Friday, April 11, 2008

Where have you gone, Conservatives?

Why does Sean Hannity insist on brow-beating anyone who is to his right? It’s not so unusual to see Alan Colmes pummeled by the provincial Irishman but it’s altogether more objectionable against a man of conservative and libertarian principles.

Libertarian presidential hopeful Bob Barr appeared on Fox News’s "Hannity and Colmes" on Thursday night the 10th only to be maligned as unpatriotic, self-serving, hypocritical, and worst of all: "unconservative". Hannity spewed about McCain’s campaign promises and when Barr said he was reluctant to believe them Hannity flung this one: "So, you’re calling him a liar?" I probably would have said so if provoked like that but Barr took a higher road.

Hannity’s endorsement of Bush’s third term via McCain doesn’t really come as a surprise. McCain’s campaign promises to close the borders, lower taxes, and appoint strict constructionist (i.e. conservative) justices are as good as gold for Hannity. The record, however, suggests differently. Mainstream conservatives always seem to be screaming about how liberal Obama and Hillary’s records are (which they are) but that apparently doesn’t carry over to liberal Republicans who promise to carry on Bush’s policy of perpetual war in the illusion that it will produce peace . . . sometime . . . maybe . . . well, probably not.

Heads have been spinning and continue to spin over McCain’s comment about being in Iraq for 100 years and how it is supposedly taken out of context. