By ROBERT L CAPEHERT
AFTER the presidential election defeat of 2012, Republican Party autopsies began. The constant refrain from a myriad of post-mortems helped create the civil war which currently swells within G.O.P. ranks – which continues onward with moderates, neo-conservatives (sort of), paleo-conservatives, and libertarian-Republicans, all doing philosophical battle.
Perhaps Mitt Romney’s November 6 defeat foreshadowed it – but regardless, the continued civil war within the Republican Party is blossom of providence if glimpsed rightly.
Also, one of the most important battles to be settled will be the Grand Old Party’s foreign policy posture throughout the modern world, where past G.O.P. administrations have more than confused the country with quixotic nation-building, and Wilsonian “making the world safe for democracy” internationalism.
What animated much of the Bush administration’s foreign policy – sans attacking Afghanistan and eliminating an enemy who declared war on America – was not truly conservative (though the media criticised Bush policy as such), therefore, confusing the electorate to a large degree on ideological formulations of geopolitical realities.
Neither is prudent. Nor can the United States afford either option in its impoverished condition.
As said before, such realities will force Republicans to approach foreign policy matters in accord with realist presumptions of nations and peoples – not only because of new fiscal realities, but also populist concerns; with two mismanaged wars stunting any entheos of Americans to involve itself in more of the world’s affairs.
Likewise, social conservative issues will have to be considered in light of what the duties of the federal government are, constitutionally speaking, and the importance of islands of separation and localism.
In which case, the civil war within the G.O.P. will likely foment a far more constitutional “conservatism,” one where the responsibilities of government are of keen interest of legislators; not private behavior; where separated powers are enhanced; and the reduction of government scope and intrusion the political aim, rather than value judgments imposed upon the electorate by socio-religious authoritarians, which conversely, the U.S. Constitution negates.