Regularly-Featured Respect-a-Republican Friday
There are lots of reasons to disrespect Pat Buchanan. To give Buchanan fair and balanced treatment would take me more time and space than I have on this Friday morning. In the present historical context, Uncle Pat has me agreeing more with him than I do with virtually any other Republican. The biggest reason is that he has been a consistent, articulate and eloquent critic of Bush's un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq.
But today, I am singling out Pat Buchanan for taking the full measure of Neo-Busheney, Rudy Giuliani. I am excerpting from Buchanan's Conservatism is a Tower of Babel:
What does it mean to be a conservative – in 2007?Here, I have to disclose a certain discomfort and embarrassment because I voted for Reagan twice. And for none of the virtues Buchanan details here:
Sixty years ago, Robert A. Taft was the gold standard. Forty years ago, it was Barry Goldwater, who backed Bob Taft against Ike at the 1952 convention. Twenty years ago, it was Ronald Reagan, who backed Barry in 1964. Reagan remains the paragon – for the consistency of his convictions, the success of his presidency and the character he exhibited to the end of his life. About Reagan the cliché was true: The greatness of the office found out the greatness in the man.
Reagan defined conservatism for his time. And the issues upon which we agreed were anti-communism, a national defense second to none, lower tax rates to unleash the engines of economic progress, fiscal responsibility, a strict-constructionist Supreme Court, law and order, the right-to-life from conception on and a resolute defense of family values under assault from the cultural revolution that hit America with hurricane force in the 1960s.Wow, was I out of it! I must have voted for Reagan for all of the 'wrong' reasons. All I will say is this was the hedonist stage in my life in which I was a casual, single-issue voter. Whatever: my family would tell you that I have only just begun apologizing for this lapse. Probably true.
In any event, Buchanan continues:
With the collapse of the Soviet Empire and the breakup of the Soviet Union, anti-communism as the defining and unifying issue of the right was gone. The conservative crack-up commenced.A singularly revealing statement. It confirms John Dean's theory of that the necessary glue for American Conservatism is an internationally-posed totalitarian threat, real or imagined.
Anyways, Buchanan faults George H.W.Bush's departure from the Reagan mold as a reason for Clinton's 1992 win.
Now, 15 years later, what does it mean to be a conservative?In repudiating Rudy Giuliani, Pat Buchanan certainly does not surpass my desire to annul the Busheney interlude in American history. He's not even close. But I'll give Uncle Pat his 'props' today, at least.
There is no pope who speaks ex cathedra. There is no bible to consult, like Goldwater’s “The Conscience of a Conservative” or Reagan’s “no-pale-pastels” platform of 1980. At San Diego in 1996, Bob Dole told his convention he had not bothered to read the platform. Many who heard him did not bother to vote for Bob Dole.
And so, today, the once-great house of conservatism is a Tower of Babel. We are big government and small government, traditionalist and libertarian, tax-cutter and budget hawk, free trader and economic nationalist. Bush and McCain support amnesty and a “path to citizenship” for illegals. The country wants the laws enforced and a fence on the border.
And Rudy? A McGovernite in 1972, he boasted in the campaign of 1993 that he would “rekindle the Rockefeller, Javits, Lefkowitz tradition” of New York’s GOP and “produce the kind of change New York City saw with … John Lindsay.” He ran on the Liberal Party line and supported Mario Cuomo in 1994.
Pro-abortion, anti-gun, again and again he strutted up Fifth Avenue in the June Gay Pride parade and turned the Big Apple into a sanctuary city for illegal aliens. While Ward Connerly goes state to state to end reverse discrimination, Rudy is an affirmative-action man.
Gravitating now to Rudy’s camp are those inveterate opportunists, the Neocons, who see in Giuliani their last hope of redemption for their cakewalk war and their best hope for a “Long War” against “Islamo-fascism.”
I will, Rudy promises, nominate Scalias. Only one more may be needed to overturn Roe. And I will keep Hillary out of the White House.
A Giuliani presidency would represent the return and final triumph of the Republicanism that conservatives went into politics to purge from power. A Giuliani presidency would represent repudiation by the party of the moral, social and cultural content that, with anti-communism, once separated it from liberal Democrats and defined it as an institution.
Rudy offers the right the ultimate Faustian bargain: retention of power at the price of one’s soul.