November 6, 2012, The Day Neoconservatism Died

RomneyIn the infancy of the campaign to remove President Obama from office, there stood a homogeneous blob of characters to which Americans would assuredly find a savior from the disaster that had become the Obama presidency.

The characters were numerous: Michelle Bachman, a midwestern female firebrand; Rick Santorum, a hardcore bible thumper and Pennsylvanian Catholic; Newt Gingrich, the architect of the ’92 Republican Revolution; Herman Cain, a “grassroots” African-American; Rick Perry, a Texas-style Republican reminiscent of a certain past Commander-In-Chief; John Huntsman, foreign policy expert-by-proxy; and, of course, Mitt Romney, the only hope.

Indeed, with the characters laid in this poorly constructed play, it was time for the Republican base to play their part, find their face, and send their best to the White House.

Unfortunately, they had been given a ruse and they had taken it like the greatest of chumps.

Despite the apparent depth of choice Republican primary voters seemed to face, they saw but the various masks of the same dramatis personae. Behind each visage, behind each rabble-rousing talking point, there stood but one entity gasping for one final breath; hoping for one final hurrah:

Neoconservatism.

And let me be clear by what this word means because it gets thrown around so much that I fear people may forget that it isn’t some vague, incisive label to put upon those we dislike. Neoconservatism is the ideology of Wilsonian perpetual war; of social conservatism a la Rick Santorum; of sacrificing liberty for “safety”; of centralization of power. If you’re lucky, they might pay lip service to fiscal responsibility, but, when it the time comes that it actually govern, fiscal responsibility takes a back seat and statism takes the reigns.

And it was Neoconservatism that would have the day, but it would not be without a fight. Standing in the face of this pitiful band of stale, tired candidates; in the face of these echoes of Bushism, were two men whose ideas represented not only real conservatism, the kind the Republican party of the twentieth century solidified itself upon through names like Barry Goldwater, Robert Taft, and Howard Buffet, but they also represented the only viable direction the party must go if it wished to survive.

They would scream that Mitt Romney was “our last hope.”

Yoda

Indeed, there were at least two. Ron Paul and Gary Johnson represented everything the establishment feared; everything the Republican party once was and what it could be again. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes of the Bush administration, the Republican party could have embraced the next chapter in its political evolution. It could have accepted that the 21st century was upon us. It could have chosen real conservatism. It could have won.

Alas, it did not and tragically so, for now Obama has been reelected. The blame for this lies not on the heads avaricious, do-gooder, bleeding heart, gimme gimme liberals. The fault is, and always was, the Republican Party’s own.

The Republican Party made absolutely sure that the ideology of peace, liberty, free markets, fiscal responsibility and, frankly, sanity would not be given a voice in its ranks. They made absolutely sure the world knew Republicans had a stance on social issues, even if those positions were antithetical to their pro-states, small government philosophy they pretend to promote.

While Mitt Romney and Rick Perry were arguing over who mowed Mitt Romney’s lawn, Ron Paul was expressing, with prescient wisdom, that not only is liberty right, but that it is the only way to win. The next generation does not want endless war. It does not want social despotism. It wants liberty.

Yet, like the child who believes if they close their eyes and cover their ears, then the truth can be ignored out of existence, the Republican Party did not listen. Instead, they shoved Mitt Romney down our throats. They picked the candidate who had virtually no difference with Obama. They played it safe. They, again, tried to sound like Democrats and beat the Democrats at their own game. They, again, rejected real conservatism.

Mitt Romney is Barack Obama.

Of course, Barack Obama is the worst president of the Post-WWII era. He is the antithesis of liberty. He stands against everything America was founded upon. Indeed, the entire Democratic Party has built itself as the antithesis of freedom in American politics.

Yet, they won. And they won bad.

Why? How could Barack Obama, with literally no accomplishment of note that could, by itself, ensure victory and an array of failures mounting from embarrassing to downright despotic, win this election? How, when he has reneged on nearly everything he stood for in ’08 and expanded executive powers in ways that are downright scary, was he able to win this election?  How could a Senate that has been obstructionist to nearly every end the House has presented to it simply because the House was red retain its majority while Americans have unanimously expressed disdain for the bickering children Congress has become?

Because, as Jack Hunter eloquently phrased it, the Republican Party is “stuck on stupid.”  To me, this “stupid” is more than a focus on stupid issues like Obama’s birth certificate or a global caliphate, but it is a desperate clinging to the ideas of Neoconservatism.

Just imagine, for a moment, that the Republican Party’s candidate would have been able to, point for point, call out the President on every issue.  The fact that he has deported more illegal aliens than Bush had ever dreamed; that he has continued the foreign policy of Bush and, indeed, even expanded it; that he has raided more medical marijuana dispensaries than Bush; that he has taken the exact opposite stance on civil liberties from his campaign, passing the NDAA and giving up on closing GITMO; that he literally has an “assassination list” and has assassinated an American citizen (and his 16-year-old son) via predator drone without a trial; that he has redefined “terrorist” to be any able bodied person in a hot zone.

Obama would have been destroyed. Utterly destroyed.

Yet, Mitt Romney could not call him out on these issues because he supports them.

Of course, it is not merely the Republican party’s stance on foreign policy and civil liberties issues that, unless changed, represent damnation. Maybe even more important to viability is a change in position on social issues.

Case in point: Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin opened their mouths on social issues (particularly one close to women’s hearts) and were destroyed. Mourdock, specfically, shows how damning social issues have become for Republicans, for he lost to a Democrat in Indiana.

This change in stance does not have to represent an endorsement of morals that one may disagree with, which is a point that, I think, escapes most social conservatives. I consider myself personally a conservative. For example, I don’t believe people should use drugs because they have a possibility for abuse and addiction and, I feel, do more harm than good. I believe that they can tear families apart.

How I differ from mainstream Republicans, however, is that I do not believe the state has any role over the use of drugs. This is not an endorsement of drug use, but an endorsement of each individuals right to control themselves; an endorsement of personal responsibility. I believe drugs are harmful, and would advise people to stay away from them. However, I do not want to force people from using them. This one distinction would make a world of difference.

Am I wrong? Is it not small government that lost? Am I merely grasping at straws?

Well, no, look at who did win on Tuesday: Justin Amash, Ted Cruz, Thomas Massie, Bentivolio, etc.  In short, the Republican candidates endorsed by the Liberty movement won. The “Paulite Republicans” or “libertarian Republicans” won.

Those endorsed by the establishment lost.

Indeed, Colorado and Washington even  legalized marijuana. Further proof of the changing sentiments of Americans away from the social control that the Republican party wishes to pursue.  

ConstitutionOf course, everyone else, too, is talking about how the Republican party must change. We hear of a need for demographic change. We must get latinos, minorities, etc. To do this, we are told, we must further resemble the Democrats! Never once does it creep into the minds of the Republican power players that liberty does not have a race or creed, that it is universally popular.

Ultimately, the change is not simply for a demographic change, but for an entire change on the philosophy of government. There is, and always has been, a constituency that wants liberty, smaller government, and real, constitutional conservatism. The Republican party must change on war; it must change on social issues; it must change away from simply opposing Democrats and actually stand for something. It must return to the constitution, not run from it. It must choose real conservatism. In short, it must choose liberty or the Republican party will die.

The Republican party must face it: Neoconservatism is dead.

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