Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Reactionary Republicans

Jeffrey Lord
The only thing GOP moderates have to fear: Can they get over FDR?

You can call them The Reactionary Republicans.

Or, if you prefer, The Collectivist Conservatives.

Whether in the media or think tanks or elsewhere, they are out there to carry water for the oldest and stalest of thread-bare political arguments, desperately trying to make the idea of eagerly reacting to liberals and liberalism a shiny new idea all over again.

Over at the Washington Post, the wonderfully misrepresented “conservative” columnist Jennifer Rubin believes conservatives should ditch Reagan for Franklin Roosevelt.

At the Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Peter Berkowitz is out with his rule book for Gerald Ford Republicans.

While over at MSNBC ex-Republican Congressman-turned-morning-talk show-host Joe Scarborough (as detailed here by Sean Hannity and the Media Research Center’s Brent Bozell in a Hannity Media Mash segment) prattles on with the liberal line on everything from gun control (he’s for it) to talk radio (he’s against it).

All three — and by no means are they alone — are following the age-old path that has been trod by Republicans of moderate stripe from Herbert Hoover to the Bushes. And don’t forget Alf Landon, Wendell Willkie, Thomas E. Dewey, the Richard Nixon of 1960, Ford, Bob Dole, John McCain and the ideologically mushed Mitt Romney.

The latter — who famously was an icon of “conservative” columnist Rubin (she managing the decidedly rare feat of bringing Left and Right together on the notion that she was a Romney “shill,” as and here at the Right’s Red State) — managed to carve a career where he was both for and against abortion, against Reagan before he was for Reagan, not to mention being the gubernatorial architect of Romneycare, the ideological father of Obamacare. No wonder Jen Rubin was crazy about the guy.

With all these miserably lost elections based on “moderation” you would think those who keep on keeping on with the idea of moderation that has repeatedly certified so many Republican presidential losers or closer-than-should be victories would have the decency to quietly slink off to re-think. Re-think the idea that “moderation” has anything new to contribute beyond losing presidential campaigns and what Mark Levin calls “Neo-Statist” government.

But…. Nah.

Now comes the Hoover Institution’s Peter Berkowitz to amusingly enter Republican moderation in the philosophies-of-the-ages sweepstakes, writing a book titled Constitutional Conservatism: Liberty, Self-Government, and Political Moderation.

In which Mr. Berkowitz, who has been down this road many times in various articles, insists that Big Government is here to stay, that the political moderation of conservatism “is a constitutional imperative and a demanding virtue” and that, oh by the way, Barry Goldwater, William F. Buckley, Jr. and Ronald Reagan were really moderates.

And all of this old moderation is to be laundered and tidied-up to be reborn under the new name of “Constitutional Conservatism.”

So says Berkowitz in a book that confuses timidity with moderation, resignation with political wisdom and in spite of the book’s title cannot hide the fact that what’s being presented isn’t about the constitution, much less is it about conservatism.

Where to begin?

Read the rest of the column

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