On the second day of the Republican National Convention in Minnesota, delegates watched a video tribute to Republican President Theodore Roosevelt. From charging with the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War, to hunting with Holt Collier in the Mississippi Delta, to his iconic graving onto Mount Rushmore, Roosevelt is one of America's more storied leaders. His biography speaks well to Republicans promoting John McCain and Sarah Palin: a war hero who fought against special interests; a former police commissioner who fired bad cops, he was elected governor before joining the Republican ticket as vice-president.

The Roosevelt video reminded me of conversations with Republican friends in canoes floating down rivers: fishing, swimming, and enjoying our country's natural resources. Roosevelt is considered by some the father of national park system because of his conservation vision. I consider him the first Crunchy Con President.

Dallas Morning News columnist Rod Dreher defined Crunchy Con - short for "crunchy conservative" and a play on Neo Con - in an essay he wrote for National Review. "Crunchy" conjures ideas of "earthy" or "granola."

He discovered the essay had tapped into a curious ideological demographic and in 2006, Dreher released the book, "Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, right-wing nature lovers, and their diverse tribe of countercultural conservatives plan to save America (or at least the Republican Party)."

His long book title reflects the essence of Crunchy Cons, not a movement but many small movements identified in common by their commitment to ideological (and usually intellectual) conservatism, and their quirkiness that places them outside the mainstream. Dreher notes in his book they range from a "pro-life vegetarian Buddhist Republican" to "an NRA staffer with passion for organic gardening."

Dreher writes this thumbnail of the Crunchy Con Manifesto: "We are conservatives who stand outside the conservative mainstream; therefore, we can see things that matter more clearly. Modern conservatism has become too focused on money, power, and the accumulation of stuff, and insufficiently concerned with the content of our individual and social character. Big business deserves as much skepticism as big government. Culture is more important than politics and economics. A conservatism that does not practice restraint, humility, and good stewardship - especially of the natural world - is not fundamentally conservative. Small, Local, Old, and Particular are almost always better than Big, Global, New, and Abstract. Beauty is more important than efficiency. The relentlessness of media-driven pop culture deadens our senses to authentic truth, beauty, and wisdom. We share Russell Kirk's conviction that 'the institution most essential to conserve is the family.'"

Harrison Key, a writer and a contributor to World Magazine, turned me on (in the parlance of our times) to Dreher's book. He remarked, "I think one benefit of the book is to draw attention to the fact that conservatism isn't as homogenous (re: lifestyle) as folks like to imagine. Just because you vote conservative doesn't mean you look conservative, and just because you look like a liberal Yippie doesn't mean you'll grow up to be one."

Key and I both graduated from Belhaven College in Jackson and observed what we called "Belhaven conservatives" - prototype Crunchy Cons. They tend to believe in low taxes and public service, individual rights with public responsibilities (servant freedom), free markets and shopping locally, and peace through strength. They might be called common sense conservatives, and some (while reluctant to admit it), Gingrich conservatives.

Newt Gingrich's organization "American Solutions for Winning the Future" confounds some liberals. On one hand it is the organizer behind the "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less" campaign. But Gingrich rejects the old paradigm of oil production vs. environmental protection. He embraces both the "conservative" and the "crunchy."

Gingrich opines, "The group that I believe is the future of the American conservative movement, and indeed the future of American politics - are those who favor a 'green conservatism' - an optimistic, positive, science and technology based, entrepreneurial, market-oriented, incentive-led, conservative environmentalism that creates more solutions faster and that will result in more biodiversity with less pollution and a safer planet." Gingrich blends Teddy Roosevelt with Ronald Reagan and produces a conservative philosophy of responsible growth through innovation. This isn't new for Gingrich. He wrote about "Tending the Gardens of the Earth: Scientifically Based Environmentalism" in his 1995 "To Renew America" which was the post-election vehicle for Republicans' "Contract With America."

This also isn't new for Republicans. McCain often references Theodore Roosevelt as his favorite President and carries his campaign and ideology with a similar maverick sentiment and environmental commitment. But, many Crunchy Cons see themselves more at home with someone like Ron Paul (for whatever reason) or in third parties like the Constitution Party.

McCain's similarities to Roosevelt are not merely symbolic. It will be interesting to see if those Republican delegates from Minnesota and counter-culture conservatives will unite to elect a second Crunchy Con president.

Brian Perry of Jackson, a former congressional aide, is a partner in a public affairs firm. Reach him at reasonablyright@brianperry.ms.