Skip to comments.Is Conservatism Dead?
Posted on 01/05/2009 5:38:42 PM PST by rabscuttle385
The rise of the neoconservatives within the GOP has not only discredited the Grand Old Party but tarnished the image of conservatism.
The Republican party suffered an overwhelming electoral defeat this past November. The establishment media were all too quick to proclaim that conservatism is dead and we're now at the dawn of a liberal age. Peter Beinart, Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy for the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), wrote in Time magazine that we are facing the dawn of a "new liberal order."
In making this proclamation, Beinart overlooks the fact that the public was not voting for President-elect Obama, but rather against Republicans like John McCain and George W. Bush. But what was it that Bush and the Republican Party have come to symbolize? Bush and McCain both stood for an activist foreign policy of globally spreading democracy, never-ending commitments of nation building, open borders at home, record deficit spending, circumventing the Constitution, expanding domestic welfare programs, and nationalizing the financial sector.
Conservative South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford wrote in a CNN commentary that "Republicans have campaigned on the conservative themes of lower taxes, less government and more freedom they just haven't governed that way. America didn't turn away from conservatism, they turned away from many who faked it."
(Excerpt) Read more at thenewamerican.com ...
Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin wrote, "For all intents and purposes, conservatism as a national movement is completely and thoroughly dead. Barack Obama did not destroy it, however. It was George W. Bush and John McCain who destroyed conservatism in America."
David Boaz of the libertarian CATO Institute explains that Bush "delivered massive overspending, the biggest expansion of entitlements in 40 years, centralization of education, a floundering war, an imperial presidency, civil liberties abuses, ... and finally a $700 billion bailout of Wall Street that just kept on growing in the last month of the campaign. Voters who believed in limited government had every reason to reject that record."
These modern Republican policies have nothing to do with traditional conservatism, but have much more in common with big-government liberalism. So how did politicians claiming to be conservatives end up acting like big-government liberals? The explanation lies in understanding the rise of neoconservatism, which has come to define modern conservatism and the GOP.
Ironically it was the Libs that where right all along about Neocons. Neocons are Washingtonian elitists.
Only in Washingtonia. The Washingtonian’s days are numbered.
Republicanism dead, Conservatism alive and well!
I love and live conservatism, in a libertarian sort of way as much as anyone, but sadly I believe it is dead on a national level.
The stupid, public school educated masses that have the intellect of a grapefruit aren’t compatible with conservatism. It’s too hard for them. The liberal media tells them what to think, what to believe in, and how to vote. Combine that with the tens of millions of illegals that have no core belief in the greatness and traditions of our country, and you are looking at a dead conservative movement. I’ve barely scratched the surface here with regard to what we are up against. Conservatism is under attack from all sides, and there is no great conservative leader to counter it all.
The attacks of 911 was 7 short years ago, and we just elected Hussein for God’s sake!!! I needn’t say more......
Not in my house!
Bush and McCain are not Conservatives... nor could they be remotely described as neo-conservative, either.
The best description to tag them would be quasi-liberal. IE - just one calorie, almost liberal enough... for the Democrat party.
Quite true. But that's because they were brothers separated by only one more thing to spend money on.
Very nice summary. It amazes me that even the parents don't care that their children are ignorant!
Also, I fear that any glimpses of conservatism that make resurgences will be faux conservatism.
Not in my house either.
According to the so-called “Conservative intelligensia,” the “inside the beltway Conservatives,” the MSM “Conservative pundits,” the Kathleen Parker’s, George Will’s, Peggy Noonan’s and David Brook’s, the “McCain wing” of the Republican Party, and the “Ailse crossers”...
OF COURSE Conservatism is dead! Because they WANT it to be.
They would rather be a minority in a Marxist state than have a seat at the table in a Conservative, Constitutional Republic.
In reality, Conservatism is not dead, nor does it sleep. But about now it’s beginning it’s “trial by fire.” It will be interesting to see how Conservatives come thru this trial.
Silly article but the fact is, IMHO, we have to decide what a “conservative” is, or we will keep getting our butts kicked.
