Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Welcome To The New American Consensus - The Revenge Of The Classic Liberal


" What will you do when the label comes off?" -Frank Zappa, `Who Are The Brain Police?"

We stand at the crossroads of a new era in American politics.I can almost smell it, and I'm surprised more of the people who's business it is to run the nuts and bolts of the political machines in the United States, let alone the candidates themselves have mostly failed to grab on to it like a pitbull onto a poodle.

Then again, maybe I'm not so surprised.The old line about being too close to the forest to see the trees comes to mind.

The majority of Americans are increasingly fed up with the destructive nature of politics today on both sides of the aisle and they're sick and tired of being lied to...except, of course, the ones who make a common practice of lying to themselves on a daily basis.

Both the `conservative' and `liberal' brand names make the average American want to hurl nowadays - the low approval ratings of President Bush, the even lower ratings for Congress and poll after poll that shows the vast majority of Americans seeing the country as being on the wrong track in spite of historically low inflation, interest rates and unemployment tell the story.

I have news for those of you who consider themselves `conservatives' - thanks to the antics of the current `conservative' occupant of the White House and his supporting cast in what was a GOP majority congress, that particular brand name has been poisoned almost beyond redemption.

The very term `conservative' conjures up sober fiscal responsibility, probity, limited government and traditional values. Instead,what we've seen is out of control spending, government metasizing like a cancer, an out of control border that resembles a sieve, globalization and outsourcing run amuck and attempts to turn our ports over to a foreign power and subject our sovereignty to the vagaries of the UN and the World Court...all being hawked by a so-called `conservative' administration.

The same thing could be said about the term `liberal', of course. It used to mean something very different before Bill and Hill came to town and George Soros and MoveOn assumed control of the Democrat party.The majority of actual, classic liberals left the Democrat party a long time ago..or were forced out, and Joe Lieberman is a good example of what happened to those who tried consciously to swim against the tide. That brand name has taken on a rank odor as well. Even the Left rarely uses it, preferring the term `progressive'.

The `conservative' Bush administration will be remembered for turning an historic mandate into a major electoral defeat and betraying and alienating the majority of its supporters. Bush got taxes right, did some very good work interdicting some of the financing of Islamic terrorism, ran the economy reasonably well, fought half of a war and managed to put a few good judges on the bench, but that's about it in terms of concrete accomplishments. And his major failures include an almost total inability to communicate policy or inspire the nation. Conservative talk show host Al Rantel had a point when he sarcastically thanked President Bush for ruining the Republican Party. Although I'm sure he would acknowledge that President Bush had lots of help along the way.

The Democrats are in no better shape, in spite of what you'll read in the dinosaur media. For all the fundraising and rhetoric going on, the Democrats are mostly owned by the Angry Left and George Soros, thanks to McCain-Feingold. While many rank and file democrats don't fit this mold, the leaders of the party, its movers and shakers are increasingly out of touch with basic American values. While many `progressives' have learned how to dissemble fairly well, it's obvious that they stand for multiculturalism, high taxes, and government control of almost every area of American life. It's also obvious that they are increasingly isolationist at a time when we can ill afford a vacation from history, ala' the Clinton era.

So where does that leave us?

I see a major new consensus in the process of forming, and it goes back to the basic American ethos of what I call classic liberalism; Americans who are socially liberal and tolerant, but favor a conservative stance on foreign policy, protecting America's culture and sovereignty and practicing fiscal responsibility and common sense.

For instance, most Americans seem to like the idea of capitalism, but understand instinctively that continuing to ship American jobs overseas and play by free trade rules that involve having American companies compete with companies who artificially devalue their currency and who use labor paid by Third World standards ultimately becomes a quality of life issue for Americans rather than simply an economic one.

And more than just an economic issue, ultimately. GOP Presidential candidate Duncan Hunter made the salient point in one of the debates that we might just need to become the arsenal of democracy once more. He was speaking from personal experience as head of the House Armed Services Committee, after needing to find a company here in the US capable of producing the special strengthened steel used in the armored HumVees and finding only one company here in America still capable of making it.

Some things are more important than a few extra ticks on the corporate bottom line, and even the majority of Americans who favor our free enterprise system are coming to realize it.

