Thursday, October 28, 2004

Neo-Cons and the Fracture of Conservatism

Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost is typing about the Paleo-Con/Neo-Con divide. Frankly, I don't buy it. I mean no offense to Joe. The problem is not a paleo-con vs. neo-con divide. It is a "what flavor of neo-con are we going to be" divide.

I have long thought that neo-con was a buzzword. Its a label people. It says to someone "hey you're allowed to not like this guy". I once provoked a post on GetReligion by comparing "neo-con" to "fundamentalist". Two words that few people can define, but everybody knows that they're bad when they hear them.

Is either side in the Bush/McCain split truly traditionally conservative? Traditional policy since the 60s has been much more in line with small government/big morals. This was the sort of platform the founding fathers often espoused because without strong social morality, government must fill the gaps with legislation.

In contrast to this traditional view, the Bush camp is socially conservative but fiscally liberal. The other camp (McCain/Guiliani/Cheney?) is fiscally conservative but socially liberal. Chances are neither one will work: Bush's views are too expensive and McCain's view is historically foolhardy (and has been trumpeted for years by libertarians without success).

Where did this policy come from? It came from the shuffle over to the middle antics of the Republicans as they moved towards the Big Tent in the Clinton Years. They had to leave behind some of their policies but which ones? Its still to be decided evidently.

UPDATE: Matthew Yglesias is asking what will happen to Republicans if Bush loses. The consensus is that anti-christian side will at least make a play for the limelight. I think which face the party really shows in the long run will depend on the dominant personality of the specific election though.

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