Rudy Giuliani, and the ebbing of conservatism... (updated)
Sixty years ago, Robert A. Taft was the gold standard. Forty years ago, it was Barry Goldwater, who backed Bob Taft against Ike at the 1952 convention. Twenty years ago, it was Ronald Reagan, who backed Barry in 1964. Reagan remains the paragon – for the consistency of his convictions, the success of his presidency and the character he exhibited to the end of his life. About Reagan the cliché was true: The greatness of the office found out the greatness in the man.Do you agree? I'm with Duncan Hunter in the primaries. We'll see from there. It'll likely be back to the same question that faced conservatives back in 2006... do you vote the lesser of two evils to defeat liberal socialism, or do you stand on conservative principle and either not vote (as many conservatives did in 2006) or vote for someone you know can't win to try and send a message to the failing GOP even though it will hurt big time in the short term?
Reagan defined conservatism for his time. And the issues upon which we agreed were anti-communism, a national defense second to none, lower tax rates to unleash the engines of economic progress, fiscal responsibility, a strict-constructionist Supreme Court, law and order, the right-to-life from conception on and a resolute defense of family values under assault from the cultural revolution that hit America with hurricane force in the 1960s.
With the collapse of the Soviet Empire and the breakup of the Soviet Union, anti-communism as the defining and unifying issue of the right was gone. The conservative crack-up commenced.
Gravitating now to Rudy's camp are those inveterate opportunists, the neocons, who see in Giuliani their last hope of redemption for their cakewalk war and their best hope for a "Long War" against "Islamo-fascism."
I will, Rudy promises, nominate Scalias. Only one more may be needed to overturn Roe. And I will keep Hillary out of the White House.
A Giuliani presidency would represent the return and final triumph of the Republicanism that conservatives went into politics to purge from power. A Giuliani presidency would represent repudiation by the party of the moral, social and cultural content that, with anti-communism, once separated it from liberal Democrats and defined it as an institution.
Rudy offers the right the ultimate Faustian bargain: retention of power at the price of one's soul.
sing "You Belong to Me" in The Jerk... just because:
Bill Murchison discusses the Fall of the Religious Right?:
I don't see glee oozing from between every comma in David Kirkpatrick's New York Times magazine article this past weekend on the "evangelical crackup." He's a good reporter, whose coverage of conservatives I regard as generally well balanced. On the other hand, it isn't hard to visualize street dancing and fireworks displays outside Clinton headquarters. Kirkpatrick's focus is on the glug-glug sound as evangelical enthusiasm for conservatives and Republicans drains from the tub.
No one can predict, for certain, the speed or volume of the drainage. It suffices momentarily to note the potential effects of this once-unlooked-for phenomenon. Didn't Republicans used to own the religious right? They sure did.
The evangelical miscalculation, in my judgment, wasn't getting into politics. It was expecting that the practitioners of politics -- yea, from George W. Bush on down -- had the power to scourge the devil from his fortification in the human heart. For the harder task of cultural transformation and the spreading of Truth many evangelicals have shown scant appetite. They'd rather sign petitions and pass out campaign literature.
Sorry. The Good Book contradicts that notion. Hearken, brethren, to Psalm 146: "O put not your trust in princes, nor in any child of man; for there is no help in them. Blessed is the God of Jacob for his help; and whose hope is in the Lord his God."