Skip to comments.Repost: "Enough With The Neocon And Paleocon Carping—I'll Stand With George W. Bush In 2004"
Posted on 08/10/2007 8:47:56 AM PDT by Reaganesque
Like most Toogood Reports readers, I observed this year's battles within the conservative ranks with profound discomfort. In my mind, there are far too many real enemies out there to waste time and print fighting one another.
It seems that the world of conservatism has been split up between the "conservatives" and the "paleo-conservatives" or between the "conservatives" and the "neo-conservatives." Both sides present themselves as the bona fide article and the other side as the one in need of a prefix.
Personally, I just want to spit up this strife the same way the bleachers of Wrigley Field do the opposition´s home run balls. This qualifies as a "which side are you on boys" issue. It is my goal to conserve America's wonderful, non-living Constitution, and to forever preserve the personal and economic freedoms that embody our way of life. If you agree with me about these basic propositions, then you're on my side and the rest of your views are of secondary concern. Simply revering the spirit of the Founding Fathers puts you in the top 50 percent of the population on the Chap-o-meter.
Not only is an inter-journalist, inter-intellectual, conservative civil war fruitless, it is also detrimental to the nation as a whole. The country needs all of our efforts just to have a chance of mitigating the damage the culture war has wrought.
Our daily resistance may be the biggest obstacle to the federal pacman swallowing up fifty percent of the economy. We cannot afford to bicker amongst ourselves. The odds are too great. Obsessing over who said what about Taki, Buchanan, Frum, Lowry or any of the other public figures who make up the American right is counter-productive.
The neocon/paleocon debate is as bewildering as it is petty and misguided. Sadly, some conservatives now feel more comfortable with leftists than they do their own kind [I know of one who astonished me by saying that he regards the American Enterprise Institute as "The Death Star"]. Certainly, internal disagreements are to be expected, but they are trivial in comparison to accepting the positions advocated by the other side of the political spectrum. Socialism, cultural Marxism, white guilt, and radical feminism are eternal obstacles to advancing society. Other conflicts pale in importance when compared to them.
I propose that we abandon slurs like paleo-con and neo-con. Instead we should all evolve into "Logicons." The Logicon refuses to slash at the brethren who march alongside him because maintaining some level of public harmony is the only logical way in which we will succeed. Logicons realize that our fighting strength should not be diluted by internecine combat.
Much of the controversy currently centers around President Bush and whether or not one approves of his job performance. I've written here and elsewhere how much I personally admire him, but I also acknowledge that certain criticisms have been valid. Those who label him a big spender are correct in their assessments. He has not used his veto to curb the size of government and has developed a habit of hugging Ted Kennedy's voluminous appropriations.
While this is unfortunate, to pretend that Bush is not the best bet for advancing the country's interests is shortsighted. There are many conservatives out there who could do a better job of slashing outlays, but it is highly unlikely that any of them could get elected by our emotive and squishy electorate. On our side, George W. Bush "feels their pain" better than anyone. He brings in moderate voters the way my old Erie Dearie lures used to bag walleyes .
The problem is one of perspective. We can spend time complaining about steel tariffs or the administration´s pathetic capitulation on affirmative action last summer. Yes, I would have been greatly pleased if he disseminated a Michigan Law brief of his own after the decision entitled O´Connor a Known Fruitcake, but the fact is that he didn't and there´s nothing we can do about it. However, we must keep our outlook global by remembering what the alternatives are.
What would Al Gore do with affirmative action? How about Howard Dean, the neurotic would-be-king, with Al Qaeda? Makes you shudder doesn´t it? After the election, Al Sharpton would take his standup around the world as our Secretary of State and we´d hear Patricia Ireland lambasting patriarchal textbooks in her role as Secretary of Education.
In actuality, my examples really aren´t all that farfetched. The radical left has been carrying the Democrat Party since 2001 and, now, if the Democrats win, bills will need to be paid.
