What a let down. Here conservative Republicans were so close to respectability and even acceptance in polite society. In Prince William County, VA where I live, conservatives convinced themselves we'd come far from that time in the recent past when the Washington Post described evangelicals (essentially another word for conservative Republicans, since there is considerable overlap among the two demographic groups) as "poor, undereducated and easily led."
Then TheAtlantic.com piled on with this description of former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, "People are sometimes caught off guard by [his] intellectual competence because of his rural Arkansas habits (he and his wife lived in a trailer while the governor's mansion was being renovated) and his outspoken evangelical views."
Not those rural Arkansas habits again! What was Huckabee thinking when he moved into one of those tornado–bait tin cans? I happen to know there's a Hilton in Little Rock.
Conservatives, who are frequently optimists in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, chose to focus on the progress we've made since 2008. Why Gov. Huckabee is currently living in a house that doesn't require you to check the pressure rotate the foundation every 5,000 miles. And nationally Republicans -- if not all conservatives -- have an almost–anointed presidential candidate who is articulate, thinks double–wide is an unfortunate term for the overweight and has perfect hair.
Why Mitt Romney looks just as good as that Democrat intellectual giant, John Kerry, without all the annoying French mannerisms.
Then recently all our hope for acceptance came crashing down. In a "news story" wailing about the clout Northern Virginia lost in Richmond when the GOP took control of the Senate, the Washington Post complained, "Northern Virginia senators also worry about their ability to block legislation on social issues that play very differently in the more racially diverse, better-educated and liberal Washington suburbs than in more rural parts of the state.
It was only a passing reference that spoke volumes about ingrained, institutional prejudice. The phrase is simply elite shorthand that means we're back to: Liberals = Smart and Conservatives = Dumb.
I hope to visit the Post newsroom one day, because I'm convinced its map of Northern Virginia still manages to leave Prince William County (PWC) out, much like the maps of the Palestinian Authority never seem to include Israel.
This county is in the top ten nationwide when it comes to household income, we boast the satellite campus of George Mason University -- where taxpayer–subsidized "arts" groups can perform -- and residents frequently shop at our very own Wegmans grocery store; yet we're still pickin' on the banjo with the rest of the Deliverance caucus as far as the Post is concerned.
And the really ironic element in this assault on the conservative intellect is the bias is based on geography, which I thought was forbidden in elite circles. Here we have an organization, which has never met an illegal alien with a sob story that it wouldn't put on the front page, denigrating an entire class of human beings because their point of origin is South of Alexandria.
What's next? The ideological equivalent of E–Verify for conservatives, along with a refusal to issue a Virginia licencia de conducir so they can't drive in Richmond?
Have a heart. These migrating conservatives are yearning to live the American Dream, too. They just want to cast the votes in the General Assembly that liberals refuse to cast. Besides, they don't actually want to live in Richmond. I'm sure they will return to their native counties once the job is done.
This current distress of Virginia and DC liberals is the result of something their Dear Leader Obama warned about, "Elections have consequences."
And as a consequence of last November's election, Republicans are now in control of both the House and the Senate. So in under four years Virginia has gone from a Democrat in the governor's office and Democrats in control of the Senate to a Republican governor and Republican control of the entire General Assembly.
I think even a liberal can notice a trend here.
Specifically what this means for Virginia residents is an obstructionist Democrat Senate will no longer be able to block passage of bills that protect the life of unborn babies, defend marriage, eliminate Public Broadcasting subsidies, cut spending, reduce the size of government, prevent the appointment of activist liberal judges, discourage illegal immigration and recognize the Constitutional right of citizen self–defense.
It's time conservatives refuse to be on the defensive regarding intelligence. We used to ask know–it–alls, if you're so smart, why aren't you rich? Now it's time to update that and ask liberal Democrats, if you're so smart, why aren't you winning elections?
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.