In light of the criticism raised by conservative groups over Senator Jerry Moran’s support of consideration of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, it’s time we all refresh our memory of what the term conservatism actually means.
According to Merriam Webster, conservatism means: a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change.
Moran’s leadership fits this definition to a tee. He represents Kansans, and has done so in a conservative manner for many years in the state legislature, and continues to in the Congress. His call to consider Garland is not a signal that he is “caving” or “going wobbly” as some critics have stated. And it is not a sign that Moran needs reminding by leaders of conservative groups who he represents, as has been suggested in campaigns responding to this recent comment:
“I believe I have a duty to ask tough questions and demand answers. I am certain a thorough investigation would expose Judge Garland’s record and judicial philosophy, and disqualify him in the eyes of Kansans and Americans,” Moran said.
In November, 2015, Moran visited with constituents at a Larned town hall meeting, where he shared with them his frustration that upon arriving as a freshman, the GOP leadership had outright informed him that the goal of the party was to refuse to work with President Barrack Obama in any way. This, he said, was not why he had gone to Washington. He went to Washington to represent the people of Kansas, and to get work done for the country. To this, those in attendance offered their enthusiastic applause.
Consideration of a Supreme Court nominee is the job of Congress. Moran is there to do his job. Perhaps one could say that he and others in Congress who propose moving forward with hearings on Garland’s suitability are the most truly conservative representatives of all.
To those critics of Moran who feel the answer is to immediately jump into smear campaign mode, here is another definition to consider. Totalitarianism: centralized control by an autocratic authority; the political concept that the citizen should be totally subject to an absolute state authority.