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EDITORIAL

Yes, conservatism needs a makeover

Tuesday, July 9, 2013 - 12:01 am

And here are two voices helping to point the way.

“Chicks on the Right” are two professional, working central Indiana mothers – Amy Jo Clark and Miriam Weaver – who think they can help spur the makeover the desperately needed conservative movement in this country. It needs rescued, they say, from tired, old establishment candidates such as John McCain and Mitt Romney who do not represent the growing legion of new, mostly younger conservatives.

And just what kind of conservative is this emerging new breed? Well, perhaps something like Clark and Weaver. They “want to hurl” at people who swoon over President Obama like a rock star. They blast Democrats, who’ve run the country into the ground spending money the nation doesn’t have. But they’re OK with the morning-after pill, even abortions up to five weeks of pregnancy. And they couldn’t care less if gay people get married.

“We’re not all stodgy, grumpy white dudes,” Clark says in an Associated Press profile of the two women. “Liberals and the media have made us out to be this way. We are screaming from the rooftops, you can believe in God and still have a gay best friend.”

It’s instructive that one of the GOP politicians they do admire is Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. His unapologetic blend of conservatism and libertarianism sometimes seems designed to enrage both left and right. But he is one of the most original thinkers in politics right now, and he might not have the “right” answer for every issue, but he thinks about each of them without the distraction of political cant and dogma.

Clark and Weaver are demonstrating how much appeal Rand’s approach has out here in the heartland. Their blog (http://chicksontheright.com/) boasts 1.5 million views a month and continues to climb the Alexa list of the nation’s top 100 conservative websites, ranking No. 16 today. Their Facebook page has more than 160,000 followers, their Twitter account more than 11,000. They just landed a Saturday afternoon radio show on WIBC. A book is expected out early next year.

Politicians such as Paul and acolytes such as Clark and Weaver might not be the answer to the challenge of government bloat and intrusion. But they represent an approach that will find an answer. Not all conservatives and libertarians will want to become hybrids by adopting some of each other’s positions. But they certainly need to be more receptive to respecting each other and working together. We can slow government down or let it keep growing – those are the only two options. Unless conservatives and libertarians acknowledge they are on the same side of that debate, neither one will have a chance. The other side has been united and growing stronger for a century.