The vast majority of Americans respect immigrants who come to the country legally and want to become part of the American Dream. But they're also not blind to the cynical use of illegal aliens by both parties to potentially fatten the voter rolls and become another `protected' class on the one hand or to be used as a source of cheap labor to undercut American jobs and wreak havoc with America's social welfare system at the taxpayer's expense on the other. And they want the borders secure, our laws respected and the flow stopped.

Most of them are also sick and tired of paying exorbitant taxes to an ever increasing government for what seems like an increasingly small return.

They want to be able to choose where their children go to school, and to hold those schools accountable not only for teaching basic education at an acceptable level, but to carry out their original mandate - to teach America's children to be good citizens and to respect the country's core institutions.

They generally support of our military, and realize that a strong defense is imperative for America...but they're wary of `limited wars', rules of engagement that handcuff our military and war by UN resolution. In short, most Americans see no reason to send our troops in harm's way unless the objective is total victory and defeat of our enemy. They respect winners and have no tolerance for losers and defeatists. A case in point is the Iraq war, which US public opinion strongly favored in the beginning, soured on when the mismanagement and futility of the way the war was being waged became evident, and has started to turn around again since General Petraeus took over and we started focusing on implementing a strategy for victory.

Most Americans eschew racism, but expect others to understand that respect is a two way street.They're tolerant of different lifestyles, but instinctively understand that tolerance is one thing and encouragement and endorsement is something else.

They like the idea of health care and Social Security, but quite rightly take a jaundiced look at government attempts to manage them.

Americans have a habit of pitching in generously to those in need, but many of them understand the difference between a hand up and a handout.

What I'm talking about, of course is classic liberalism...and that's the new concensus in America.

The presidential candidate who is closest to embodying this ethos is none other than Rudy Giuliani, which is one reason why he continues to be the Republican front runner, in spite of constant sniping by `conservative' gate keepers.

While many of these people continue to hammer of Giuliani for not `taking more socially conservative positions' so far he's been cagey enough to sense that it's not the way to go. Whether it's conscious or unconscious on his part, so far he's continued to steer toward Classic Liberal ground...to his benefit.

More importantly, candidates like Giuliani and Mitt Romney radiate a classic American value- optimism, something that is almost entirely lacking on the Democrat side, with the possible exception of Barack Obama. Unfortunately Senator Obama lacks the resume, the strength of ideas or the practicality to back it up. Nor do the the ideas of optimism and classic liberalism appeal to the people in charge of the Democrats today. The Democrats, increasingly, are defining themselves as the party of limits.

Classic Liberalism is the new concensus in American politics, the center everyone keeps reaching for. And I expect that more and more politicians will reach for it as it becomes more evident.

As a nation, we've been artificially divided for some time now, and our last two presidents have played a part in that . But I expect the common sense of the average American to reassert itself, as it always has in our Republic in time of need.

America's best days are in front of it, as we remember who we are as a country and act on it.

9 comments:

louielouie said...

bush is not a conservative.
he may "claim" the label, you may call him conservative, but he is not.
every detail of your own essay and description of his actions in office dispel the notion of his conservatism.
while you may be correct that he has given consevatism a bad name the problem is no one is paying any attention.
no one wants to.
it is as though bush is in collusion with hillary, "i'll give conservatives a bad name so you can get elected and continue our internationalist agenda".
in short, he was elected by conservatives but has governed as a liberal.
in 2000 i did not mark my ballot for prez. the reason i did not is there was, still is, no difference between bush or gore.
and just as you would reject my premise on bush/gore i reject yours that bush is conservative.
the mess we would be in with gore as president would be like.........we're not in a mess now???????
the reason shrubs polling numbers are so low is because conservatives have left him. the only ones still in camp are republicans. the leadership is in riyadh.
another thing in your essay i disagree with is your use of the terms and how politicos line up behind them.
liberalism and conservatism are philosophies.
republican & democrat are political parties.
they may or may not line up in several different ways.
i am a democrat.
i am conservative.
i am fiscally conservative, socially moderate, and just to the left of ghengis khan in matters of state/defense.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hi Louie,
I totally agree with you, Bush is not a conservative.That's my point.