Is a “conservative” one on the basis of their economic, or their social policy? Someone vehemently against abortion, gay marriage and sexual ‘education’ in the schools might still support massive social programs and government intervention in the private sector in the name of morality. Someone against government spending for social programs, intervention in the economy, the attempts of muslims to integrate Sharia law, and who insists on a balanced budget might not think of America as a ‘Christian Nation’, care one whit about abortion or consider gay marriage any issue at all.
Is the Republican party going to be one of fiscal conservatism, social conservatism, both or neither? Not that the Democrats are doing much better, their Achilles heel is in the churches - concern about abortion and the disintegration of the family are a huge weakness in the coalition that elected Obama, and the gun control issue often results in Democrats shooting themselves in the foot in areas with demographics favorable to them.
The party that best defines itself will win the next election.
Just a cranky .02
“Republicanism dead, Conservatism alive and well!”
Of course the earth is still flat.
I think you're right.
Amazing << Hear this. Feel this, and tell me that this isn't music.
Is a conservative one on the basis of their economic, or their social policy? Someone vehemently against abortion, gay marriage and sexual education in the schools might still support massive social programs and government intervention in the private sector in the name of morality. Someone against government spending for social programs, intervention in the economy, the attempts of muslims to integrate Sharia law, and who insists on a balanced budget might not think of America as a Christian Nation, care one whit about abortion or consider gay marriage any issue at all.Good points. But what about the foreign policy questions mentioned in the article.
Can you be a fiscal conservative and support the original intentions of the Iraq Invasion, going after WMD? I think so, but others might disagree.
What about the same question asked of social conservatives?
And then change the question again. What if it's not about WMD but building a democratic state in the midst of the Arab world to try to change the world into a more favorable place for American interests?
Certainly many fiscal and social conservatives disagree with that war. But then there are many who agree with it.
It's hard to bring all these opinions together under one Republican label, let alone one Conservative label.
I very much agree. Obama won on hatred of all things W, nothing else, and that was manufactured. There is no way to have any sort of national dialog if those who believe in traditional social roles of men, women, family, marriage and religion cannot articulate why this is good. Limited government, a strong and technologically advanced military -what does this mean and entail. What is a "fair" tax and what is not? None of this is explained well by those who appear on the Sunday talk shows and until it is, we let the other side define us, and that is not going to win any battles.
I am an Independent American. And I belong to the Independent American Party.
Sure, that’s a great definition but we do have a Constitution Party and they did win a huge percentage of the vote in the last election, didn’t they?
No. Unfortunately it’s more complicated than that. You make it sound easy but it’s not easy.
Conservatism isn’t dead.
But this “reach across the aisle” bullsh*t probably is....unless of course, anyone actually likes being the tiny minority...
Send treats to the troops...
Great because you did it!
I don't know why its taking so long for the facts to sink in.
Probably because our leftist press doesn't want to raise the alarm.
Since 1919, we have now enfranchised all of the groups that the Founders (looking to history and why Republics fail) warned us against; non freeholders, women, children under 21, felons, and imbeciles.
This has been accomplished via constitutional amendment and Motor Voter, with groups like ACORN thrown in for good measure.
Coupled with a national press operating as a public relations and propaganda machine for the socialists (not hard to imagine an outraged media broadcasting 24/7 if a GOP POTUS elect wouldn't produce his BC) , it should be no surprise that the likes of this creature HUSSEIN OBAMA could get enough votes to win and every branch of the government is now controlled by socialists.
THE REPUBLIC IS DONE.
THE FALL IS IN PROGRESS.
THERE IS NOTHING THAT CAN BE DONE WHILE THESE GROUPS HAVE THE VOTE.
IS ALL OVER BUT THE SHOUTING.
We need to get all true conservatives together no matter what they call themselves, form a real conservative party and take back our country. We need to start a movement to do this NOW. It will take some doing, but, it can be done and Freepers are just the ones that can get the ball rolling.
I do like the cut of your jib. RESTORE the Constitution. What a novel concept. I’ve been saying that for YEARS. Shrink FedGov to its Constitutional size and let the outraged screams fall where they may!
Will Neo-Conservatism Die For Compassionate Conservatisms Sins?
