A question I asked myself yesterday about the new “Conservatives for Hillary” phenomenon only seemed to reopen a Pandora’s box of endlessly undefinable definitions. (But words fail, because the “box” has been irreparably burst open for a long time.)
Anyway, Socrates left this comment:

Sullivan is not a conservative. I don’t know what he is.

The thing is, there is no agreed-upon definition of the word “conservative,” which leaves me having to guess at its meaning. The lack of a definition, coupled with the fact that the word really has changed over time (“Goldwater conservatism,” for example, while once defining of the word, is today not conservatism, and may even be liberalism) leaves me grasping at straws. I am therefore forced to rely on whether I agree with the views of various people who call themselves conservatives, for what other standard is there? It’s not as if I can simply declare myself a conservative in the abstract, and have myself tattooed on the arm. It is easy to say someone is or is not a conservative, but is that definitive? It would strike me that anyone who supports Hillary Clinton (who is a lifelong socialist) cannot be a conservative, but how can I prove that?
For example, I once tried to maintain that Michael Savage is not a conservative:

I think I can fairly state that conservatism does not mean sympathizing with radical Islam, or attributing to God the worst attack on the United States since World War II.
By claiming to be a conservative when he is not, Savage is behaving as a classic agent provocateur.
That he has many fans who call themselves conservatives is more worrisome to me than whether he calls himself a conservative.
I’m not sure whether I should consider Savage’s fans to be conservatives or not. (Certainly if he pronounced himself a “libertarian,” that would not mean he or his fans were libertarians.) But again, I think the extent to which people who call themselves conservatives agree with Savage begs the question of why some (not all) people think conservatives are idiots.
For the record, I don’t think conservatives are idiots (far from it), and I’m going to try not to think of Michael Savage or his fans as conservatives.
(I’m hoping this is an exercise in fairness and not denial.)

The problem with that analysis is that it really isn’t up to me to determine whether Savage is a conservative, and the fact is, the man is constantly called a conservative — by people on both “sides” of the spectrum. If it’s not up to me to decide whether he’s a conservative, and if his views constitute conservativism, then I can only say that I am not. Likewise, if supporting Hillary is declared by Sullivan (and others) to be conservatism, then I can only say that I am not. But if Sullivan and Savage are not conservatives, then maybe I am.
This makes me crazy, because some of my liberal friends call me a conservative and some of my conservative friends call me a liberal, and I am not middle of the road, and yet “libertarian” is problematic, because I disagree with many of them and many of them would say I’m not libertarian.
Then there’s the political party stuff: as long as I remain a Republican, the “conservative wing” will call me a RINO. Yet if I switch to the Democratic Party, my views will be even more anathema, and I’ll be a DINO. (I’ve had the same views I have now for many years, and had them when I was a Democrat.)
Yeah, I love rejecting labels. But it’s getting tired, and seems a tad overwrought at times.
Just for today, I’ll stick my neck out and say that I am not a Savage/Sullivan conservative.
If that makes me a liberal, I’ll take my lumps.
MORE: It also occurs to me that there are four possibilities:

A. Savage is a conservative and Sullivan is not.
B. Sullivan is a conservative and Savage is not.
C. Savage and Sullivan are both conservatives.
D. Neither Savage nor Sullivan are conservatives.

Unless the word “conservative” has no meaning, it seems that only if D is true is it possible for me to be a conservative.
And if the word has no meaning, then it is very foolish to worry about whether one can “be” such a thing.
So why care?
Well, I didn’t start the “Conservatives for Hillary” movement.
Nor did Sullivan.
I have to say, the “Conservatives for Hillary” movement strikes me as beyond dishonest or contrived — to the point of being downright tacky.
(But I guess if I can get used to “Goldwater Marxism,” I can get used to anything.)
MORE: Regular readers know that I have long doubted the sincerity of Michael Savage. So, apparently, does NRO’s David Klinghoffer. Among many other things he cites Savage’s contribution of thousands of dollars to ultra-liberal Jerry Brown’s campaign for California Attorney General.

“Why bet on a horse that isn’t going to win? Why throw your money into the garbage?”

Whoa there.
Leave it to Michael Savage to think up a catchy fund-raising slogan for Hillary!