What is a mainstream conservative?

In politics, we usually want to know the political ideology of candidates, office holders and people who comment on politics.

Party affiliations like “Republican” or “Democrat” often aren’t descriptive enough, so we use labels like liberal, conservative, right-wing, left-wing, arch-liberal, ultra-conservative and so forth.

So what is your political ideology? Have you thought about it? How do you describe your political beliefs? Can you articulate what you believe?

When someone asks me what my political ideology is, I respond that I’m a mainstream conservative or a mainstream Republican.

I’ve written previously about how I define “mainstream conservative”. Here is an updated list of principles that reflect my political philosophy.

  1. I revere the U.S. Constitution and firmly believe that following the constitutional principles espoused by the founders will ensure maximum individual freedom and help restrain government, while still enabling national, state and local governments to meet international, national, state and local needs and challenges.

    I also believe the founders intended for the Constitution to be a living document adaptable to current conditions, but its foundational principles protecting freedom and restraining government should not be compromised.

  2. I believe in limited government and maximum individual freedom. Government has an important, but limited, role to play in society. Government’s central role should be to protect the rights of individuals and families, providing a framework of law and private property protection in which free enterprise can thrive and individuals can succeed based on personal initiative and hard work.
  3. I support balanced budgets, low taxes and limited regulation so individuals, families and businesses can thrive. Tax levels should, however, be sufficient to meet legitimate government responsibilities, including quality education and a safety net for the needy.
  4. I deplore the free-spending ways of the federal government over many decades, which has resulted in colossal debt.  I believe that such spending is bringing the country to the brink of disaster and threatens our security and that of our children and grandchildren.

    I believe that both states and the federal government must make difficult decisions to rein in spending and gain control of entitlement programs. However, it has taken many decades to get into our current circumstances and it will take time to get control of the budget. Draconian cuts that throw the country into turmoil would not be wise. Incremental reform of entitlement programs is necessary.

  5. I believe that free enterprise and capitalism are engines of prosperity and economic growth.  Advanced technology gives us new choices, solutions and tools to solve America’s problems, including energy, health care, and education.
  6. I strongly support balanced federalism as intended by the country’s Founders and in accordance with the 10th Amendment. We need a strong national government whose scope is limited to true national priorities. One reason for federal failure is the national government is trying to do too much. Government closest to home is the best government. I support fundamental federalism reform, including a constitutional amendment to restore tools to the states to push back against the federal government.
  7. I believe that families are the fundamental and most important units of society. Government policies should be family-friendly, supporting strong families rather than harming families.
  8. While I am a mainstream conservative, I respect those who hold different political ideologies and believe political discourse should reflect a tone of temperance, respect and restraint. We must be agreeable as we disagree. We must be courteous and civil.
  9. I believe that leaders of different political parties and ideologies must work together to solve the important problems of our day. Compromise is not capitulation and is often leads to better solutions. Our political leaders must be problem-solvers, not ideologues who refuse to accept practical realities.

Those are beliefs and principles that I espouse. How about you?