Paul Mirengoff, Examiner Contributor
President Bush will leave office with an approval rating of under 30 percent, and the Republican Party is not faring much better. In the past two elections, it has shed more than 50 House seats and more than a dozen Senate seats.
The conservative label, though, does not appear to have taken much of a beating. On Election Day 2008, exit polls showed that more voters still identify themselves as conservatives than as liberals.
Conservatives can thus spare themselves the kind of re-branding liberals felt compelled to attempt earlier in the decade when they dubbed themselves progressives. Precisely what is progressive about protecting the regime of Saddam Hussein, protecting public schools from meaningful competition, and refusing seriously to consider entitlement reform was never clear.
Conservatives will not absorb much blame for the Bush administration for the excellent reason that this administration was not particularly conservative. It was Bush, after all, who created a drug entitlement program, worked with Ted Kennedy to create a more nationalized education policy, declined for years to veto any spending programs, and doled out hundreds of billions in bailouts.
But with the nation mired in an economic slump and still engaged in two wars, some ideology must take the fall. Accordingly, a scapegoat has been lined up: Neo-conservatism.
Neo-conservatives make convenient fall guys. They have long been despised by the left for having defected from their ranks, albeit decades ago, and even more unforgivably, for being right about the Cold War. And as former leftists, neo-cons have never been viewed warmly by certain elements of the right. Meanwhile, mainstream conservatives are just relieved to see the finger being pointed away from them.
But is it fair to blame neo-conservatives for what went wrong in the Bush administration? The question turns on whether neo-cons were responsible for the policies that caused the administration to go astray.
This was not the case domestically. Rightly or wrongly, the Bush administration will be blamed for the recent economic downturn. But no neo-conservative policy contributed to our current economic woes.
Neo-conservatism was born in part as a reaction against the social experimentation associated with the Great Society and the cultural turmoil associated with the 1960s. It was hardly neo-conservative, then, to promote home ownership for low income families by inducing lending institutions to make unsound loans. Neo-conservatives have never favored lowering standards to benefit a particular group.
Some attribute the current crisis to lax regulation or de-regulation. Whatever the merit of this view, it has nothing much to do with neo-conservatism. Neo-cons tend to focus on social and cultural issues, avoiding the intricacies of regulatory matters.
Even before the current economic crisis, Bush had encountered harsh criticism from traditional conservatives for, among other reasons, creating a prescription drug entitlement, supporting eventual citizenship for illegal aliens, and failing to control federal spending. None of these policies or practices was part of the neo-conservative agenda.
Bushs domestic policy was dominated not by neo-conservatism but by compassionate conservatism. Compassionate conservatives believe, in Bushs words, that when somebody hurts, the government has got to move, but that the government should act less through its bureaucracies than through alternative private mechanism.
By contrast, neo-conservatives perceive no general imperative for government remedial activity. For them, the best reforms are usually ones that limit the governments capacity to do harm. Welfare reform (implemented with the help of Bill Clinton) and the end of governmental race preference programs (opposed by George W. Bush) come to mind.
But perhaps neo-conservatives led Bush astray in the realm of foreign policy. Neo-cons certainly favored the invasion of Iraq. But so did 77 U.S. Senators among whom only Joe Lieberman might answer to the description of neo-conservative (and only as to foreign policy).
The primary advocates of invading Iraq were Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, neither of whom had ever been considered a neo-conservative. And the primary reasons behind the decision to topple Saddam Hussein were not neo-conservative ones.
The most commonly articulated reason the threat posed by the WMD nearly everyone believed Saddam possessed did not stem from neo-conservatism, but rather from the more general concept of self-protection, coupled with faulty intelligence.
Vice President Cheney reportedly was motivated by the desire to demonstrate the price of supporting or harboring terrorists. This desire is not distinctively neo-conservative. Rather, it is rooted in old-fashioned militaristic American nationalism.
The neo-conservative moment occurred after the invasion, when the U.S. decided to promote democracy in Iraq. The sentiment in favor of this approach was hardly unique to neo-conservatives. The liberal pundit Thomas Friedman favored essentially the same approach under the we broke it, we own it theory. Even the more radical Paul Krugman warned against simply imposing a strong man in Iraq and washing our hands of the situation.