However, he self identified as one, the label is his and he pretty much spit in the soup for a lot of other self identified `conservatives'.

I actually see a lot of similarities between Bush and Bill Clinton, though of course they manifest those similarities in different ways, and Clinton is a far superior politician.

Be careful not to confuse `classic liberal' with the way `liberal' is used nowadays. From your description,I think the label `classic liberal' fits you pretty well, inasmuch as any label does.

It's not a matter of party either, as you say...it's just the way the forces are lined up today.

And that's where both I and Weekend Monkey see the high ground in politics today.

My mom, a lifelong FDR-style Democrat fits there as well..socially moderate, fiscally conservative and someone who says, like me, if you're going to fight a war, go fight it and win it instead of playing around.She'll probably end up voting for Giuliani, since she has no use whatsoever for Hillary Clinton. Or Bush, for that matter, since he fobbed off a queston she asked him when she met him in 2000.

FDR and JFK would both be moderate Republicans today.

louielouie said...

as i understand "classic liberal" it is an 18th century term used to describe those who would choose to determine their own course in life, i.e., government.
i would then be a classic liberal conservative.
that would not be an oxymoron.

nazar said...

What You're talking about seems like libertarianism to me...with a strong national defense flavor.

Also, I disagree about parents caring about schools. Some sincerely do, and go to the PTA meetings, but most just say they do and do nothing about it.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by "social moderatism." The type of people you're talking about don't strike me as supporters of abortion, legalized hard drugs, and countless other civil rights issues.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hi Louie , Yes, exactly.

Hi Nazar ,
As I undrstand it, libertarianism means a near total abscence of a central governmental role in society. I think there are a number of things the federal government does well, provided a careful watch is kept to keep it efficient prevent it metasizing a...which is exactly what has happened..it's gottenout of control.

As to schools, I wrote: They want to be able to choose where their children go to school, and to hold those schools accountable not only for teaching basic education at an acceptable level, but to carry out their original mandate - to teach America's children to be good citizens and to respect the country's core institutions.

The problem is that many of the public schoools have become dysfunctional,particularly in middle school and high school. Don't take my word for it. Do your own research and find out how many politicians, upscale lawyers and especially educators send their own children to private schools...while loudly eschewing things like vouchers and marching in lockstep with the teacher's unions.

Most working parents simply want the same right these upscale liberals have..to choose their kids' schools without paying double,for the private school AND public schools their kids are unable to use without their educatiion suffering.These parents care, and would love to be able to make the change.Th eones that don't will keep their kids in public school, but does that meanthat the parents who want a better future for their children can't have one because politicians like th emoney and support the teacher's unions give them?

I don't know if you have children, but I'll tell you that it's very difficult - almost impossible - to have much input in a large public school district unless you're very knowledgeable, very persistant and very savvy with how the system works. Making a complaint against an incompetant member of the teacher's unions is almost impossible.

My kids' private school spends two thirds per pupil what the LAUSD spends per pupil, yet the average test scores of the private school are ones the LAUSD would literally kill for, their that much better.
I estimate that my kids are working at least three years ahead( and in some subjects, more)of the equivalent grade in public school.

Finally, as to the issues you mention:I don't have a clue as to what you mean about `other civil rights issues'. Do you think of abortion and the right to use narcotics as `civil rights'?

As far as abortion goes, here's the common sense of the matter. I don't think most Americans want abortion criminalized,but they are overwhelmingly against partial birth abortions and want parental notification for minors.I also don't think most Americans would be too upset at the idea of abortions in cases of rape and incest,or where a woman's health was endangered.But I think many Americans have gotten clued in to the fact that wholesale abortion has some effects on society they didn't bargain for.

What many people find disgusting, I think, is the culture of abortion on demand,for any reason including simple convenience, the whole lexicon of `reproductive rights'as a euphemismfor making an innocent life pay for someone else's carelessness.

As Mayor Giuiani pointed out,Roe V Wade is a matter of law at this point(even if it is poor law that was a distortion of the Constitution).Any lard head can thump his chest and talk about the evils of abortion, or the sanctity of ` a woman's right' to choose infanticide, but ultimately it's a matter for the courts.

