The most recent polls have shown that social conservatives would be willing to put aside their ideological differences on social issues and vote for Guilliani, to “win.” This is another frightening sign that the Republican party is no longer. What do Social Conservatives have left if they abandon their values? Bush’s victory in 2000, which took the Neo-conservatives, a relatively small wing of the Republican party at the time, and made put them in charge, perhaps signals the end of the GOP, and the formation of a new, radically leaning party.
Even at a superficial glance there is a large amount of Neo-conservatism that really isn’t conservative at all. Going deeper one isn’t surprised to find that the early fathers of the neo-conservative movement, were disaffected liberals, and in some cases socialists. The increasing deficit, the possibility of endless war, the creation of new agencies of government and government programs, the most powerful executive branch in our nation’s history, the intrusion of government into individual personal rights...is beyond liberal, it’s authoritarian.
And these changes began well before 9/11. This administration used that tragedy to put into place, and to accelerate the formation of, their own agenda, pet programs, and to begin an aggressive foreign policy. I should put more emphasis on acceleration because we have undergone a radical change in our foreign policy rather suddenly. To be fair one can go back all the way to the end of WWII as the source of the end of our isolationist roots, our forays into Asia in response to the Soviets. And to the covert regime changes of the Reagan administration. However, nothing so arrogant and blatantly offensive, or in direct contradiction to our founding, as a preemptive war. We have been told that it is our duty as Americans to be aggressive in our foreign affairs but we forget what our country’s greatest leaders have told us our duty in the world should be. President Washington, our first President and one of our greatest military minds told us to “avoid foreign entanglements.” And what did our greatest general of the Second World War, the President of the 1950's, the time conservatives wish to return to, and a two term republican president say?
“All of us have heard this term 'preventative war' since the earliest days of Hitler. I recall that is about the first time I heard it. In this day and time... I don't believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn't even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing. “ ( News Conference of August 11th, 1954)
Consider also the letter from the first Republican president, and arguably our greatest leader, Abraham Lincoln to his law partner William Herndon about James K. Polk’s war against Mexico: “Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose, and you allow him to make war at pleasure.... “(Letter to William Herndon 1848). In fact these “New Conservatives” look more like the old Liberals, the early Democrats like Andrew Jackson, and James K Polk.
The Neo-conservatives have been able to hijack the republican party, partly through a series of masterful campaign strategies. But no disinformation campaign, or propagandizing can do, or has as done as much damage as the shameful historical amnesia of the populace.
The thinking has been that social conservatives have been loyal to then end with this administration out of a promise that they would be rewarded with progress in their social agenda. Yet, time and again, the Bush administration has failed on these promises. When they had an unprecedented amount of support, control over all three branches of government, the Republicans did nothing to try and overturn Roe V. Wade, and made only token efforts to add a gay marriage amendment. Instead Bush pushed for an escalation of his wars, gave himself more power, and increased spending.
I have watched two of the GOP debates so far, and both times all only one of the candidates was a Republican, in the traditional sense. I’m not sure what the others were, but they talked about such items as introducing new government programs, national ID cards, adding further power to the Presidency, and escalating our foreign interventions. The only traditional GOP rhetoric left was the promise to cut taxes, something Bush did. In fact, Bush is the only western leader in recorded history to have cut taxes during a time of war. This act was done, despite the fact we continue building a record deficit, owned mostly to China.
The only real, traditional, Republican on those stages was Rep. Ron Paul, of Texas. Paul has been ignored by the press, and ridiculed when he has been featured, despite the fact that he has a huge amount of support from the Libertarian wing of the party, as well as those who have left the GOP to join the Constitution and Libertarian parties. Pollsters are writing his success in the polls off to liberals trying to throw off the polls, but I have yet to see any proof that any liberal group is sponsoring these efforts. The fact that he is the most searched of the GOP candidates on the internet, and the one with the most subscribers of youtube also serves to discredit a liberal prank. I would mark his success down to the fact that what he is saying sounds so familiar,...states rights, free markets, non-intervention in foreign policy, strict constitutionalism.. What I have seen evidence of is blogs, and message boards, and web sites full of disenfranchised conservatives who are finally excited to see their positions represented, not exploited. And that’s what this neo-conservative movement has done. Exploited the deeply held beliefs of a movement, violating the trust of the very people who put them into power in the first place, to stay in power and further a radical agenda. And if the social conservatives do vote for Guilliani, or any of the major candidates for the GOP nomination, that exploitation will be complete. A final quote from President Eisenhower, would adequately define a Republican party devoid of it’s social conscience:
“...if a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.”
Remarks at Fourth Annual Republican Women's National Conference (1956-03-06)
(An editorial to the Dems coming soon)