Rather than fantasize about an ideal future, conservatives need to think about how things can, and will, get devastatingly worse, should Bush lose. Be it Dean or Kerry or whatever burrito they decide to roll out of the Taqueria next summer, the fate of the country will be in jeopardy. By this time in 2006, there will be a foreign policy coward in every pot and a benefit check in the hands of every college drop out. Think France, think Germany, and then be grateful we have a president who doesn't spit after saying "tax cuts."
Besides, the Bush Presidency has produced many hidden benefits. His appointees may well be our salvation even though he backs obese budgets. In the latest issue of The New Criterion, we see that his appointments to the National Endowment of the Arts have had a wonderful effect. Under Dana Gioia, the agency is sponsoring Macbeth for military bases and has resurrected traditional Shakespeare at the national level [Shakespearean plays are now staged as in the days of old which means brothels and bath house scenes are no longer mandatory].
I don´t care if you insult him or trade in Karl Rove conspiracy theories, but, in November of 2004, this particular rightist is going to stand by George W. Bush just as the bumper sticker on my car promises. Our hopes for a better tomorrow rest in the White House on his bed. We must support him because heady days await and also because his reelection keeps the Democrat Party headless. Let´s proudly stand by our man as he loudly subsumes the popular positions of the left while promoting many of ours in the shadows though his judges, appointees, and minions.
By Bernard Chapin
Read the comments from fellow Freepers.
"When I began entering into the give and take of legislative bargaining in Sacramento, a lot of the most radical conservatives who had supported me during the election didn't like it. "Compromise" was a dirty word to them and they wouldn't face the fact that we couldn't get all of what we wanted today. They wanted all or nothing and they wanted it all at once. If you don't get it all, some said, don't take anything.
"I'd learned while negotiating union contracts that you seldom got everything you asked for. And I agreed with FDR, who said in 1933: 'I have no expectations of making a hit every time I come to bat. What I seek is the highest possible batting average.'
"If you got seventy-five or eighty percent of what you were asking for, I say, you take it and fight for the rest later, and that's what I told these radical conservatives who never got used to it.
~~ Ronald Reagan, in his autobiography, An American Life
Neo-con, Paleo-Con, whatever. The idea, at least to my and President Reagan's mind, is to successfully implement those programs and ideals that we think would most benefit America. If we can't get a candidate that matches up 100% to our personal definition of what a Conservative is, the answer is not to withhold our vote but to take what we can get and then work with that "flawed" candidate to get the rest of what you want. The alternative is to allow someone who is 100% opposed to your point of view to be elected President of the United States. Does that really make any sense?
So, my question to FR is this:
What is a Conservative?
Who gets to decide this?
Which is more important: To lose utterly and suffer harmful ideological and electoral setbacks, or winning a partial victory and have the ability to advance Conservatism if only slightly? Why?
I am very interested to know what people think on this subject.
So, have at it...
What do you guys think?
It’s relative, it depends on which conservative you talk to.
Very much so, apparently. So how can anyone say “you’re not a real Conservative?”
You know what they say about opinions....everyone gots one.
Wasting all on the impossible make the rest that is probable moot. There is no one left to achieve it.
There is the way things are and the way things ought to be. Deal with the first, dream of the latter...
Very true! ;-)
A Conservative is someone who believes in the value and power of the individual over the system.
Everything else we believe or do rolls right back to that core belief.
Just like belly buttons...
And a**holes ;-)
I am a Bushy.
Well put. Thanks!
I think President Hinckley put it best: Vote for the candidate who best represents your ideas of good government.
That said, one factor in deciding who to vote for should be electability. It seems silly to vote for the exact match to your political beliefs if the candidate has 0.2% chance of winning.
It's most realistic to support the guy who's near the top and matches your ideals most of the time.
Reagan wasn't great because he was perfect, but because he did most of what he did very well, and for the right reasons.
“Which is more important: To lose utterly and suffer harmful ideological and electoral setbacks, or winning a partial victory and have the ability to advance Conservatism if only slightly? Why?”
This is a no-brainer ....
The first choice leaves you worse off, minimizes any possible input you may have in the future, and emboldens your opponants - there is no such thing as a “partial loss”
As long as everyone understands that my opinion is superior, we’ll all get along.
You have to be in the game to play it......
