Wednesday, October 1, 2008

For Republicans: 1932 or 1964?

Unfortunately, he has a point.
If McCain loses the election, each of the three main conservative factions will have a case to make about the others' failure. The war the neocon dreamers cooked up turned out to be a disaster, one in which virtually every Republican was implicated. Future Democrats will only need to say, "Oh yeah? Well you thought the Iraq War was a good idea!" in order to put Republicans on their heels. The Palin pick will no doubt be seen as one of the worst in memory, more embarrassing than even Quayle, offering a rebuke to every social conservative who embraced her with such lip-quivering joy. And the economic disaster that came right before the 2008 election convinced nearly the entire country that deregulation failed, the free market can't be left to its own devices, and government must be the guarantor of economic security.

In other words, all the pillars that have held up conservatism for so long are crumbling. When the dust settles, it will be difficult to know just what it means to be a conservative. Is a conservative who doesn't proclaim the perfection of the free market and the evil of government still a conservative? What about a conservative who thinks his comrades ought to quit yapping about gay marriage and get into the 21st century? What about a conservative who wants to accede to the public's desire for a less bellicose foreign policy?

One of the right's greatest strengths in the last few decades was that they knew precisely what the answers to these questions were (no, no, and no, in case you're wondering). But if they go down to defeat five weeks from now, they won't be so sure. And nothing is less appealing to the public than a political movement that doesn't know what it believes.

1 comment:

Ignoramus said...

In point of fact, BOTH parties are divided to the breaking point. Look into about Democratic views on issues such as abortion and homeschooling and you see an increasing resentment of how the far left has made certain positions litmus tests for anyone who wants to be feminist or otherwise liberal.

For fun, you easily make up a set of bullet points about the Democrats parallel to the ones about the Republicans:

- "Oh yeah? You personally voted in favor of the war in Iraq (even though you are a Democrat--many Democrats did) and then you voted to pull out quickly for our own benefit once we had crushed whatever national stability the place had. You have no honor."

- For vice-presidential picks, it is very difficult to get more embarrassing that Biden, even if the media doesn't pick up the story (here: - Oh, and here:

- This blog hosts evidence that there is blame a-plenty to go around for the current economic crisis; to pin it on either party is political posturing. Not only that, surely the author of this article knows that conservatives' anti-regulation bias has embraces a great deal more than laws about financial practices (think of homeschooling, medical choice, "hate speech" laws, etc.). The author takes a narrow view of the conservative position so that the recent crisis can serve as a refutation.

But for an interesting commentary on how conservatives have lost some of their identity and need to get it back, see Rod Dreher's Crunchy Cons. I agree with many (although not all) of his leanings.