Sunday, November 30, 2008

McCarthy, Nixon, Bush & Modern Conservatism

There is a fascinating article in the Los Angeles Times about the origins of modern American conservatism, IE, post-World War II conservatism. The article points out that the father of modern conservatism isn't Barry Goldwater, but Joe McCarthy. He was the politician who figured out that what Republicans needed to do was to demonize certain Americans to convince other Americans to vote for them.

Joe McCarthy went after Democrats by saying that they were soft on communism and tolerated communists in the government. He picked up support from working-class Catholics, rural whites, and Southerners. Nixon was able to follow the same strategy by demonizing college students, African-Americans, and anti-war protesters. Bush followed the same strategy in accusing John Kerry of not supporting American troops and implied that anyone who disagreed with him in how he was conducting the Iraq War was Un-American.

McCain tried the same approach against Obama, but the bad economic news meant that people were more worried about their jobs than their neighbors' patriotism. Don't worry, though, as the author of the Times article puts it, Republicans won't give this tactic up because it is in their DNA.

1 comment:

John Lofton, Recovering Republican said...

Forget "conservatism," please. It has been Godless and therefore irrelevant. Secular conservatism will not defeat secular liberalism because to God both are two atheistic peas-in-a-pod and thus predestined to failure. As Stonewall Jackson's Chief of Staff R.L. Dabney said of such a humanistic belief more than 100 years ago:

"[Secular conservatism] is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today .one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution; to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. This pretended salt bath utterly lost its savor: wherewith shall it be salted? Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It .is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious for the sake of the truth."

Our country is collapsing because we have turned our back on God (Psalm 9:17) and refused to kiss His Son (Psalm 2).

John Lofton, Editor,
Recovering Republican