Because the central plank that united all conservatives was smaller, less intrusive government. Our current President has expanded government as much as LBJ. He was electable and is a decent person, certainly. But he’s not conservative.
Can you get me a copy of the schedule, I want to order extra arrogance and a large latte when my turn comes around:-)
If you go for the person who is merely “electable”, you wind up with a bunch of mealy-mouthed populists who are completely unable to make an unpopular decision for the benefit of the country.
Exhibit A: The House of Representatives.
Exhibit B: The Senate.
I don’t think I have ever seen such a namby-pamby collection of outright losers than those circus geek rejects we have “representing” us... my state notwithstanding.
That, my FRiend, is what “pragmatism” gets us. I find it unacceptable.
From my experience, it's defined by each individual. Since individuals rarely agree completely, there will always be some dispute regarding that definition.
Almost every thread addressing the election confirms that even here on Free Republic, there are wildly differing views of what it means to be a conservative.
Anyone can say anything, but it doesn’t make it so, unless you are referencing a specific definition...which would make it relative.
He was a humble chap. LOL
Need to prempt..
"if it wasn't for all you damn neocons and RINOs we would even have these problems! Vote for the only "true conservative"* in the race, Ron Paul!"
Maybe that will help them out and save some bandwidth...
(please note the terms "True Conservative" and "True Conservatives" are a copyright of the Ron Paul campaign. Any use without express permission of the Ron Paul campaign is strictly prohibited)
Frankly, it doesn’t matter how one defines “conservative”. We should stand for the best policies, actions or inaction, without reference to the label. If someone wants to say that it is “liberal” to stand up for the unborn and against the moral decay of society, then damn, I guess I am a liberal. Call me what you want; what matters is doing the right thing.
Then where are are the true belivers that have been elected?
I know the list for the most part, but I still pose the question.
How do you get past this given our current situation as far as who can vote etc....
That’s why when it comes to how men believe, I don’t think there are such things as absolutes.
Does that mean a liberal could be great if he did most of what he did very well, and for (what he believed) were the right reasons?
I most confess that I voted for Bush without any reseverations, and clearly millions of others did the same. He came in on a solid wave of conservative support that included maybe ten million people who hadn’t voted in the 2000 election.
That’s why it has been so disappointing that Bush took that momentum, which had hillary waving Bibles around and talking about compromising on abortion for a month or so, and gradually started to throw it away.
No question, things would have been a lot worse if Jean Kerri and Breck Girl had been elected. But other than the two judicial appointments (after the Miers detour) Bush did surprisingly little for the base that turned out for him so powerfully. No permanent tax cuts. No sensible energy bill. Steady on Iraq, but allowing his advisers to set stupid rules of engagement, until he finally was forced to give it to Petraeus to pull out.
Sure, he was undermined by the RINOs on many of these things, but he weakly let them do it. He is a good man personally, but seems to lack understanding of what it means to take the hard decisions of a public leader—with the one exception of the War on Terror, which at least he stuck with come hell or high water, although seemingly content to do a half-way job of it.
Illegal immigration proved to be the last straw. We must continue to support him, because there is no alternative. But we also have to watch him, or he’ll do it again.
We do owe him a lot for his faithfulness to the inalienable right to life, one of the few areas where he has stood on his own principles and refused to be guided or turned by Rove & company. For that we can be very grateful.
I don’t recall claiming that I had all the answers. But I find the current FR theme of cheerleading populist Republicans more than a little alarming. I also find that the trend of voting AGAINST someone no matter the opponent even more alarming. “Anyone but Hillary” is just going to further the demolition of the conservative wing of the Republican party, because we will GET “ANYONE”. That anyone will have an (R) after his or her name and will most likely be yet another populist jerkwad (**cough cough Rudy cough**).
The Republican boat is partially steered from this website, with its goal of advancing conservative ideas, philosophy and policies among the core of the supporters. But lately anyone with an (R) after their name seems to do here. “Pragmatists” who want to “play the game” run roughshod. And yes, I find this alarming as well.
But you have a nice day. I’m not taking you to task for anything, this is just the nature of the political “game”, no?
