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Monday, October 17, 2005

Conservatives Vs Republicans

This is an incredibly good column by David Brooks. He starts out by citing Miers' writing ("I don't know if by mere quotation I can fully convey the relentless march of vapid abstractions that mark Miers' prose. Nearly every idea is vague and depersonalized. Nearly every debatable point is elided."), but then makes a very astute diagnosis of the split between conservatives and Republicans:
The conservative movement was founded upon the supposition that ideas have consequences. Conservatives have founded so many think tanks, magazines and organizations, like the Federalist Society, because they believe that you have to win arguments to win political power. They dream of Supreme Court justices capable of writing brilliant opinions that will reshape the battle of ideas.

Republicans, who these days are as likely to be members of the corporate establishment as the evangelical establishment, are more suspicious of intellectuals and ideas, and more likely to believe that politics is about deal-making, loyalty and power. You know you are in establishment Republican circles when the conversation is bland but unifying. You know you are in conservative circles when it is interesting but divisive.
He's right. Conservatives want to take the controversy about "living Constitution" theories to the public. Would they win? They might.

See this WaPo article about the conservative fiscal rebellion in Congress. Maybe all the writing and complaining about pork, etc, is shaking things up:
The RSC was created in the early 1970s by conservative gadfly Paul Weyrich and other outside activists to watch over the House GOP leadership, but its power has waxed and waned, largely according to the dictates of the leadership it was supposed to be watching over.

Now, under Pence, the group was flexing its muscles. He had announced a news conference for Sept. 14 to unveil "Operation Offset," a menu of spending cuts that would more than pay for hurricane relief. On Sept. 13, DeLay suggested that "after 11 years of Republican majority, we've pared [the government] down pretty good." Then he issued what conservatives took as a challenge.

"My answer to those that want to offset the spending is, 'Sure, bring me the offsets,' " he said. "I will be glad to do it, but no one has been able to come up with any yet."
Makes you want to both cry and laugh, doesn't it? Both Democrats and Republicans were offering suggestions for cuts, especially in the wake of Katrina. I just want to know that Congress is going to cut the pork before they cut stuff like Medicare. The joke here is that both sides of the political spectrum among voters can see clearly that we need to cut spending and raise/reform taxes, but the porkers in Congress have been unwilling to do it.

Politics is about debate. Now, Bush can't constitutionally shove a conservative judge like Owen or Luttig through the Senate if there is not the support for it, but conservatives can take the debate to the voters. One way or another, that will settle the question. My guess is that the conservatives will win on the question in the wake of Kelo and Raich. Neither liberals nor conservatives are comfortable with the way our constitution is being interpreted, and it's much, much worse in the lower courts - see Greg Lukianoff's column on adverse court decisions for higher education.


Comments:
Yes, well said. I just love debate, and after listening to real debates by real conservatives, is when I became a true conservative. I love the battle between ideologies, philosophies. Once Americans become active in politics and listen to substantive arguments over not just policy, but founding ideals, that's where we fall in love with America all over again.
 
Debate is one fundamental of a democratic society!
 
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