We talk a lot now about the teaparty as force. In fact though I think it is most defined as implacably opposed to Barack Obama, but not otherwise. This is especially true on foreign policy. After the Congress is seated, some divisions may become very clear.
A perspective on the lack of unity was in the New Republic:
Now that the midterm elections are over and voices of the Tea Party will soon be established in Congress, the movement’s views on foreign policy will come under closer scrutiny, and the results may prove surprising, not least to the Tea Partiers themselves. Those views are far from Republican orthodoxy. On some issues, the Tea Partiers will predictably line up with the Republican leadership, but on others they may find they have more in common with Democrats. They may even provide Barack Obama with unexpected support. Those who think Sarah Palin speaks for the Tea Party on foreign policy haven’t been paying attention.
It’s hard enough to define Tea Party policies on domestic issues. As Kate Zernike writes in Boiling Mad: Inside Tea Party America, the movement “meant different things to different people—even those within the movement could not always agree on what they wanted.” But the Tea Party is the soul of rationality and consistency on domestic issues compared to its stand on foreign policy questions. There is simply no there there. (Click here to view a slideshow of the silliest, scariest, and most NSFW Wikileaks.)
Books on the Tea Partiers, like Zernike’s, barely mention foreign policy, and most of the media are no better in their coverage. A search of the Web turns up little more, an occasional blog post or cursory comment, but nothing of any real substance. Probably the most extensive discussion of the subject was written by P.J. O’Rourke, a humorist. Asked if the Tea Party had a foreign policy, Dick Armey, who has made himself one of the movement’s stalwarts, responded, “I don’t think so.” Analysts of the Tea Party’s foreign policy are therefore working largely in the dark. Still, one can glimpse occasional flickers of light that permit some extrapolations and tentative conclusions.
Conservatism may mean small government to some, but clearly not to others.
Conservatism is in different versions:
1) Don’t change anything! No new healthcare law, but keep Social programs in place. I’m comfortable, so no change. (Republican party)
2) Government should be small! No social programs. No security super state. (Ron Paul and most libertarians)
3. Government should stick to to two functions: Defense, and law enforcement, perhaps these should be quite large. (I think the Tea Party and maybe Glenn Beck might be here)
4. Process is what is important, not the result necessarily. Actions should be prudent and fact based, and respect tradition. The power of government to fix society is limited. (Andrew Sullivan, who like to put Obama in the prudent category.)
5. Hyper-nationalism is the thing. Kick out immigrants. Thumb your nose at other nations or unfamiliar cultures. (Tom Tancredo and others)
6. Protect my privileges, that I’m afraid I may lose. (I think Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, parts of the Tea Party and Beck represent this point of view)
I’d put myself somewhere between 2 and 4, and afraid of 3, 5, and 6.
Call me disaffected from most of the current conservative movement.
I think there is a huge contradiction in the argument of those opposed to the NY mosque, if I understand them correctly. Let’s start by stating what I think is the most coherent argument against the mosque.
If there is a coherent argument at the heart of the opposition to the mosque, I understand it to be this:
Al Quaeda and the like will see this mosque being constructed as their “victory”, a monument to their heinous act of almost a decade ago, on the gravesite of their victims to boot. This will somehow inspire them to even more heinous acts.
That most Muslims aren’t in Al Quaeda or don’t see the mosque in this way would be irrelevent. The case against the mosque (irrespective of the fact we are trashing our own bill of rights) is based on not sending this message to Al Quaeda.
But most people who make this argument seem to also sneer at Obama’s efforts to reach out to Islam. They generally argue that Al Quaeda is totally unconcerned about if we reach out but will implacably pursue destroying western civilization. Moderate Islam, if it even exists, cannot affect Al Queada. Some also conflate all of islam and Al Quaeda as well, as proceeding down a path or unspeakable brutality, regardless of our message belligerant or reaching out, and Obama is a fool to send any message other than force to destroy terrorist where we find them.
