•Welcome, Post readers (if any). I must begin by saying I was selling Alex Bodnar short by calling him merely “bass player” in my article today in New York Post about the conservative rock band he’s in, Madison Rising. He is a guitarist who also plays the bass – and I mean no insult to bass players by apologizing for that oversight. (If you want a commemorative hard copy, it’s the issue with the headline “ELEVATOR DEATH TRAP” on the front page.)
•The members of Madison Rising reflect a fairly easy-going consensus form of conservatism, honoring troops without disliking Ron Paul, respecting core moral values without harping on religion. This big-tent approach is something they could learn from over at National Review.
I notice that NR, in their board editorial warning Republican voters away from Newt Gingrich in surprisingly harsh terms, also took a brief, tangential swipe at Ron Paul, saying he’s returned to “vile” 9/11 conspiracy theories and proven in the process that they are the very essence of his philosophy.
Just for starters, Paul’s references to the 9/11 attackers likely being angry over U.S. military intervention in the Middle East is itself evidence he doesn’t think they were dispatched from DC, if that’s what you’re implying – and if that is what you’re implying without saying so, that’s almost as irresponsible as the conspiracy theorists themselves using weasel language like “whoever attacked on 9/11.”
Look, I wish Paul were a bit more hawkish myself – you may remember me saying so even as I praised him in an article on the National Review website during his previous presidential campaign – but when you (and by you I likely mean Lowry in the case of this unsigned collective editorial) stoop to the level of saying that merely criticizing the “glee” (admittedly a poor word choice) of the Bush-hawks in having a rationale for open-ended war is the same thing as peddling 9/11 conspiracy theories – and I assume it’s the “glee” comment by Paul that elicited NR’s accusation of “vile”-conspiracy-theory-mongering – you’re getting very close to saying that anyone who wants war to be rare or limited is some kind of schizophrenic or UFO nut.
Unsurprising, perhaps, given the vehemence with which Lowry (challenged by Tim Carney) defended NR’s cover-story denunciation of antiwar conservatives as “un-American” (not that the guy who wrote that story, David Frum, is in such good standing with the right himself these days – and I’ll waste no pity on him, as all of these people are starting to get on my nerves; perhaps some Bush administration hawk should write a frank memoir about welcoming the open-ended military intervention 9/11 offered and call it Things Related and Unrelated – Google it if necessary).
•Again, I wish Paul were a tad more hawkish myself, but with his possible victory in the Iowa caucus on January 3 the closest shot the world has ever had to rolling back big government – at the time when we most need to put our fiscal house in order – it is monomaniacal to insist on hawkishness-or-disqualification from Paul, who is essentially the only Republican candidate perfect on every other issue by NR’s own presumed standards (and unlike Romney et al you know he means it).
I will ask now, as I asked four years ago on NR’s website,is war now the only thing that matters? Not just a tolerable or maybe-plausible strategy, but the exhaustive definition of acceptable conservatism? That would be insane.
And, hey, even if Paul is a bit nuts (I think all politicians are, after all), why are the others not as readily disqualified for their bizarre deviations from both ideological orthodoxy and basic common sense? And I ask this as a tolerant man who honestly doesn’t much care that Romney is likely wearing magical underwear even as I type these words (or that Paul likely regards authoritarianism as Satanic).
I just want freedom and the property rights that enable individuals to use that freedom – so I hope that Paul wins on January 3 and is aided by every willing and able conservative media professional. But if he has to win despite the opposition of most of the conservative establishment, then I hope the current conservative establishment goes down the drain screaming alongside all the other socialists.
One can’t help wondering, in fact, whether a President Gingrich would end up hating the conservative establishment as much as a President Paul would, after some of the things said about Gingrich in recent days. Betting the house on Romney, establishment?