Being Conservative In The Age of Obama

Last night’s electoral defeat hurt. I won’t lie, I’m pretty bitter about it. But any emotions I have about the loss are secondary to the consideration I’ve given to the question of “Why” and a broader issue I’m much less comfortable exploring: is it possible I’m wrong – all conservatives are wrong – and liberals are right? Has conservatism finally been defeated? Is it really passé?

I was really surprised by lib’s reactions today. As they spike the football and call us the Party of Rape (thanks, Akin!), I can’t help but believe that part of the issue is that liberals don’t understand what conservatism is. They just have this cartoon image of it; they are effectively railing against strawmen. Here is what I believe:

I believe, first and foremost, in liberty.
I believe in business, free-markets, and capitalism.
I believe in self-reliance.

None of these things is controversial, yet liberals make them sound like I want to eat baby flesh and murder everyone. I simply don’t understand the opposition to these things.

More profoundly, the social issues that are tearing our country apart make me sad. The whole “war on women” meme just made me nauseous after a while. Here’s what I believe:


Have all the contraception you want. Seriously, take it. But don’t ask me to pay for it. You want to fuck without condoms, you accept the repercussions of your choices.

Abortion is awful. It’s an abomination, it’s disgusting, it can’t be good for you and it is sad for the baby who never got to live. That said, it is not my business to speak out on this issue. If a friend was going to abort her child and wanted my opinion, I’d give it. But I wouldn’t push her into anything. Not all women love abortion. And yet, not all conservatives, like myself, give a fig what you do with your life.

Conservatives need to chill the fuck out on this issue. I don’t understand how it could interest either liberals or conservatives, but it has got to stop. Under the mantle of liberty, this needs to be a private matter. Liberals also need to shut the fuck up about this issue. Just shut up. Take responsibility for your fucking and shut up. Abort if you want to. It isn’t a political issue. Just shut up.

As for homosexuality, conservatives have got to stop caring about this. The “don’t be gay” brand of conservatism is just repulsive. It is nobody’s choice to be gay, and even if it were a choice, what business is it of yours? Just let people be themselves. Quit caring that someone, somewhere, might be getting laid in a way that makes you feel dirty.


Our taxes are fucking insane. Conservatives have this one right. We can’t afford the nanny state that liberals want, but what’s more, we shouldn’t have one on moral grounds. We should all strive to be self-reliant badasses. I don’t want to pay more. I don’t want to support anyone more than I do already.

Obamacare – indeed any socialised health care – is a disgrace because it entitles the state to have more power over the individual. I don’t want to be told what to eat or weigh or do. Just leave me alone. Even if you’re a hard core socialist who LOVES universal healthcare, can you at least put yourself in the shoes of someone who doesn’t want that and be made to understand what a violation that is?


No two people are alike. No two people have the same education, the same years experience, the same competence, the same ability, the same dedication. Therefore, it is impossible to impose a “standard” salary and thus, if men make more than women then I’m fine with that, if the man is clearly more qualified than the woman. It scares me to realize there are people who believe everyone is entitled to the same salary. I am frankly afraid that this is what Obama wants. It limits upward mobility. It stifles creativity. It is bad and awful and wrong. The marketplace should decide what people are worth. And incidentally if women were willing to do the same job for less than a man, why are women more than twice as likely to be unemployed than men? That is simply a myth.


I’m not a fucking racist. I’m sick of being told I’m a racist for not wanting Obama to be president. I would have happily voted for plenty of other black people – JUST NOT HIM. Please, libs, tell me you get this.


We can’t afford illegal immigrants. Period. No other country on earth has open borders, please quit expecting them here. Maybe in the future we will, but right now we can’t afford it. Again, it isn’t racism to point that out. If they want to immigrate legally, our arms are open.


Obama seems to have a hate-on for capitalism and I don’t get it. He does a lot of crony capitalism, but that isn’t genuine capitalism. I would like to see more capitalism. I’d also like to see less regulation. When Obama said he would break all the rules and cut the red tape in order to help the NJ and NY victims of Superstorm Sandy, he was tacitly admitting that regulation harms people.


I don’t believe in it, but if you want to, please feel free. By all means, act in a way that you feel is environmentally responsible. But please leave me out of it. You know how you libs hate when evangelicals want you to believe in God and ask you to tacitly participate in their god-worship? Yeah, that’s what your global warming stuff feels like to us. Just respect the differences between us and move on.


I am not religious. Christians make me roll my eyes. Muslims make me scared. I would not be afraid of muslims if they didn’t blow stuff up. I know you will say that it is such a teensy tiny fraction of people who are radical and want to blow us up. Doesn’t matter. I am afraid of them gaining political power for the same reason I hold my keys a little tighter when it is dark and I’m walking out to an empty parking lot. Nope, they aren’t all terrorists. But I’m attuned to the reality that some are.

Conservatives, you have got to make God a private matter. You can’t keep your political movement tethered to a religious one. You have got to cut that noose.

The point to all this is that the liberals have a point: we are now a minority. We either have to reform or die. I believe liberals are wrong on a lot of things, but I also think they’re wrong about us. And the first thing we need to do now is simply start showing ourselves, our political opposites, and the general public what being a conservative means.

What does it mean to you?

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  1. Oh, such a great succinct post, hon. I love it. I’m not sure there’s anything I can even ADD here because you’ve covered it all so well.

