"Sergeant Carter," the exasperated colonel said, "in the history you write, 'The 325th Fighter Wing was stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base, near Panama City, Florida.' It's still here, Sergeant Carter! Why are you writing like that?'" I explained to the colonel that regulations required us to write our histories in the past tense because we were writing for future researchers who might read our work at a future date neither the 325th Fighter Wing nor Tyndall Air Force Base may exist. There were other peculiarities that I had to explain to each and every colonel I worked for over the years. It was called, "breaking in a new colonel." Some of them understood after one explanation, while others required multiple refreshers but after all, I was an NCO dealing with senior officers so I had to adjust my expectations accordingly. Sometimes it was as if we spoke different languages entirely.
A similar disconnect came to mind in recent days as I heard the frontrunner for the Republican Party first accept the language of class division without any prodding from the interviewer and, days later, endorse the minimum wage and its indexing to the inflation rate. However you wish to slice it, this is not the language of a conservative. Forget breaking in colonels for a minute,…do we have to sit our own leaders down and make them watch videos of Milton Friedman? Do we need to order copies of Ameritopia for them and administer quizzes? For a guy who has for years now been running for the presidency as an ostensible conservative, is it too much to expect Governor Romney to demonstrate some fluency in the language and speak from the perspective of individual sovereignty? Is this the best the Republican party can muster in the face of the cataclysmic threat posed by the most radical collectivist to ever occupy the Oval Office? We took time from our jobs, our families, our lives, to organize and speak up against the encroachments of omnipotent government. We turned out in massive numbers and gave the Republicans a historic victory in 2010, and this is what we get?
Then again, surveying Romney's growing momentum in the primaries, it's tempting to wonder if the language of conservatism, of constitutionalism, of liberty itself, is even understandable (let alone palatable) to most Americans. On Ricochet's main podcast, Rob Long is fond of asking guests if they think the American people are really up for the challenge of meaningful cuts in their favorite programs. Many of Governor Romney's supporters base his supposed electability on his preternatural ability to equivocate and thereby avoid giving the vaunted independent voters a case of the vapors that would send them back into the waiting arms of the utopian left. It worked for Obama, after all. Enough vacuous platitudes, mixed in with a few centrist pledges to work across party lines and presto(!), he's touring golf courses in Air Force One.
Is that the lesson the party hierarchy learned? Have they surveyed the political landscape and found that Americans no longer have the stomach for liberty? Are they right? I don't think so. If I did, I'd be content to write nothing but articles about the glory of driving an 18 wheeler across the country and never again soil my mind or yours with politics. Recent polls indicate that about 21% of the American electorate self-identify as liberals. Fine. Let them boss each other around until they pass out. The rest of us, however, have something on the order of a national DNA. We're hard-wired for freedom, and we could lend enthusiastic support to leaders who understand and consistently advance conservative ideas.
Meanwhile, as we wait for that mythical figure, the winner from the current field of candidates, even if it's Governor Minimum Wage, will get my vote. If the best we can do is tread water and thereby delay catastrophe long enough for some real conservatives to turn this ship around, I'll take it. Why? Because years from now when my grandson, Daniel, asks what I did to defend freedom, I want to be able to look him in the eye and say, "Everything humanly possible."