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The Conservative Movement and The Danger of the Two-Legged Stool

The conservative movement’s successful action has been based on the three-legged stool approach of fiscal, defense and moral conservatives.

Everyone knows that a stool needs at least three legs if it is going to serve as a place to sit. Any lesser combination turns the stool into something else that more than likely will land the person on the floor.

For decades, the formula for the conservative movement’s successful action has been the three-legged stool approach of a mutually supporting mix of fiscal, defense and moral conservatives. Each part contributes to the whole. Even when one disagrees with the other, there was still a tacit agreement to cooperate.

This formula has long won elections and paved the way for success. This last election cycle was no exception. Fiscal and defense conservative both played their role. However, it can be argued that it was the moral conservatives that tipped the balance out of their concern for future Supreme Court justice picks.

Junior Partners

Despite their vital role, moral conservatives have always been treated as junior partners in the triple alliance. They are the first to be asked for support in tough electoral battles and the last to be remembered in campaign victories.

Thus, there have always been those who, after winning, succumb to the temptation of ditching the troublesome moral conservatives that ask them to uphold God’s law. Instead, they indulge the fancy that the nation is like an economic machine that must first be tweaked before anything else can be considered. All the system needs to catapult America to prosperity is strong security, less government and tax incentives. Two legs of the stool are enough. The moral issues can be addressed later, almost as an afterthought.

Disconcerting Conservatives

However, what is now disconcerting is how quickly many conservatives are adopting this two-legged stool approach as their model at the present moment. In the very hour when they hold the greatest political power in decades and have the ability to accomplish the goals of all three legs, these conservatives are jettisoning the old formula. Some would even replace the moral leg with a less irksome substitute.

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