Skip to comments.Requiem for the Right: The biographer of Whittaker Chambers and William Buckley on a dying movement.
Posted on 08/31/2009 1:54:16 AM PDT by Palin Republic
Meacham: So how bad is it, really? Your title doesn't quite declare conservatism dead.
Tanenhaus: Quite bad if you prize a mature, responsible conservatism that honors America's institutions, both governmental and societal. The first great 20th-century Republican president, Theo- dore Roosevelt, supported a strong central government that emphasized the shared values and ideals of the nation's millions of citizens. He denounced the harm done by "the trusts"big corporations. He made it his mission to conserve vast tracts of wilderness and forest. The last successful one, Ronald Reagan, liked to remind people (especially the press) he was a lifelong New Dealer who voted four times for Franklin D. Roosevelt. The consensus forged by Buckley in the 1960s gained strength through two decisive acts: first, Buckley denounced right-wing extremists, such as the members of the John Birch Society, and made sure when he did it to secure the support of conservative Republicans like Reagan, Barry Goldwater, and Sen. John Tower. This pulled the movement toward the center. Second: Buckley saw that the civil disturbances of the late 1960s (in particular urban riots and increasingly militant anti-Vietnam protests) posed a challenge to social harmonies preferred by genuine conservatives and genuine liberals alike. When the Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan called on liberals to join with conservatives in upholding "the politics of stability," Buckley replied that he was ready to help. He placed the values of "civil society" (in Burke's term) above those of his own movement or the GOP.
Today we see very little evidence of this. In his classic The Future of American Politics (1952), the political journalist Samuel Lubell said that our two-party system in fact consists of periods of alternating one-party rulethere is a majority "sun" party and a minority "moon" party.
(Excerpt) Read more at newsweek.com ...
That's OK. WE'RE BACK.
["An excerpt from Buckley's forthcoming book, Flying High: Remembering Barry Goldwater, entitled, "Goldwater, the John Birch Society, and Me" was published in the March 2008 issue of Commentary magazine, which openly calls itself "the flagship of neoconservatism."
The article is a candid description of Buckley's meeting with members of Senator Barry Goldwater's pre-presidential exploratory campaign team in 1962, and of National Review staffer Russell Kirk's attempts to get Goldwater to renounce The John Birch Society. The very liberal New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller had urged Goldwater to do the same, and, for his efforts, was almost drowned out at the podium at the 1964 Republican Convention by a hearty chorus of boos coming from the galleries! To his credit, Senator Goldwater delivered his famous "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice" speech, largely as a rebuke to Rockefeller.
Though the Times now credits Buckley for the conditions making Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential nomination possible, it was Robert Welch and The John Birch Society that did the spadework that made that happen, and Senator Goldwater knew it. Buckley talked like a conservative, but his neocon philsophy was much closer to Rockefeller's than to Goldwater's."] -Warren Mass
I would take anything Jon Meacham writes with a huge grain of salt. I don’t know anyone who still reads Newsweek either (all six pages of it).
There was a good dissection of the Tanenhaus book posted here on FR. I read it yesterday.
Is conservatism dead?
Anybody who considers Teddy an example of unmixed conservatism is more than a little confused.
Taft, perhaps. Not TR.
It’s very telling that the Demonrats always have to lie about who they are. The public is always more conservative in views when actually laid before them on issues and yet falls for the lying masquerade of the Demonrats. So let them be so bold to claim conservatism is dying or close to dead, but it’s coming from people who never deal in reality.
Never mind Meacham, Sam Tanenhaus is the real issue here.
This New York Times Book Review editor is alleged to be ‘a smart conservative.’
Facts on record do not support this.
Tanenhaus is a Rockefeller, cocktail conservative at best:
[”We were having a drink in a crepuscular bar on a warm summer evening in one of the hotel watering holes in the West 40s, between Grand Central Station and the old New York Times building, not far from the old offices of The New Yorker. It was a good place to meet and talk about Tanenhauss new book, The Death of Conservatism.”]
Tanenhaus is with the NRO RINO attacking Palin. They are very jealous of her success stopping ObamaCare with a Facebook posting:
[”On MSNBC Friday, anchor John Harwood spoke with New York Times Week in Review editor Sam Tanenhaus about the health care debate, wondering: “...you know an awful lot about the patron saint of modern conservatism William F. Buckley. What do you suppose Bill Buckley would think of the nature of the arguments that are being made against the Obama health care plan right now, death panels and all the rest?”