As an egregious example of judicial ursupation of the legislative function, It will eventually probably be overturned, and the matter will go back to where it belonged in the first place...with the voters of the individual states,who will mostly keep it legal but under parameters that will ensure that it is far less common than it is now.

kreiz1 said...

Nicely said, JP- gotta admit that I fall squarely within your classically liberal definition. I also agree that there's a ton of similarly placed voters out here. If only if we could find a major party that embraced our values.

Anonymous said...

It's funny, but from my point of view, over here in the UK, all I could see was the supposedly rightwing Republican Party going wishy-washy -- firstly over baby-killing, which led to Bush's first veto (Nice going, guys!), and secondly over Iraq, for which they decided to blame Bush when they should have been supporting him and so got caned at the midterms. (The Dems gave the impression of being slightly less divided and disorganised, methinks!)

In Iraq of course Bush is now doing pretty well. But the Republicans look set to choose a monster like Giuliani before being thrashed by Hillary. (With or without a third candidate, I cannot see Giuliani keeping small-c conservatives on board.) So if there are any rightwing US blogs left in 2016, that might well be the next time I take an interest in the "Land of the Free" and its politics.

Anonymous said...

It's funny, but from my point of view, over here in the UK, all I could see was the supposedly rightwing Republican Party going wishy-washy -- firstly over baby-killing, which led to Bush's first veto (Nice going, guys!), and secondly over Iraq, for which they decided to blame Bush when they should have been supporting him and so got caned at the midterms. (The Dems gave the impression of being slightly less divided and disorganised, methinks!)

In Iraq of course Bush is now doing pretty well. But the Republicans look set to choose a monster like Giuliani before being thrashed by Hillary. (With or without a third candidate, I cannot see Giuliani keeping small-c conservatives on board.) So if there are any rightwing US blogs left in 2016, that might well be the next time I take an interest in the "Land of the Free" and its politics.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hello Oliver,
Thanks for dropping in from over the pond.

For reasons I mentioned in the article, many conservatives feel betrayed by President Bush on a number of issues, illegal immigration being only one of them.

My personal problem with the president, among others,is he and his family's close relationship with the Saudis and the UAE, which meant that instead marshalling th enation for war after 9/11 Americans were told to calm down and go shopping.

That also explains why the Saudis have been able to export jihad to America through the mosques an dmadrassahs they control here, and very little has been done about it.

In 2004, Bush had the good fortune to run against a spectaculalrly inept candidate, and ended up a GOP majority in the House and senate, along with considerable political capital...which he subsequently squandered.

I must take exception to your idea that the Republicans `got caned' because they didn't support Bush. They got beaten because of the mismanagement of the Iraq War,out of control spending and a general disenchantment with President Bush's leadership, starting with the Dubai Ports deal. Of course, most people who voted for the Dems were trying to send a message, but unfortunately didn't realize that the `messenger' hardly had the country's good at heart,for the most part.

Nor do I consider Giuliani a `monster'. The primary issue of our times is the War on Jihad, and without victory , none of the other issues mean a hill o' beans.
Aside from Duncan Hunter,Rudy Giuliani is the only candidate from either party who truly understands what this war is about and what's at stake, in my opinion.

As for abortion, I understand it's a primary issue for you. But I'd like to repeat something I wrote in response to an earlier comment:

As Mayor Giuiani pointed out,Roe V Wade is a matter of law at this point(even if it is poor law that was a distortion of the Constitution).Any lard head can thump his chest and talk about the evils of abortion, or the sanctity of ` a woman's right' to choose infanticide, but ultimately it's a matter for the courts.

The system here is perhaps different than Britain in that respect.It truly IS a matter for the courts at this point, and it will be resolved in the US Supreme Court, where there are at least three vacancies ( lifetime appointments) due to come up, all of leftist, pro-abortion judges. If Rudy Giuliani says that he will appoint strict constructionists justices,he's merely acknowledging this reality.

Don't believe everything you read in the papers, Oliver.The US has a strongly beating heart, it is still, as Churchill said, the last best hope of humanity and ultimately, you can rely on the common sense of the American electorate to make th eright move in time of danger.

ALl Best,
ff