Ron Paul, the Paleos, and 2008.
The Re-emergence of the 'Old Right'_James Leroy Wilson-Ron Paul, the Paleos, and 2008.
Like every other decent person, I pray that the War on Iraq will end quickly, with mimum destuction of life and property. That said, I do not think America can "win" this War, in the sense that we would be better off than had we not fought it.
That is the way to look at wars in retrospect. Looking back, it appears that the only people who benefitted from World Wars I and II were the Communists. No one benefitted, really, from the original Persian Gulf War, otherwise we wouldn't be in combat now. And I believe America is in a worse position than it would have been if we woke up on September 11 and realize that "they" hate us because our military troops are stationed on their soil. We ought to have sent our men and women back home from the 120 countries they're stationed at, and embarked on a Swiss-style foreign policy. Or a George Washington one: trade with all, political connections with none. Instead, President Bush spewed nonsense about America being hated for our freedom and prosperity, and established a worldwide War on Terror, which can not be any more successful than a War on Drugs. Which might be the point. Establish a new, permanent, government program.
Several things have to go right for Bush to use political capital from this war to win re-election in 2004:
1. Large quantities of weapons and weapon material banned by UN resolutions are found.
2. American casualites and Iraqi civillian death tolls are low.
3. Neither the war nor the occupation is long.
4. Budget deficits are "under control."
5. America suffers no further terrorist attacks.
I can't get inside the mind of the President who, frankly, cannot be trusted on domestic policy. I don't know the personal or ideological agenda of his advisors (oil? protect Israel?). But his Presidency is failing, and although it is hard to imagine any of his Democratic opponents actually winning, we should never over-estimate the American people. The more shameless demagogue has won the popular vote of, if not all, then the vast majority modern democratic Presidential elections.
If Bush is toast in 2004, then the real conservatives have an opportunity. There is a war going on under the radar of the mainstream media. It is fought mainly on the Internet, between what are called "paleo-conservatives" and "paleo-libertarians," on one side, and the "neo-conservatives" on the other.
The "paleos" carry on the principles of what was once known as the Taft wing of the Republican Party (after Senator Robert Taft of Ohio), or, prior to World War II, the Old Right. If one word would describe their common idea, it is non-intervention. The government should not intervene in the economic or personal lives of the people, nor intervene in the politics or affairs of other countries.
The "neo-conservatives" are ex-Democrats. Their Founding Father is actually not one of them, but rather the "bridge" between some of the ideas of the Old Right and current Republican policy. His name is William F. Buckley. He is a writer and ex-CIA operative who founded National Review magazine in 1955. His magazine advocated free markets and state's rights at home, but militarism abroad to fight communism. That was a change from a core conservative principle of non-intervention abroad. This conservatism that most of you know, the conservatism of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, is Buckley's conservatism.
And even after the Cold War ended and expansionist communism defeated and dismantled, the militarism remained. America now what is called world hegemony, and this is where the neo-conservatives come in. America, as the world's only superpower, must use that power to ensure a Pax Americana and the flowering of democracy everywhere. This is ideological aggression, the antithesis of the old conservatism. That is what disillusioned Pat Buchanan, and why the neo-cons, without cause or excuse, now brand him an anti-Semite.
Neo-conservatives had other ideas on the domestic front. School vouchers. Partial investments of Social Security in private savings accounts. Welfare reform. Tax cuts to spur economic growth in order to increase tax revenues, instead of cutting both taxes and also spending. The difference between neo-conservative values and the old conservative values is that they guaranteed continued federal spending and enlargement, albeit under the false guise of "free-market competition."
Bush and Bush's team is dominated primarily of neo-conservatives, and otherwise by country-club or blue-blood Republicans, who embrace the same sort of mercantilism and corporate favoritism that has characterized the GOP since Lincoln. The interests of both camps entertwine. Use the government as an interventionist tool, both at home and abroad, in order to achieve morality and home and democracy abroad. And if our projects also happen to help our corporate friends, so be it.
They differ in details, but essentially this is identical to Democratic policy. The main difference is the difference in "morality." To the Republican, it means government-engineered personal virtue; to the Democrat, it means government-engineered social justice.
And that's what's been upsetting those who believe in the principles of the Old Right. They've gone off and started their own parties, none of which, individually, stands a chance to succeed in the near future. The Libertarian Party. The U.S. Taxpayers Party. The Constitution Party. And in its own way, the Reform Party. Disagreements among them are sharp, but what at least the first three have in common is the conviction that the federal government's unconstitutional policies are responsible for the vast majority of the nation's economic and moral problems. Add to that the non-interventionism of Buchanan, whom the Reform Party nominated in 2000, and we have the makings of a coalition of the Old Right that can challenge Bush in the Republican primaries and, after losing to Bush, get the nomination of all four of these minor parties and compete with Bush and the Democratic nominee in the general election.
All that's required is a viable candidate. For those well-informed, you know who I'm talking about.
He is Ron Paul, M.D., Republican Congressman from Texas's 14th District. I won't detail his biography here; you can look it up yourself at his website
, and from there go back to his home page and find out about his ever-consistent voting record,and read his writings and speeches. I commend this to everyone, even those who may harshly disagree with him, just so you know that there is at least one man in Congress who knows what he believes and sticks by it thick and thin.
If Paul challenges Bush in the Republican primaries, that will already help Paul's identity and name-recognition, and prove the political weakness and unprincipled positions of the President. Conservatives who love liberty more than they hate Democrats will turn out in droves to vote for him. Bush would still likely win the nomination, but after Paul wins the nomination of four "third parties," he will be a player in the national election much like Ross Perot was in 1992. After Bush loses to whatever ineffectual, incompetent empty suit the Democrats nominate, the paleos will capture the soul of the Republican Party and send Paul, or someone like him, to the White House in 2008.
Granted, people in the national media may be so angry, that the entire northeast and west coast might threaten to secede from the Union. And the new Republican/Constitution/U.S. Taxpayer/Reform/Libertarian President will say "Go ahead. That is your right and your choice."