanity itself. …And I see a world building on the emerging new model of European unity, not just Europe but the whole world whole and free.” See link below.
    The GOP is no different than the Democrat Party. “We the people” have been had and we have definitely been sold out by the globalists on both sides of the aisle.

  3. Live Free or Die – unfortunately the traitors on the right side of the aisle, i.e. Paul Ryan, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell , just to mention a few, have been willing to go along with Obama by granting his every wish in order to destroy our country’s sovereignty. They are not in league with Obama, they are active cheerleaders for him!

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