Here is my point. Given their view that messages to Al Queada are irrelevant, then what matter is it that we send any message by allowing the mosque to be built? Terrorists behavior will be unaffected by the mosque being built or not according to the critics of the mosque.
Either: there are no “moderate” Muslims (some really believe this!) to be offended by stopping the mosque, and Al Quaeda will be just as dangerous; or moderate Muslims will be driven into the arms of Al Quaeda.
Stopping this mosque will at best accomplish nothing, and more likely do enormous damage to our constitution, our security, our relation with the Islamic world and the world at large.
I’m open minded on this.
Certainly if the congregation is moderate, I can’t see any possible reason that they shouldn’t be allowed to build a new mosque.
Things is as an open minded person, I find myself unsure of what all the facts are. There are claims and counterclaims that are hard to verify. The critics insist this a pro hamas group.
Why are they saying that? Are they lying or confused. We shouldn’t allow a monument to a supporter of a murder be built on the victims grave.
Though I don’t know the facts as well as I’d like, I think we would do better to demonstrate our tolerence than our fear and small mindedness.
Put me down as pro-mosque unless some one can show with all the claims and couterclaims that we’re allow a monument to the killers to be built on the victim’s grave. I don’t know that now.
At the center of a swirl of controversy it dominates the air waves and much of the public’s attention.
The national Review is leading the charge against the effort to build this. I don’t agree.
This is an exercise of at least two freedom we hold dear, the freedom of religion and private property.
At least the National Review is not calling for government action to enforce their likes and dislikes. They seem to be focusing on boycott and the like to enforce their likes. So maybe they respect private property.
But the manipulation of people as mob to suppress free practice of religion still seems unconscionable. The claim that the builders of the mosque is a supporter of Hamas gives me some pause, but I think that may not be true. Especially since the Anti- Defamation League initially supported the Mosque, though it has since requested that the center not be built voluntarily.
I think I still support the idea of limited government, and I am a conservative in that sense. However I have a lot of trouble with the conservative movement today.
My discomfort is mainly over the Iraq war. I supported it after 9/11, though with concern of its results. I felt then that a major response to 9/11 was in order and as an attempt to transform the Middle-East to be less of source of such horrors (get the WMDs and make Iraq a model democracy) it was a gamble worth taking. But today I see that gamble as having had a disastrous result.
Iraq today is I think still on the edge of civil war, mired in violence, and with little or no chance of being a model democracy. No WMD existed or apparently have for many years in Iraq. In light of this do many conservatives take responsibility for this disaster or appear to have a more modest view of what American military power can accomplish? No.
Discussion of Iraq is mostly about the surge and it success in reducing the level of violence from unbearable to intolerable. In 2008, Republican candidates except for Ron Paul seemed to falling over themselves to show who could be more jingoistic, and today I fear a Palin administration might quickly get us into war in Iran, and maybe elsewhere-even though we are already overcommitted in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In any case for the first time in 2008 I voted for a Democratic candidate for President (he was right about a “dumb” war). Now I think I tend to want to validate my foreign policy based vote by supporting some of his other initiative such health care.
I am concerned about the cost of of some of President’s Obama policies, but more along the line of how can we make them work or pay for them. I certainly don’t “hope he fails!”
I think the Bush administration has put this country in too perilous a situation for another failed Presidency, especially for partisan purposes. I think any sensible person, even conservatives should realize that, but I don’t think many do.
Really I think I’m still a conservative, but somewhat disaffected rather than erstwhile.
This comment has been subject of some discussion:
Sarah Palin criticized President Barack Obama on Saturday for saying America is a military superpower “whether we like it or not,” saying she was taken aback by his comment.
“I would hope that our leaders in Washington, D.C., understand we like to be a dominant superpower,” the former Alaska governor said. “I don’t understand a world view where we have to question whether we like it or not that America is powerful.”
It seems she misses the point as usual. Being a superpower isn’t like some fun neat thing we should all be throwing our hats in the air about. It’s a heavy responsibility and makes us the world cop in a world that has no other cops or much else to back up international law.