REPUBLICAN REFORM, PART II
By David Beilstein
UNTIL recently, conservative Republicans have been timorous toward the new guard of conservative isolationists headlined by Ron Paul’s two recent candidacies for president—and the support he accrued.
I count myself as one of them—seeing Ron Paul’s foreign policy as briskly quixotic—out of step with the submission to reality conservative thinking about nations and peoples entails.
But I was caught. Since I also disapproved of America as police force for the world—of American U.S. Military used to nation build—using social engineering, thus creating severe dislocations in international affairs.
Andrew McCarthy, over at National Review Online wrote an interesting take on the younger Paul—Kentuckian Rand Paul’s recent ascendancy onto the national political stage. McCarthy does some re-stepping in his piece, walking back descriptions of Rand Paul as a radical. The essay proves useful in showcasing the value of Rand Paul in opposition to the ossifying progressive-lite foreign policy of Republican senator’s John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
In 1993, McCarthy prosecuted those involved in the first World Trade Center bombing. One cannot question his understanding of Islamic-fascism, and the threat it poses to civilized nation-states. McCarthy was sounding alarm bells before the bombing of U.S. Embassies, or the U.S. Cole in 2000.
McCarthy’s semi-endorsement of Sen. Rand Paul the younger is a leap forward in legitimising the young Kentucky senators idea of a reformed, restraining, classical ideology in terms of approaches to American military power.
It could not come sooner.
National political parties have to show competence in two major areas of American governance: foreign policy and sound, economic literacy.
Both, sadly, were destroyed in the eyes of the American public during the second half of the Bush administration.
Bush administration officials got more right than wrong, but where the triumvirate of Bush—Cheney—Rumsfeld erred was large in the public’s imagination. Such as it is, Republicans face a political environment in which they cannot—as a national party—tout Iraq and Afghanistan as an example of American strength, nor of American foreign policy finesse.
But they can run on a foreign policy of the future—one without Saddam in Iraq and decimated Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan. America is better off without Saddam Hussein in Iraq and without Al Qaeda safely harbored in Afghanistan.
Still, the management of both Bush administration wars created a vacuum in which the current G.O.P. cannot claim success.
It would seem opinions and support coalescing around Rand Paul indicates these perceptions are correct. What is good to see, is what calls itself conservative is broader and more richly focused on the limitation of state power along constitutional norms.
Much of this can be laid at the feet of President Barack Obama’s egregious progressivism.
Good opposition makes one’s own position stronger. There is no Marvin Hagler without Ray Leonard—and no Sugar Ray Robinson without Jake Lamotta; nor a Muhammed Ali without the shuffling, dipping and diving, Joe Frazier.
The same appears to be true in American politics.
President Obama’s tyrannical over-reach has been so massive, those who are truly conservative cannot stomach either “big government conservatism” nor progressive-lite populism. The faithful are calling for something new, which, happens to be something more classical. In the face of our Republic’s current trajectory, this can only be seen as good news.