Sunday, February 24, 2008

Will the Rational Conservatives Please Stand Up?

Am I the only one who wonders what's happened to the GOP since it was party of the cool, calm and collected?

I remember fondly when "bleeding-heart" was the epithet always prepended to "liberal", and it was the LEFT that was notorious for emotions clouding their thought process. It's pretty hard to convince people these days that conservatism represents dispassionate reason and hard-headed logic making the tough choices that nations have to make, what with Rush and O'Reilly and Coulter shouting in people's faces all day. Their shows are really just hour-long horn-blowing confrontations. They don't have much to do with facts and figures, and that's how conservatives are supposed to think. It's all about wishy-washy feelings and images and symbols about children and flags - things which if I didn't know better I would say were normally the province of liberals! (Really Ann. If you're worried about America's men becoming too feminized, here's a man who's telling you what you need. Note: hilarious, but not work safe.)

Of course, to win minds you have to win hearts, and of course clearly-stated facts and statistics don't do that for many people. But we're conservatives who think with our brains. What we need, after the election, is hard-headed policy-making, policy beyond "what can I do to pander to the populace for next term". The guys running the GOP seem to have forgotten about that sometime in the past 10 years. This is why guys like Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize-winning economist who worked for Reagan, today has been reduced to using his considerable brainpower to attack the current sad state of the GOP. (There's a long list of quality guys who were Reagan Republicans and have now been forced to defect. And they've done so loudly. Jim Webb is another one.) Waving American flags is fine, but the hard reality underneath it all doesn't go away. If you don't understand that, please get out of the GOP, right now. You're not a real conservative.

Ignoring facts and figures in favor of feel-good heart-swelling social issues isn't helping us. It's having an impact right now. All the brilliant kids coming out of law and policy institutions at top schools - guess which party they're flocking to right now?


Steve Nizer said...

The GOP no longer has any intellectual backbone. If you don't hate gays or want to see the ice caps melt, you aren't a real Republican. If you support McCain, contact the people at blogs4mccain, they'll add you to the roll.

The young fogey said...

As likeable as Reagan was you can argue that the style-over-substance rot had set in before he got the presidency. (Put another way he was a retread New Deal Democrat not a conservative.) Real conservatism based upon principle and economic facts probably hadn't been around (until Ron Paul) since Goldwater.

And you can say the neocons have substance - but it's dead wrong.

Anonymous said...

Krugman? A rational conservative?