In between writing increasingly-frequent blog posts, I am of course supposed to be writing a book, and as we sort out the Super Duper Tuesday results and ask what they mean for the direction of both parties, it’s worth noting a phrase that sums up the real message of that book and that perhaps doesn’t get uttered often enough in mainstream political discourse: “fiscally conservative, socially liberal.”
Neither party’s most gung-ho primary voters are made happy by that phrase, but I hope a plurality of the general public still would be if they heard it once in a while.
I should confess, though, that the FCSL (for short) gambit is somewhat contrary to the usual “fusionist” gambit of conservatives, which is more nearly just “fiscally conservative, socially conservative,” and which is more popular with Republicans but wasn’t getting the intended results (or wasn’t really being pursued) in recent years, the soc con part tending to mask the abandonment of the fisc con part.
So for all fusionism’s virtues, should it — like the even worse “fiscally liberal, socially conservative” formula that Buchanan, Bush, and Huckabee all to some degree represent — be retired next time around in favor of a fresher FCSL approach (preferably with a better representative than Giuliani)?
And who would have thought a similar debate needed to occur within libertarianism, but Ron Paul’s racist-newsletter controversy was a reminder that even among libertarians, who don’t want to use the state for cultural ends, cultural attitudes can end up mattering. Was he (or rather the echo of his former staffer, Lew Rockwell) the last gasp of neo-Confederate thinking in the libertarian movement or will there be some sort of schism among libertarians?
Despite my sympathy for Republicans and initial support of Paul, my real strategy, as those paying close attention may have noticed, is usually to try cutting through all these formulations by just stressing: “fiscal conservatism, fiscal conservatism, fiscal conservatism, fiscal conservatism, fiscal conservatism.” Can’t we just fight about the rest later?
(And don’t forget to join us at Lolita Bar at 8pm to discuss it all.)