Nonetheless, a democratic post-war Iraq can fairly be viewed as a neo-conservative (and a compassionate conservative) project. But was this project a mistake?
The answer depends in large part on how the alternatives would have worked out. One alternative was to leave. But in this scenario, key parts of Iraq might well have fallen under Iranian domination, while other portions could easily have disintegrated into something resembling Afghanistan under Taliban rule.
Another alternative was to back a strong-man. But given the Sunni-Shiite divide, this course might have produced an all-out civil war.
The democracy project came pretty close to producing a civil war, too. But in hindsight, this seems to have been due to mistaken decisions about troop levels and anti-insurgency strategy. These flawed decisions were not neo-conservative ones. In fact, prominent neo-cons were among the early advocates of the surge that seems finally to have brought us success.
Even success in Iraq would probably not rescue neo-conservatisms good name, however. The movement has made too many influential enemies, and the hostile narrative is already in place. Would anyone like to join the neo-progressive movement?
Sunday Reflection contributor Paul Mirengoff is a lawyer in Washington, D.C., and a principal author of Powerline.com.
well we are a right little ray of sunshine aren’t we. optimism is a good thing, try some, you’ll like it.
The same question was asked in 1992. It’s damaged, but not destroyed.
Conservatism dead? THEY “HOPE”....
Prove me wrong.
Social conservatism isn’t dead. It still is practiced by frugal, conscientious, family oriented folks across the land. Political Conservatism is dead. Government is too big, the media to powerful, the public too lazy, the schools to indoctrinated. Talk to anyone under 25 who is not serving in the military and you will hear the same demagoguery about the annointed one. I fear our time is passed my friend.
You completely misjudge my generation. I know many others under the age of 25 who are disgusted with the current political situation.
“Is the Republican party going to be one of fiscal conservatism, social conservatism, both or neither?”
The third leg must be added: National Security.
Reagan convinced the voters that he represented enough of ALL THREE legs, for them to select him twice and in sort of carryover mode, GHW Bush once and GW Bush twice.
Throughout those five terms clearly the GOP stood for better policies on ALL THREE legs, most of the time.
If the GOP wants back in the game, they simply have to advocate and support better policies on ALL THREE legs.
The wheels sort of fell off under GW Bush.
The GOP doesn’t need to rid itself of anybody; it needs to restate and simply support conservative policies.
Conservatives outside the GOP stand no chance, except patting each other on the back for attention. Third party votes are wasted votes, IMO.
My younger brothers aren’t Obama-Kins either.
I see a lot of apathy, my brothers didn’t vote.
I’m sure there are manym but we face a permanent minority, pariah status in the media, scorn from acedemia and disdain from urban elites. I hope I’m wrong. I hope the midterm elections show Republicans taking back seats. I also hope libs realize their party is corrupt and dysfunctional, but I’m an optimist.
These re people who think that Buckley and NR was a CIA plot.
I suppose you are right.
Conservatism is only dead to republicans. The GOP is dead.
Yea, it's just too freakin' bad we didn't have an alternative choice.
Oh, we did?
Then why the H-E-double-toothpicks did we nominate McCain?
Is it because the neo-cons now run the party?
Uhh...yes, they do.
Oh, well, at least the insiders will have to start afresh with a new administration.
Oh, they really won't?
Oh, you mean it's the same damned people, just with a different letter after their name?
I guess that's why we are so screwed, isn't it?
Actually, I think we all know what it means to be conservative, but the sad fact is that we (as a group) are also shamefully ignorant.
It is not at all difficult to find genuine, patriotic conservatives; this forum is full of them. And there are plenty more out there in general public land as well.
It's just that we are so darned ignorant that we will continue to nominate quasi-conservative globalists for public office, as if maybe THIS time, things will finally work out in our favor.
The joke is on us AGAIN just like ol' Charlie Brown trusting Lucy AGAIN to hold the ball for him.
Actually, what they (the neo-cons and new party bosses) are bargaining for is a SEAT at the table of a Marxist government, rather than WORKING for a conservative, Constitutionalist government.
Now that's just CRAZY talk, sir.
Get real, and vote for the next John McCain!