Monday, November 28, 2011

Another apostate...  

Dan Drezner, to whom I have linked occasionally, is a noted conservative foreign policy writer whose opinion I always consider, even when I disagree. Like so many others, including yours truly, he has lost the faith with what is masquerading as the Republican Party.
2)  I haven't overtly talked about my own personal political beliefs since the blog moved to FP, but this seems to be an appropriate time to bring it up and then never speak of it again.  When I've published essays like this before, I find liberals write "even conservative Dan Drezner..." while conservatives often deploy terms like "academic elitist" or "RINO." 
In my case, at this point in time,  I believe that last appellation to be entirely fair and accurate.  I'm not a Democrat, and I don't think I've become more liberal over time.  That said, three things have affected my political loyalties over the past few years.  First, I've become more uncertain about various dimensions of GOP ideology over time.  It's simply impossible for me to look at the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the 2008 financial crisis and not ponder the myriad ways in which my party has made some categorical errors in judgment.   So I'm a bigger fan of the politics of doubt during an era when doubt has been banished in political discourse. 
Second, the GOP has undeniably shifted further to the right over the past few years, and while I'm sympathetic to some of these shifts, most of it looks like a mutated version of "cargo cult science" directed at either Ludwig Von Mises or the U.S. Constitution (which, of course, is sacred and inviolate, unless conservatives want to amend it).  Sorry, I'm not embracing outdated concepts like the gold standard or repealing the 16th Amendment.  Not happening. 
Third, David Frum wrote something in New York Magazine that touches on the issues I just discussed, but also articulates something that has been nagging at me for a few years now: 
The conservative shift to ever more extreme, ever more fantasy-based ideology has ominous real-world consequences for American society. The American system of government can’t work if the two sides wage all-out war upon each other: House, Senate, president, each has the power to thwart the others. In prior generations, the system evolved norms and habits to prevent this kind of stonewalling. For example: Theoretically, the party that holds the Senate could refuse to confirm any Cabinet nominees of a president of the other party. Yet until recently, this just “wasn’t done.” In fact, quite a lot of things that theoretically could be done just “weren’t done.” Now old inhibitions have given way. Things that weren’t done suddenly are done.
Also, things that weren't said are now being said.  Or, to be more precise, things that use to be said but ignored are now being taken seroiusly by the GOP's leading lights.  Newt Gingrich endorses the notion that Obama has a "Kenyan, anti-colonial" worldview.  Mitt Romney claims Obama has been apologizing around the world and no longer believes in American exceptionalism.  Herman Cain is [Remember your mercy rule!!--ed.].... Herman Cain.  There's good, solid partisanship -- a vital necessity in this country -- and then there's unadulterated horses**t.  Too much of the GOP's rhetoric on Obama reads like the latter to me. 
So for those reasons, I really am a Republican in Name Only at this point.  And I say this for the GOP's benefit.  The next time someone writes, "even the Republican Dan Drezner has said...." GOP partisans should feel perfectly entitled to link to this post and call me a RINO.  Because it's true. [More]
There is more to foreign policy for the US than doing whatever Netanyahu wants amd ignoring the rest of the globe. But you wouldn't know it from the GOP candidates, save Huntsman and Paul.

Not my party anymore.


Gary said...

I have to agree with this article, John. I live in an ultra conservative county and although I have been active in the party I am now considered suspect because I won't go along with their present views.

Anonymous said...

Amen brother!

Steve said...

I think there is a bit more to it than the dislike of the "extremist" statements by the Republican candidates. One can find a large number of incendiary by both sides.

My suspicion is that a person leans one way or the other for other reasons and then justifies their position by cherry picking the offensive comments of the other side.

How else can you justify ignoring similarly offensive comments by people that share your political philosophies. This is true whether you are left or right.

Anonymous said...

It is the duty of public servants to look beyond partisan ideas and act for the greater good. But what leads to the greater good? We used to look to experts. However, the loss of expert credibility leaves little to temper radical views.

ND Farmer said...

In recent years I have also struggled with the philosophical right and its resulting ideology(or should that be reversed?). Efforts to govern our country will be ineffective when the right and left embrace their philosophy. The right, at this time is correct to challenge the direction our present administration, however the right also must learn to be more deliberate in their efforts to change the direction that this country has taken over the last 70 years.

Current candidates for national and local positions are subject to more scrutiny than ever before. Most if not all blogs and even print and broadcast journalism have taken positions that are untenable for the politician that realizes he or she will have to promote policy can be accepted by the right and the left.