I think single issue voters are harmful to the conservative movement. Granted, my first priority by a wide margin will be how the next POTUS can be expected to handle the WOT. Still, of nearly equal importance to me is that, if the next POTUS is elected to a second term, we could reasonably expect that he/she will be responsible for as many as 4 Supreme Court appointments. If SCOTUS gets stacked with a liberal majority, it will profoundly shape American culture for the next 50 years to the point of no return.
So, for me, the answer to the question is: A “real” conservative is one who’ll appoint constitutionalist judges to the Supreme Court.
“The Republican boat is partially steered from this website, ....”
Just how much steering is likely to be done if the populists get run off ?
You don’t get to be Captain by sulking in your cabin saying “ I told you we should have gone to Hawaii” when you’re needed on the bridge to help stay clear of the icebergs.
There are points to be made on both sides. While Bush was electable, he has certainly let us down and perhaps should have been put through the ringer more. Had the Internet been a force, perhaps Bob Dole wouldn’t have been annointed either (with disastrous consequence). You can hate our discussions here, but I suspect we will all be better off for having had them, though holding a grudge certainly has it’s drawbacks.
We will have no more of those candidates who are pledged to the same goals as our opposition and who seek our support. Turning the Party over to the so-called moderates wouldnt make any sense at all. —Ronald Reagan
“A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency, or simply to swell its numbers.
I do not believe I have proposed anything that is contrary to what has been considered Republican principle. It is at the same time the very basis of conservatism. It is time to reassert that principle and raise it to full view. And if there are those who cannot subscribe to these principles, then let them go their way.”
— Ronald Reagan, March 1, 1975
“Let us lay to rest, once and for all, the myth of a small group
of ideological purists trying to capture a majority.
Replace it with the reality of a majority trying to assert
its rights against the tyranny of powerful academics, fashionable
left-revolutionaries, some economic illiterates who happen to hold
elective office and the social engineers who dominate the dialogue
and set the format in political and social affairs. If there is any
ideological fanaticism in American political life, it is to be found
among the enemies of freedom on the left or right — those who would
sacrifice principle to theory, those who worship only the god of
political, social and economic abstractions, ignoring the realities of everyday life. They are not conservatives.”
I also think it's important we start distancing ourself from Bush. IMHO, he's been a huge disappointment, both in his breathtaking executive incompetence and in his failure to stand up for conservative principles. He justly deserves his abysmal approval ratings.
Running as pro-Bush would be the kiss of death in the general election for whoever ends up as the GOP nominee in 2008, given how much the public dislikes him. Romney has distanced himself a bit from Bush already, though not too much, which is the right strategy for the primary. You don't want to look disloyal to the party base. When he gets the nomination, he will need to draw as many distinctions between himself and Bush as possible. We cannot afford to have 2008 be a referendum on the Bush presidency, because if it turns out that way, we will surely lose. Our candidate should avoid all public appearances with the president. If possible, we should ban all members of the Bush family from the GOP convention next summer, though I realize that's probably a fantasy.
On the other hand, we can't have the GOP candidate run as Hilary light. He needs to show he's a true conservative, only of a drastically different variety than the current president.
>> I think picking someone “electable” has set back the small government conservative movement back at least 40 years.
So running someone that was not “electable” would’ve been better? I believe we’d be coming up on the end of President Al Gore’s 2nd term now, had we chosen an unelectable candidate.
How, exactly, would that be a step FORWARD for small government conservatives?
When a party receives the conservative vote regardless of the candidate, do you think that makes it more or less likely that the party will run a genuine small government conservative?
>> That, my FRiend, is what pragmatism gets us. I find it unacceptable.
Over the past 27 years, pragmatism (or pragmatic conservatism) has given us Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W. Bush instead of Jimmy Carter (2nd term), Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Al Gore, and John Kerry (reputed Vitenam veteran).
I still fail to see why “electablity” is a bad thing ... without it, you’ve got Pat Buchanan or Alan Keyes. Absolutely brilliant men (though Buchanan has some occasional weirdness) who sit at home between elections.
Maybe it's time to coin a new term for republican conservatism to lessen the confusion. I lean towards paleo myself.
