September 10, 2004

FOR WANT OF A LUNATIC FRINGE MAJORITY STATUS WAS GAINED:

Dude, where's my party? (Alex Gourevitch, 9/09/04, Spiked)

[T]his lineup was a curious one. Giuliani, McCain, and Schwarzenegger are all party outsiders, and each holds unorthodox, liberal political opinions on issues like gay rights and abortion at odds with the highly conservative Republican Party platform. Add Zell Miller, who gave a speech at Bill Clinton's nomination in 1992, and some less noted speakers, like Mitt Romney, the liberal Republican governor of Massachussetts, and one hardly has a representative sample of Republican party views.

It was somewhat startling to see Bush and Cheney, the ostensible champions of conservative and neo-conservative views, capping off this hodge-podge lineup. One was left with the feel that the Republicans are somewhat embarrassed and defensive about their 'real' views, and feel the need for outside help. Lacking the confidence unflinchingly to reassert the culture wars, they seem to have fallen back on organized paranoia and a shabby, militarised crisis politics. They have substituted fear for an assertive party program, and any popular politician they can get for a show of party unity.

The lack of party unity has plagued the Republicans for a number of years, but become pronounced since the Bush administration took office. Over the past years there have been major defections of significant Republican constituencies. Pat Buchanan and the traditional, nativist conservatism he represents left the Republicans and joined the Reform Party in 1999, breathing new life into it by becoming its 2000 presidential candidate. Buchanan's magazine The American Conservative was launched in direct response to the rise of neo-conservatism, and has been one of the most persistent critics of the 'new American Empire'.

Another traditionally Republican constituency, libertarians, has also grown increasingly disenchanted with Bush's anti-libertarian domestic security program as well as his military adventurism. Reason magazine, arguably the most significant libertarian publication, was highly critical of the war, as were various members of the CATO Institute, a libertarian think-tank. Jacob Hornberger, James Bovard, and other members of the libertarian Future of Freedom Foundation, have inveighed against the administration, declaiming its 'betrayal' of former party ideals. Some have noted that 'in their treatment of the Bush administration, Attorney General John Aschroft, the Iraq war, and the Republican leadership, the libertarian magazines...read much more like the Nation than conservative outlets like the Weekly Standard'. There are suggestions that libertarians are voting with their feet, unwilling to vote for Bush in 2004.


What profit it a Party if it gains the White House, Senate, House, Courts, and State Houses but loses the nativists, libertarians, and isolationists?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 10, 2004 12:11 PM
Comments

Pat Buchanan and the traditional, nativist conservatism he represents left the Republicans and joined the Reform Party in 1999, breathing new life into it by becoming its 2000 presidential candidate.

Ah, yes, "landslide Pat" and the formidable Reform juggernaut. I can't wait for their 2004 convention (it'll be on all three major networks in prime time!) when they nominate . . . ah . . . no, wait, it'll come to me . . . uh . . . darn darn darn darn darn, I can't think of his name, but he's a real threat to Bush, whoever he is.

Posted by: Mike Morley at September 10, 2004 12:32 PM

Hygiene?

Posted by: luciferous at September 10, 2004 12:53 PM

There were no "neo-cons" speaking at the convention. There was a distinct absense of "neo-cons".

Posted by: J.H. at September 10, 2004 12:59 PM

Besides McCain--their choice for president in '00--and Cheney--their main benefactor in government.

Posted by: oj at September 10, 2004 1:08 PM

J.H.

They were all in the backrooms working things out with the oil cartel.

Posted by: Peter B at September 10, 2004 1:10 PM

What profit it a Party if it gains the White House, Senate, House, Courts, and State Houses but loses the nativists, libertarians, and isolationists?

Everything?

Posted by: Benjamin at September 10, 2004 2:27 PM
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