    (And while I am a Christian, as you know, I don’t consider myself “religious” and, in my opinion, any thinking Christian would also call being a Christian something other than being “religious.” I hope I don’t make you roll your eyes too much. ;-))

    As to your first paragraph: I do think conservatism IS passe, unfortunately, but that doesn’t make it wrong. I think all kinds of retarded, wrong-headed notions are being drummed into the American mind at large and, because of that, we no longer think the way we once thought as a nation. Good ol’ “American values” are becoming something un-American but that doesn’t make those good ol’ values wrong. People think they’re quaint now. You’re a ….. what’s the word I want here? ….. a fuddy-duddy if you don’t get on board with the shiny postmodern nanny state.

    I agree with you that there are certain moral/spiritual/personal choices that conservatives need to shut up about. I’m torn on some of these issues, like abortion, which I don’t support at ALL personally because it’s sickening to me and I don’t WANT it to exist; on the other hand, I’ve just never been sure how you legislate and/or control that or even if you should. I am a horrible fence-sitter on that issue and it really bothers me that I am because the fence hurts my fancy place. But that’s the truth of where I am on that issue.

    That said, I think it would better serve the overall conservative cause if politicians shut up about the issue. That doesn’t make me pro-choice. I’m not. I’m pro “It’s your life and your decision and it’s between you and God and leave me out of it.”

    (Does that fit on a bumper sticker?)

    So, yes. I want out of your fancy place and out of your ass and just OUT of all that stuff that ultimately doesn’t involve me.

    (Sorry for the caps. I was too lazy to do the italics html thingy.)

  2. I’m a Christian like Tracey, and like Tracey, I’m TIRED of the culture-war politics. I live in Iowa, and we have had gay marriage for awhile now. We are not worse off at all. The only differences I’ve noticed is a larger variety of cake-toppers in the bakery, and more diverse wedding photos in the newspaper. Guess what? Those two brides over here and those two grooms over there look happy. I just can’t see why we ruin political capital over issues so stupid. Between gay marriage and evolution, our churches (and our political party) are losing smart young people in droves when that is not what we are supposed to be about.

    If my family can watch our spending to stay out of debt, there is no reason (except for politicians of both stripes) for America to do the same. Balancing the budget is not enough. Balancing the budget and making a plan to begin paying off the debt is what we need. That is my number one issue.

  3. I agree with most of what you say. One aspect that has been overlooked in the post-mortem is the role that the broadcast media played in the outcome of this election. To the networks and all of the major print media any Republican victory is a possible affront to free speech. The media has become so biased in favor of the Democrats that the Republicans have to run a squeaky clean campaign or they’ll get crucified. There were too many examples to cite in this campaign, but just look how they hammered the 47% comment. Everyone knew what Romney mean’t, but the media spin crucified him. By example, Obama’s 47% consisted of the states of California and New York where his campaign didn’t even visit. The lone exception in the media is Fox, but as the only supporter of the right, they have been portrayed as extremist, in part because of their own doing, and thus, have been heavily discounted. Until there is more of an equal playing field in the media close races will always fall to the Dems unless the party is brought back towards the middle as you suggest.

  4. Olivier Schreiber says:

    “We can’t afford illegal immigrant”.
    With the regulated cost of legal labor, we could not afford to do without illegal immigrants.

  5. Hey there,

    Allthough you made some important points about the hyprocrisy in the conservative movment regarding free speech and personal choice, there is one point that I cannot agree with.

    Comparing religion with climate change is disingenuous. Climate change is not choice, it is fact. We might even care because we are not going to live long enough to see the effect. But I think responsibilty and rationality drive our values and we should stop denying realities and fighting over conspiracy theories. and start to work on the future.

    This way conservatism can find its way back into middle of society.

  6. You are right. Many liberals have that cartoon image of what conservatism and what you are not about. It is also true that just as many conservatives have an equally in/accurate cartoon image of liberals as well. Because while it’s a very small proportion, those cartoons also live as reall people – on both sides – and just give both their parties a bad name.

  7. John Sherriff says:

    Cara – I don’t think we have met but so good to see you keeping up the discussion of Enron after all these years. I thought of your blog, which I have not checked out in years and thought I needed to connect with you. I am writing a book “I’d Rather Be Lucky and Good” which has several stories from my 8 years at Enron. It is in in the context of decision making rules and managing risk and making bets and I would say that only about 40% of it relates to Enron specifically. I think I am the most senior person at Enron to write a book and it is not a tell-all but intended to give business people ideas they can use in their business endeavors. Is there any chance that we could connect over the phone? John Sherriff [Email deleted for privacy]

  8. Cara Ellison says:

    Hi John,

    Great to hear from you. I’ll email.

  9. Astrid Thora says:

    For me being conservative in a time of leftist bullying is equivalent to being against the KGB or Stasi. It’s a paradox really, that the values they defend such as freedom of speech or freedom of the press, they can’t throw away fast enough. When those cartoons came out in Denmark, CNN and Yale University should not have been too afraid to show the cartoon rendering of Muhammad, and Obama should never have apologized for that film that came out last september. He should never have said that Islam is a religion of peace. By censoring peoples right to offend and constantly bending over backwards to apologize for any small criticism, they appease a violent ideology. I am fed up with hearing about fatwas and death threats just become somebody had the courage to debate Islam. Why should Muslims be put on a higher pedestal in which they are above critique? This just doesn’t happen with Christianity. Nobody would ever react violently in 2013 if you burned a Bible or said the Pope was a douche bag and made some immature doodle of him. Muslims need to enlighten their belief system otherwise I don’t want it in Western democracies. With regards to immigration, European countries suffer as much as we do with illegal and mass immigration policies. This is the liberal agenda: big government that makes people lazy and uninterested in having children so that nobody can fun the welfare state so we are told to allow in millions of foreigners who hate our values to help us finance it.

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