I have been having a very thought-provoking conversation with a blogger named Texas56. It started with a post of hers, raising a number of very legitimate criticisms of Sen Boxer of California. My most recent comment to her blog became the origin of this post.

The exchange got me more focused on an issue that has been bothering me for some time. Who decided that Republicans were the party of conservative America? Despite the occasional “damn all the politicians” sentiment from the likes of Glenn Beck, and despite a very thin veneer of non-partisanship blanketing the tea-party movement, how is it that Democrats are scathingly excoriated by the right, while Republicans are merely admonished from time to time? What exactly is conservative about the modern Republican party?

In my opinion, Republicans these days are every bit as responsible for undermining conservative principles as Democrats. Okay, maybe that’s not fair. If Democrats get a score of 15/100 on the conservative scale, maybe Republicans deserve a 30. But that is scarcely recognized in terms of how the voice of conservative America speaks forth.

I ask my conservative friends:

Is not liberty a fundamental conservative principle? Yet it was Republicans who trampled our liberty into the dust via the Patriot Act. Republicans who have persistently sought to stamp out liberty for gays and pregnant women. Republicans who consistently oppose voter registration drives. Why are conservatives not apoplectic over these egregiously anti-liberty positions of the modern Republican party?

Is not fiscal responsibility not a fundamental conservative principle? Yet, somewhere along the way, Republicans decided that massive federal debt is the answer to funding our government. They keep pushing tax cuts, but never spending cuts. How politically expedient is that? — “Have some more dessert, voters; don’t worry about eating your vegetables!” How can putting this country $11 trillion in debt — the pre-Obama total, mind you — possibly be considered fiscally responsible? In fact, I would argue that cutting taxes is the most fiscally irresponsible act possible — if spending is not cut and a massive accumulation of debt is the result. Just ask Dave Ramsey.

So, here’s the real challenge: Are conservatives willing to throw Republicans under the bus along with the Democrats? Are conservatives willing to denounce Republicans who oppose liberty when that means gay rights, or a woman’s right to choose, or giving every possible person the opportunity to vote? Are conservatives willing to embrace fiscal responsibility when that means higher taxes? If so, I’m there to join with you. I’m ready to vote for candidates like that. If he came from my part of the country and were still active in politics, I would vote for Joe Scarborough in a heartbeat.

But as long as Democrats have to take the hit alone, as long as Republicans are given a free pass by conservatives, as long as conservatives remain blind to the myriad of ways that Republicans violate conservative principles in this country, as long as conservatives howl at Nancy Pelosi but cheer Joe Wilson — or Barack Obama versus Sarah Palin, or any other inexplicable dichotomy — I cannot stand with them.

OMG, I’m starting to sound like Ron Paul. Somebody help me.