Skip to comments.Andrew Sullivan: Kerry: the right choice for conservatives (VOMIT TILL YOU DIE ALERT)
Posted on 07/24/2004 4:32:41 PM PDT by MadIvan
If you are a conservative, whom should you be rooting for in the American elections? I am not being entirely facetious here. The conservative movement in the United States is still firmly behind the re- election of President George W Bush. He uses conservative rhetoric taking the war to the enemy, upholding conservative social values, respecting religious faith, protecting the family and so on.
He is widely regarded as one of the most conservative presidents in recent history rivalling Reagan, eclipsing his own father in right-wing bona fides. And yet if you decouple the notion of being a conservative from being a Republican, nobody can doubt that the Bush administration has been pursuing some highly unconservative policies.
Start with the war. Almost overnight after 9/11 Bush junked decades of American policy in the Middle East, abandoning attempts to manage Arab autocracies for the sake of the oil supply and instead forging a policy of radical democratisation. He invaded two countries and is trying to convert them to modern democracies.
Nothing so liberal has been attempted in a long time. In the 2000 campaign, Bush mocked the idea of nation building as liberal claptrap. Now its the centrepiece of his administration. The fact that anti-American lefties despise the attempt to democratise foreign countries should not disguise the fact that Bush is, in this respect, indisputably a foreign policy liberal. He has shown none of his fathers caution, no interest in old-style realpolitik.
At home Bush has been just as radical. He has junked decades of conservative attempts to restrain government and pushed federal spending to record levels, dismissing the idea that this will have damaging consequences. He has poured money into agricultural subsidies, he famously put tariffs on foreign steel, he has expanded the healthcare programme and increased the role of central government in education.
He has little or no concern for the separation of church and state, funnelling public money to religious charities, and he has appointed some of the most radical jurists to the federal bench. Just try finding a coherent theme in Bush Republicanism. It is in fact one of the most ramshackle distillations of political expediency ever tarted up as an ism.
There has also been, its safe to say, a remarkable recklessness in Bushs approach. Was it really necessary to insist that the Geneva conventions do not apply to detainees in the war on terror?
When so many people warned that the hardest task in Iraq would be what happened after the fall of Baghdad, was it sensible to junk all the carefully written government reports for reconstruction and wing it? Was it wise to brag in the days after the first military victory in Iraq that it was mission accomplished? When the insurgency was growing, was it sensible to apply the methods of Guantanamo Bay to the hundreds of petty criminals and innocents hauled into Abu Ghraib?
At almost every juncture where prudence might have been called for, Bush opted for winging it. This approach can scarcely be called conservative.
So where is conservatism to be found? Maybe you should cast a glance at Boston, where this week the Democratic convention will anoint one John Forbes Kerry, a northeastern patrician who is fast becoming the eastern establishments favourite son.
Yes, Kerrys record on spending, defence and social policy has been liberal. But that is not the theme of his campaign. Kerry says he is as dedicated to seeing through nation building in Iraq and Afghanistan as Bush. But where Bush has scrapped Americas long-standing military doctrine of attacking only when attacked, Kerry prefers the old, strictly defensive doctrine.
Where Bush has clearly placed American national interest above international concerns, Kerry demands that the old alliances even with old Europe need to be strengthened. Kerry insists that he is a fiscal conservative, aiming to reduce the deficit by tax increases. He has argued that stability in some parts of the world should take precedence over democracy or human rights.
He opposes amending the constitution and supports legal abortion, the status quo that Bush wants to reverse. He has spent decades in the Senate building an undistinguished but nuanced record. He is a war veteran who plays up his record of public service. Hes a church-going Catholic who finds discussion of religious faith unseemly in public. In the primaries he was the safe establishment bore compared with radicals such as Howard Dean and the populist charmer John Edwards.
His basic message: lets return to normalcy. The radicalism of the past four years needs tempering. We need to consolidate nation building in Iraq and Afghanistan before any new adventures in, say, Iran. We need to return to the diplomatic obeisance to the United Nations. We should stop referring to a war on terror and return to pre-9/11 notions of terrorism, best dealt with by police work in co-ordination with our democratic allies.
At home we need to restrain the unruly religious right. We must balance the budget again. We need to redress some of the social and economic inequality that has so intensified during these past few years. Kerrys biggest proposal one sure to be modified by Congress is a large increase in the number of people with health insurance. Its far more modest than that proposed by Bill and Hillary Clinton a decade ago.
Does that make Kerry right and Bush wrong? On the most fundamental matter, ie the war, I think Bush has been basically right: right to see the danger posed by Saddam Hussein and the nexus of weapons of mass destruction and Islamist terror; right to realise that the French would never have acquiesced to ridding the world of Saddam; right to endorse the notion of pre-emption in a world of new and grave dangers.
Much of the hard work has now been done. Nobody seriously believes that Bush will start another war. And in some ways Kerry may be better suited to the difficult task of nation building than Bush.
At home Bush has done much to destroy the coherence of a conservative philosophy of American government and he has been almost criminally reckless in his conduct of the war. He and America will never live down the intelligence debacle of the missing WMDs. He and America will be hard put to regain the moral high ground after Abu Ghraib.
The argument that Kerry must make is that he can continue the war but without Bushs polarising recklessness. And at home he must reassure Americans that he is the centrist candidate, controlled neither by the foaming Michael Moore left nor by the vitriolic religious right.
Put all that together and I may not find myself the only conservative moving slowly and reluctantly towards the notion that Kerry may be the right man and the conservative choice for a difficult and perilous time.
