The split in the Republican Party used to be between 'mainstream' Republicans (we used to call them 'Rockefeller Republicans') and 'conservative' Republicans like Goldwater and Buckley. Then along came Reagan and the mainstreamers eventually disappeared.
But in the wake of the election a new split has appeared between the loony conservatives (the Pauls, Santorum, Bachmann, et. al.) and what I call the responsible conservatives. The loonies basically argue amonst themselves, trying to figure out when Armageddon's going to occur. The responsible conservatives recognize that they have to live in the real world, a world that really does have global warming, immigrants, people of color, etc. So they are willing to accept some compromises as long as they don't stray from 'core' conservative beliefs.
Want an example of how full of shit they are? Read below the squig.
Here's the latest nonsense from a responsible conservative, John Podhoretz, wriring in a responsible conservative rag called Commentary. Like everyone else who voted for Romney and then discovered that a won had become a loss, Podhoretz defines the Bomber's victory as a well-managed campaign that targeted specific groups (women, students, young voters) and promised each group this and that in order to win their vote.
Add all of these targeted appeals together, and toss in Obama’s extraordinarily harsh and biting attacks on Mitt Romney over the course of the summer of 2012 as a heartless and vicious vulture capitalist hiding the dreadful extent of his wealth in tax returns he refused to release—$100 million was spent on this message in Ohio alone—and you have what may have been the smartest and most effective political campaign of our lifetime.
Now I happen to think that the attacks on Romney's Bain record were, in fact, pretty mild, but that's beside the point. The Republicans all believe that this is what did Romney in. After all, everyone knows that the Democrats hate capitalism, right? But let me get back to my main point.
So what should the Republicans do to rebuild their party? They should, according to Podhoretz, remind everyone that
for decades, conservative thinkers have been making powerful and effective arguments in relation to domestic policy about how to reduce perverse incentives in every aspect of American life.
Now I don't know about anyone else, but I have been reading conservative thinkers for forty years, starting with Podhoretz's father Norman and Bill Kristol's father Irving, and I have yet to come across a single powerful or effective argument from any of them. In the 50s, their notion of a domestic agenda was built on a defense of McCarthyism. In the 60s, they ranted against the anti-War movement. In the 70s they trotted out Podhoretz's wife Midge Decter to go after feminism, In the 80s they threw up all over themselves thanking God for Ronald Reagan. In the 90s they celebrated the triumph of capitalism and the collapse of the Soviet Union. And they ushered in the new century by whooping for joy when they Israelis kicked the shit out of the Palestinians and we tried to kick the shit out of the Iraquis.
And don't think, by the way, that the arrogance and full of shitness of these responsible conservatives is limited to their reading of the past. Here's Podhoretz's parting shot about the role that responsible conservatives will play in the future:
Conservatism has the means and the arguments and the vision to discuss the future of America and the world in terms that speak to the needs of everyday Americans.If this is the best, most cogent statement that a responsible conservative can make about the future of Amrican politics, then we're in for a long, liberal ride. Go 2014.