Or at least strip the label of conservative from globalist republicans, possibly the neocons, who aren't necessarily for smaller government, but are more for the elimination of our borders, culture, Constitution and national sovereignty.
Yes, the globalists have been hiding behind the republican party label long enough.
Can't hardly tell the players without a scorecard anymore. Check Wiki's variety:
>> When a party receives the conservative vote regardless of the candidate, do you think that makes it more or less likely that the party will run a genuine small government conservative?
Less likely - though I do object to the premise that the Republican Party will recieve the conservative vote regardless of the candidate. For instance, if Ron Paul were the candidate, many conservatives, myself included, would be forced to find another candidate/ party to vote for.
I think a mainstream political party that is hell-bent on running a fringe political candidate will be an irrelevancy. In order to remain mainstream, you’ve got to appeal to more than the fringe of the party ... you’ve got to have appeal to capture 51% of the electoral college.
I believe a mainstream conservative - like Thompson, Romney, Hunter, Huckabee, and probably even Giuliani - will likely recieve the support of the conservative base, as well as a significant portion of the middle. A candidate who appeals ONLY to the base has no shot at victory, and, as such, would hurt the cause more than help it. I think Gingrich (not Paul) would be the best example here, because of the baggage from the Clinton years. Ron Paul doesn’t even appeal to most conservatives, he appeals to the dozens of loudmouthed libertarians throughout the country.
That’s the way a democracy (or democratic republic, in this case) works - you have to appeal to more than just the base. Otherwise you’re just Ralph Nader - a cute sideshow while the mainstream candidates campaign.
Self-identified conservatives don’t make up quite a majority in this country (though we’re closer to a majority than liberals), so compromises with moderates/ independents are the only way to make any progress at all.
Conservatives could take a lesson from liberals on the art of “incrementalism” ... they seem to have it down pretty well, chipping away at conservatism. We need to learn to chip back (like we’ve been doing on abortion, for instance). Politics isn’t an all-or-nothing game.
Ridiculous conclusions can easily be drawn when taking a comment out of context, can't they? :-)
I did not fail to notice that you didn’t answer my question (instead, opting to pose one of your own, which I answered). So, I’ll try again.
“I believe wed be coming up on the end of President Al Gores 2nd term now, had we chosen an unelectable candidate. How, exactly, would that be a step FORWARD for small government conservatives?”
I'm not running anyone off. It isn't in my power or will to do so. I am merely lamenting the fact that so many are shaking their pompoms for anyone with an (R) after their name.
I won't bore you with some allegorical story about icebergs and Hawaii. I'll give you a real life story. I doubt that it'll curl your toes or change your so called pragmatism, but it's true nonetheless.
I worked on a mayoral campaign in a suburb around here. It is a very conservative suburb, and the guy running for mayor was my former boss. He ran as a Republican, so naturally I thought from personal experience and the fact that he ran as a Republican he would behave like Republican while in office.
So I did it all. I rallied the groundpounders, I attended and documented his speeches and rallies, and attended his victory party. My guy won, and I had a hand in it. A major role in it, actually.
Well, once in office the truth came out. The only reason he ran as a Republican was because ONLY a Republican could win in that suburb. He ran the city like a liberal would... from smoking bans to tax increases, the whole liberal portfolio was at his disposal and he used it with impunity. A populist Republican.
Yes, I felt completely suckerpunched by this guy, but I got over it quickly. However, I did come away with a valuable political lesson, one that so many "pragmatists" and "Anyone But Hillarys" have yet to learn.
Naming a child "Jesus" won't make him a savior, naming a child "Mohammed" won't make him a prophet, and putting an (R) after your name won't make you a Republican.
Get it yet?
We live in a time where the most extreme views from either side, even when they are right (that is only us by the way) seem distasteful to the masses. To paraphrase Mark Twain, Ifin’ I were God, I would have a only those voters that agree with me vote. Alas this is not going to happen. 70% of those that vote spend about 30 second figuring it out. In the confines of that, to be blunt, like Reagan himself said, I’ll take 70 or 80% over nothing...
How was it out of context? It was almost verbatim from your last sentence.