The Free Exchange (15-003)

The Free Exchange is a series dedicated solely to answering comments from you. I appreciate your reading and always enjoy hearing from you, even when you disagree. Thank you for your participation.

Goodbye Aaron Schock: How Republicans Should Move Forward

Black and Red Fan writes:

I remember you telling me about Schock back then. It’s too bad that he turned out to be such an arrogant and immoral man. I always wonder about what you said to me a while ago: if a person is a true conservative then his or her life should reflect the conservative values at all levels. And if so, how could this happen to such a promising young supposedly conservative man? I guess Schock’s talent was in being a good orator and having charisma. But perhaps he wasn’t a true conservative? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

I have met and know about this Darin LaHood. He almost married one of my former friend & colleague back at the State’s Attorney’s Office. He broke it off with her and later quickly married someone else in what looked to be a shotgun wedding. He was at the Nevada US Attorney’s Office for a little while. (Father’s connection no doubt, as he has no known ties to that state) He then ran for the Peoria State’s Attorney and lost. He has wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps into politics way back in his law school days. I remember having some conversations with him where it was pretty clear to me that he was no principled conservative. I’m not saying he’s a leftist, but he sounds more moderate just like his dad. The main impression I got from him is that he cared more about being in politics rather than the ideology or values.

He’s been gearing for this his whole life. I find people like this end up making the worst politicians. He’s really only in it for himself, not for a greater cause. These are the kinds of guys who later get into scandals like Schock or Rostenkowski. It sounds like he’s the frontrunner which is too bad. I hope Bill Brady runs and beats LaHood.

Anyways, this is the last kinds of things that we need especially since we are now in power at Congress. I hope we don’t have the scandal-filled headline days like we did back in 2006. What a shame and good riddance. I hope Schock goes to prison and let him reflect on swallowing his arrogance.

J. Hunter:

Thank you for commenting. You’re right about Schock, it’s a shame that he was such an arrogant guy. His farewell address to Congress was pretty despicable, in my view. He doesn’t appear to be contrite at all, but rather, annoyed that he was caught. Tell me what you think.

Your personal interactions with Darin LaHood are fascinating and your observations about his ideology concern Illinois conservatives as well. Brady will not seek the open seat though, unfortunately. There’s talk of a challenger, but I think the seat will go to the well-connected LaHood. In one respect, this isn’t much of a surprise: Illinois is simply not a conservative stronghold. Our Republican governor holds moderate views, though I like him. It’s just a shame that in order to be governor in Illinois, one must equivocate on killing babies.

As for the conversation you and I had some years ago about an instinctive conservatism, I still think about that. Basically, my thought is that some people are instinctively conservative–to their core. I know people like this: they are emotionally connected to conservative principles and don’t even bristle at conservative policy ideas that are utterly shocking to liberal sensibilities. I think, for example, of Colorado’s Amendment 2 that caused the controversy in Romer v. Evans. Amendment 2 was supported by Republicans and viewed simply as a states’ rights matter. Liberals, though, were mortified at the very thought of the law. Similarly, the new Indiana Law protecting religious rights strikes liberals as completely untenable. For the record, I support SB 101.

There are conservatives–people who vote for Republicans, who uphold conservative tenets–who are personally conflicted or even afraid to defend some conservative values. They agree with the values intellectually but accept a tradeoff that allows them to support a policy that offends their knee-jerk sensibilities. Imagine, if you would, someone who is almost instinctively frugal. He’s disgusted (emotionally, viscerally) by wasting money, and cringes whenever he hears stories about people and governments squandering cash. Now, imagine someone who works hard at frugality because he knows (intellectually) that he should. He thinks about his retirement and does things to actively curtail his impulse to spend. He, unlike the other, isn’t viscerally offended when he doesn’t get a good deal, or whenever he hears stories about Paris Hilton’s expensive handbags. Both of these men could vote Republican and argue the supremacy of conservatism, but one (at least in terms of spending) is a conservative to his core, one could say.  The first man’s heart informs his mind. The second’s mind trains his passions. In a practical sense, is either one, really “less” conservative when they revel in the same result?

As always, I’m curious about your thoughts on this.

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