Skip to comments.Predicted conservative crack-up is just not happening
Posted on 04/04/2005 6:14:19 PM PDT by neverdem
HERE WE GO again. Suddenly, conservatives, libertarians and other souls of a rightish bent are pondering whether a conservative crack-up is nigh.
In their book, The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America, John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge offered some insight into what could stop the conservatives from prospering: if they became too Southern, too greedy and too contradictory.
Libertarian law professor and influential blogger Glenn Reynolds says the conservatives are aiming for two out of three of these opportunities to yank defeat from the jaws of success.
Elsewhere, the New York Posts Ryan Sager, another libertarian, laments that the Republican Party is shedding the last vestiges of its small-government philosophy by participating in such grandstanding spectacles as the baseball steroid hearings.
Andrew Sullivan, a self-described sane-moderate-libertarian-pro-life-conservative-hawk, is convinced that conservatism is simply over. He is now convinced that the GOP is really a Bismarckian enterprise run by a crew of zealots and charlatans who are immune to calls to restraint or moderation or limits on power.
Meanwhile, in private conversations, e-mail exchanges and the like, theres a level of chatter often egged on by wishful liberals that the USS Conservatism is about to founder on the rocks and that maybe itd be wise to make our way to the life rafts before its too late.
Take a deep breath, everybody.
First, keep in mind that what has prompted the most recent bout of panic is the passionate and legitimate differences over the Terri Schiavo case. Just as hard cases make bad law, they also tend to make for bad analysis. Lots of people are pointing to the fact that the polls do not support Congress decision to intervene on Ms. Schiavos behalf (even as the nature of that involvement has been often wildly exaggerated). The Republican Party has exposed itself, if these pessimists are to be believed, with a dangerous overreach that will haunt it for years.
Uh, not likely. Whatever you think of the legislative branchs involvement, its doubtful the issue will be a political albatross for the GOP any more than, say, the Elian Gonzales scandal permanently tarnished the Democrats. Indeed, recall that the Clinton impeachment drive was far more deleterious for the GOPs standing in the polls over a far longer period of time, and if that effort did permanent damage to the Republican Party, its hard to find today.
True, the conservative coalition has its share of contradictions, but thats to be expected of any growing ideological movement or political party. Franklin Roosevelts coalition included racist Southerners, progressive blacks and Jews, liberal reformers, grafters and machine bosses. These people fought a lot. They fought over policy, and they debated who really had Roosevelts support. From the 1920s to the 1950s, a debate raged around the question, Whither liberalism? Was it over? When did it die? What does it mean now?
Something similar has been going on with conservatism ever since William F. Buckley launched National Review. From the 1950s onward, various conservatives mostly, but not entirely, of a libertarian bent have predicted the movement must come a cropper from its internal contradictions. Buckley was constantly fending off assaults from ideological brigands trying to commandeer the ship of conservatism and steer it toward purer waters of religious, libertarian or anti-Communist hues. Buckley stood firm and said, no!
As conservatism blossomed in the 1980s under Ronald Reagan, some conservatives jumped ship, unwilling to accept the compromises and responsibilities of power.
In 1992, R. Emmett Tyrrell proclaimed that a great conservative crack-up was taking place before our eyes. Throughout the 1990s other conservatives made similar pronouncements, even as conservative ideas won under a Democratic President and Republican politicians inexorably claimed majority party status in this country. Personally, I dislike much of Bushs compassionate conservatism. Indeed, I find it astounding that even as Bush has moved the Republican agenda leftward in many key respects, the left has screamed all the louder about how right wing he is. But simply because I think Bush is wrong about, say, Medicare, it doesnt mean I think its a sign the conservative movement is falling apart. Lots of folks thought FDRs New Deal was a disaster at the time, and look how that turned out.
Jonah Goldbergs e-mail address is JonahsColumn@aol.com
Andrew Sullivan is a leftist and a radical gay activist who happens to agree with conservatives on the threat of terrorism and the need to confront it. On every other issue he couldn't be farther from us. He's like Christopher Hitchens without the alcohol abuse, except Hitchens is more talented.
Sullivan?s critically-acclaimed landmark book, Virtually Normal: An Argument About Homosexuality, was the first to argue for civil marriage rights for gay couples. It set the gay rights movement?s agenda for the following decade. He also is the author of Same Sex Marriage: Pro and Con and Love Undetectable: Notes on Friendship, Sex and Survival. A practicing Catholic, he has challenged the Church?s position on gay life and has written extensively on the crises in the Church.
Andrew's presentation had the clarity, eloquence and intellectual firepower one would expect from him. Boston College
Mr. Sullivan can be sure there are no disagrements between Conservative groups about Homosexual marriage rights.
I don't know about that.
I always got the impression Sullivan was a bit of a drunk too.
Does this mean Sullivan will finally go away now and quit calling himself a conservative?
Unfortunately, Andrew's got a fairly steady gig on Chris Matthews' Sunday show, as well as on some other shows, playing the MSM's pet "conservative." I'd imagine that David Gergen's plenty PO'd these days with Sullivan muscling onto his turf.
Them there homosexuals are a gettin' married, AM? When did this there happen?
Is there such a thing?
John and Adrian? Yo Adrian? A happy couple.
Thanks. Delerium seems the only refuge of leftwing losers as they construct these elaborate palaces of self-deception these days. At their lead are the dreadful EuroTrash Brits writhing in hatred and spitting Tourette-like epithets.
Who would bother to post such fare? To what end?
What was wrong about the original?
The link you posted is for the CURRENT Jonah Goldberg column, FRiend.... :-)
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.