Losing your political virginity

I don’t post on modern stuff because the American brain is so wasted it will forget about “the biggest thing in the world” in two weeks.  But still.

I can respect that people don’t want to vote for Trump.  That makes sense.  Stop saying “This is the last straw for the GOP,” as though the GOP suddenly betrayed conservative principles and you will go no further.

If you convinced yourself to vote for McCain or Romney and thought that was conservatism, please stop pretending you are a political virgin.  You lost that card a long time ago.

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9 comments on “Losing your political virginity

  1. Would you say Eisenhower was a conservative?

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    • Depends. I think Ike was aware of where the Military-Industrial complex was headed, and that is a point that modern-day neocons have betrayed conservatives on. But regarding his larger politics, I’m not sure.

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      • He was certainly more accepting of social security than McCain or Romney. Which illustrates that the conservative movement is a recent and radical development, rather than a continuation of an older politics.

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    • Christian says:

      I don’t know if it is quite accurate to say that McCain or Romney are “less accepting” of Social Security compared to Ike, perhaps especially McCain. The fiscal situation and demographics are much worse today compared to 60 years ago and the future of the program is much less secure without some significant modification one way or the other. Ike disappointed traditional Robert Taft type conservatives (as well as National Review types) because he didn’t try to undo the New Deal. But that would have been very difficult to do even if he had wanted to. (Reagan didn’t really try to take on that or the Great Society either but actually raised Social Security taxes.) But the postwar Conservative movement owed as much to classical liberalism as it did to conservatism. Until then, conservatism wasn’t generally seen as being synonymous with laissez faire and supply side economics.

      With regard to the definition of conservative, Ike certainly doesn’t seem to have described to the messianic utopian Wilsonian interventionist foreign policy that the Bush types do. I’d argue that that’s actually a form of progressivism, not conservatism. Many of the kind of people who espouse it (or their fathers) were Democrats until the Dems on the national level decided to switch to identity politics in the 70s. And some of them were former reds (Trots.) Ike’s policy was containment, not WWIII. For example, he didn’t do anything when the Hungarians overthrew the government in 1956 and were then crushed by the Russians. But what could he have done realistically? The historian John Lukacs (certainly no neocon) faults him and John Foster Dulles because he argues that they could have “ended” the Cold War after Stalin died. But I don’t know how valid that is despite the fact that Lukacs is generally realistic about such things.

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      • Christian says:

        “Conservatism” is not entirely new. Although there are some differences, Grover Cleveland is generally recognizable as a conservative by today’s standards, at least if you ignore his opposition to annexing Hawaii, which too many would consider to be a “liberal” move today.. Low taxes, breaking strikes, sound money, (and thus anti-populist) etc.

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  2. cal says:

    The problem is that there is no one “conservatism” in American politics. People talk as if Lincoln, Jefferson, and Teddy Roosevelt were conservatives. It all depends on what our particular status quo is. Is it the slightly whiggish Burkean conservatism of self-conscious communal values? Is it the Thatcherite position of Miltonian laize faire? And, in American terms, is Jackson a conservative or a democratic radical? Was the breakdown of the old merchant-planter elite before a racialized, “white” commons a conservative movement or a complete restructuring of society? When does politics assume a new sense of orthodoxy?

    And while political categories (conservative, liberal, progressive, radical, centrist etc etc.) are always relative and shrouded in their own mythic origins, American inability to remember anything makes talking about this with most Americans utterly confusing.

    Trumpism, like Reaganism, might become a new standard of conservatism. But it’s light-years from Taft’s republican party in 30’s. But it might very well be, considering the odiousness of open-neo cons and the complete impotence of the Rockefeller Republican establishment (McCain, Romney, Jeb).

    cal

    PS. In someways, Trump’s rise and (pending) fall reminds me as a kind of Tony Montana. I can imagine Trump standing up in the middle of some establishment dinner, with his Pfeiffer-esque Ivanka, and go on a drunken ramble about how they need him to be the bad guy so they can feel ok about themselves.

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  3. I agree. “Conservatism” changed a few times from the so-called early days. Early conservatives were quite opposed to the quasi-libertarian elements you see today. Today’s “conservatives” are a mix of neocon war mongers who take some elements of libertarianism.

    Of course Trump isn’t conservative. No one in GOP truly is.

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    • cal says:

      The thing is, and this is what’s interesting for me, that Trump might ‘become’ the new Conservative. It all depends whether he’s elected president and whether or not its viewed as successful (or not completely disastrous). Reagan had quite a few road-bumps, a lot of broken promises, and a couple scandals, but he emerged as a mythic hero who defeated the USSR. It’s a big ‘if’ that Trump becomes the new icon, but its possible. Reagan, who lacked Trump’s cunning and possessed even less understanding and intellect about governing, was boosted through a complex network of underlings, apparatchniks, and political bruisers. A guy like Pence adds this, as far as I can tell.

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    • I’m a warmonger without the libertarian stuff.

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