Misinterpreting Moderate Republicans Presence at the RNC
George Will, an astute conservative who has written many excellent articles on foreign policy, has written a new piece
hailing the decisions of the RNC to include "conservatism with a socially libertarian cast Goldwaterism" in its speakers. He of course is referring to prominent roles played by Rudy Giuliani and Arnold Schwartzenegger, both of whom are pro-choice in their stands on abortion and hardly what one would call Christian on many of their stands on social issues. Will remarks on their conservatism:
That conservatism - muscular foreign policy backing unapologetic nationalism; economic policies of low taxation and light regulation; a libertarian inclination regarding cultural questions is not fully ascendant in the party. But the prominent display and rapturous reception of Rudy Giuliani and Arnold Schwarzenegger demonstrated that such conservatism is not an insurmountable impediment to a person reaching the partys highest echelons
He goes on to note how this new "inclusiveness" by the Republican party will strike a blow against the Democratic party.
But the domination of the Republican Party by cultural conservatives did make some other conservatives libertarians and religious skeptics, among others feel uneasy, even unwelcome. Being derided as RINOs Republicans in name only did not help. And the dominance of the cultural conservatives gave force to the Democrats and medias caricatures of the Republican Party as a brackish lagoon of intolerance, a caricature that, like all caricatures, contained a trace of truth.
The re-emergence into Republican respectability of conservatism with a socially libertarian cast Goldwaterism is a development with a large potential to discomfort the Democratic Party. The re-emergence can make the Republican Party more appealing to many young and suburban voters, two cohorts in which Democrats have recently made substantial gains.
If only it were so. It would be wonderful if the theocratic conservatism of the Republican party could be mitigated or expelled. But I don't think it's happened yet, and if I'm honest I don't see it happening anytime soon. The presence of Giuliani and Schwartzenegger is disingenuous; notice that in their speeches, the vast majority of it was dedicated to celebrating Bush's war on terror and exhorting the country to maintain our vigilance. Their more secular beliefs were completely absent in the speech, and it didn't surprise me (Similarly, we saw Dick Cheney's straight daughter with husband and family on stage last night, but no sign of the his lesbian daughter). Giuliani and Schwartzenegger were at the RNC to dupe good people into voting for George Bush. I'm talking about the wonderful Americans who love America, believe in freedom and a strong, pro-American foreign policy, but who also see the danger of any
militant religious group seeking to impose its beliefs politically. That is the value of the moderate republicans: giving the average person the sense that, the far right can't be that bad, otherwise the moderate speakers wouldn't be there.
Similarly, they brought Democratic Sen. Zell Miller in because of his strong support for Bush in the fight against terrorism, not in order to listen to his support for social security or other Democratic issues. He is window dressing. The theocratic right knows that it can't win if it publicly acknowledges its desire to make this nation fully
Christian - that's why the platform has so strongly been about fighting the war, and issue that unites religious and secular republicans (and even some democrats). Where is the talk of dissolving all legal recognition of gay unions, the talk of getting those damned liberal supreme court justices out and putting some good ol' Christian justices in their place? I don't think we'll hear about it, though we'll find out for sure after Pres. Bush speaks this evening.
POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 11:04 AM