Harwood, hosting the 2:00PM ET weekly New York Times Edition broadcast, was asking about Tanenhauss upcoming book, The Death of Conservatism. Tanenhaus argued: “Well, you know, one of the great contributions Bill Buckley made to conservatism was to move it toward the center. And one way he did that was to repudiate in a very forceful way what was then called the lunatic fringe.”
At that time, Harwood interjected: “The John Birch Society.” Tanenhaus continued: “And they werent necessarily a dangerous group, but what they did was discredit serious conservative arguments.” He then made the comparison to the current health care debate: “...and we may see in the days ahead where serious responsible Republicans and conservative thinkers say if theyre going to make a forceful argument the country can accept, theyll have to cut themselves off from this more extreme view.”]
Most telling is that Tanenhaus, like his fellow cocktail sipping nancy boys, DOESN’T GET PALIN.
[”Ms. Palins emergence as a national candidate was itself the outcome of tension within the party. Mr. McCains top choices were said to include Tom Ridge, the former governor of Pennsylvania and Mr. Bushs first director of homeland security, and Senator Joseph I. Lieberman. Each was an experienced and prominent official. Each had established his strong loyalty to Mr. Bush, the partys unrivaled leader. But both were also deemed insufficiently conservative by the partys rank and file, and so were passed over. Mr. McCains inability to assert his will in this crucial matter was a clear sign of party fractiousness. And the sudden, dramatic emergence of Governor Palin — and the controversy that instantly greeted her candidacy — created the impression that Republican strategists had acted without the careful planning that had characterized their previous campaigns.”]
Just like WFB's National Review did to the John Birch Society.
'Sure you mean well, but you make us look bad' is the argument once again being deployed against social conservatives.
'We mustn't offend Liberals with nasty talk of death panels and national socialism, or they won't vote GOP' is their logic.
Thanks for that link. It’s an excellent critique, as opposed to this Newsweek nonsense.
Newsweek won’t be in business next year.
John Birch Society were "social conservatives"? How so?
BTW, Welcome to Free Republic.
JBS opposition to Communism is cultural in origin.
It was founded by Christians to defeat their greatest cultural enemy, godless Marxism.
The JBS was named after John Birch, a United States military intelligence officer and Baptist missionary in World War II, who was killed in 1945 by supporters of the Communist Party of China.
The problem is that their strategy of lying actually works. They get elected and they take over education and the airwaves and they implement all sorts of other programs that shift the country a little bit further to the left.
Here a week and your mission is to generate the meme that equates and identifies Palin supporters with Birchers ?
Tanenhaus sounds like a typical east-coast lib who thinks what's popular in Manhattan is what American really thinks. Little does he know. America is far more conservative than he realizes. Even most die-hard Dems I know (like my parents) are very socially conservative. I find it nothing short of amazing that these libs believe that most of America thinks the way they do. He's finding that out now that they don't.
They have a need to be the “anointed” conservatives, centered in their northeastern intellectual centers. It must be because they’ve politically been so successful there.
The regular wing of the Republican Party ousted the Birchers because many of them were nuts. That’s why. Not because they were social conservatives. The Birchers had among other things declared Eisenhower to be a member of the communist conspiracy. Now I defy you to say that’s not being nuttier than a box of walnuts.
He lauds Obama and praises the Pelosi-Reid socialized medicine scam while completely ignoring the fact that Obama's favorability ratings have gone into the toilet faster than any those of any newly elected president of modern history and that Democrats in Congress are setting themselves up for a 100 seat turnover in 2010 to the party that he says is just about extinct.
He really thinks the rapidly growing citizen resistance to the Democrats' corrupt and suffocating big government initiatives is a fringe movement.
Perfect. Thanks for linking this. I missed it the first time round.
I’ve read Witness several times. It’s still ponderous and murky (I’m tempted to say “rumpled”), but somehow it’s also comforting, inspiring, and a book you don’t mind reading again in a few years.
They can keep their beltway, elitist, snob attitude because the ENTIRE COUNTRY except where they frequent is SICK OF RINOS! Their candidate, John McCain LOST and would have lost even worse if it hadn't been for Sarah Palin. So, guess who is the 'lunatic fringe' in flyover country?!
Tanenhaus’s biography of Whittaker Chambers is truly outstanding. Also excellent, but getting somewhat dated is Allan Weinstein’s Perjury: The Hiss-Chambers Case.