More and more the difference between right and left is begining to be the choice between religious tolerance and anti-christianity. People like Hitchens and Sullivan can agree with Bush on the major issues but because of their distrust and even hatred of Christanity will support the opposition.
I recommend a new butt-plug for Andrew. He's suffering from too much brain-drain.
He's into restraining people, isn't he?
What's really at the root of this gay marriage deal? A truly-conservative solution.
My thought about why this is such an issue...simple: the nanny state, once again, is the root cause.
I think that most of us think/feel:
Even though I think being gay is immoral and don't agree with it, I really don't care what someone does in their bedroom. I don't approve of it, but it isn't my business. However, I don't think that gay people should be getting married, in the traditional sense. That's for a man and a woman.Most gays will call this homophobic. A straight person's statement along that line (or similar) isn't homophobic and it's only slightly ignorant. In fact, the above sentiment is the majority of people's "gut reaction", right, wrong, or indifferent. Most people think that gays are pushing their agenda and, to some degree, they're right.
Anyone can draw up a "contract" that binds two individuals together financially, economically, shared property, etc. Anyone can organize and hold an "elegant" ceremony and a reception afterwards. In fact, many gay people had marriage ceremonies --complete with wedding rings, vows, etc-- well before this issue became so heated. Many gay people have been living together for years (decades in some cases) with no need to get married. When a gay person dies, they can bequeath my belongings to anyone they want.
So, why do gays want to get "married"? Why are gays pushing the gay marriage agenda? Why do they need the marriage certificate, signed by their county, authorized by their state?
Answer: survivor (Social Security and other governmentally-provided) benefits.
If a gay person dies, their partner can't collect social security or any other type of governmental death benefit. WhY? You see, these benefits are not tranferrable.
Interestingly and quite ironically, the solution to this "problem" lies in the extremely conservative notion of privatizing social security. A topic that most gays would line up square against. Not because it couldn't solve the very reason why they "need" to be "married" (it would). Not because, as individuals, gay people couldn't look at the numbers and conclude that they would be much better off with having a private retirement account (they would). Mostly because of the factions that gay people associated themselves with: anti-Bush/anti-conservative special interest groups.
So, in large part, it is a gay person's own political pride that is preventing them from spearheading a program that would completely solve their issues about "survivor benefits".
"Was it really necessary to insist that the Geneva conventions do not apply to detainees in the war on terror?"
This article is so full of misstatements that all cannot be addressed. I just offer this one to show how disconnected Sullivan has become from reality.
Kerry will be bad for national security. In fact, given his voting record, he will be dangerous.
What you are saying is that I should give him understanding because of his peer group.
Nope. Won't do it. I also am aggravated at those who oppose Bush because they are nit-pickers on abortion, or who oppose Bush because he hasn't been a rabid pro-Second Amendment type.
Presidential elections are for choosing who is the best leader for the country. One should look at all issues, and the candidate, and say to oneself, "Who best will lead the nation?"
Sullivan is not doing this. He is saying "Who will grant me my wish?" He fails the test of a serious thinker.
The guy was caught advertising for unsafe sex (i.e., let's spread this stuff around) on the internet. His judgment's not all that great. In fact, it's downright poor.
The human male sexual craving is a very powerful thing. Many an intellectual has succumbed to its power.
He's kidding, right? I'm hardly a Bible-thumper, came late to Christianity, even tinkered with Atheism for a while, and they sure don't scare me at all. If anything, Christians believe more in your freedom than the pagan liberal (communist) Democrats. They just don't believe you have the right to kill for your own convenience someone who's not old enough or strong enough to fight back, i.e. unborn. Think the abortionists wouldn't think twice if a fetus could hold a .45?
You're right. Simply put, the gay marriage issue is the issue for Sullivan. He is in complete support of the process by which the courts will impose this bizarro-world, twilight zone vision of marriage on the entire nation. And that is as unconservative as one can get; to favor the rule of judges over self-governance.
I have to say that I certainly didn't get what I expected with Bush, and I wish we had someone who adopted more of the agenda the Republicans espoused before he took office. On the other hand, Kerry? Please. I have to think Sullivan is having a bit of fun with us here. Nobody who's seen Kerry operate can possibly expect him to live up to one word of what he says on anything whatsoever. The man's a weathervane and will turn in the direction of which breeze is strongest, with a strong spring-loaded bias toward the left direction of course.
And finally, I don't have the animosity some of you have toward gays. Most of the ones I've met are actually traditional mainstream people in the other aspects of their lives, and aren't out there trolling the parks for children or exhibiting their intimate body piercings in parades. I have no problem with the regular folks, just the real extremeists who want to impose their agenda via the courts and institutions like schools. If they'd try to attain their political aims through gradual societal consensus instead of an end-run around traditionalists, I'd respect them a lot more. (I wonder how the uber-lefties who want total diversity are going to resolve the conflict when radical Islamists whom they welcomed into society start exercising Sharia law and begin killing gays and headstrong women. That should make for an interesting rationalization.)
Andrew is first and always an adherent of Homosexualism...the religion of homosexuals.
What I do not appreciate is someone like Sullivan risking the well-being of this nation for his own personal gratification. I hold the same animosity towards the anti-immigration people who oppose Bush, simply because they want to "teach him a lesson."
We are at war. People who want their own pet causes pushed at the expense of national safety are irresponsible, in my opinion.
Least anyone forget, this is the central issue of this campaign. Anyone agreeing with this statement has a death wish for all non-Islamic civilization.
We do not need a return to normalcy. We need a major confrontation with Iran. The sooner the better.
You are correct....it wasn't the best phrase to use here..but it WAS LOL HILLARIOUS !! Oh my....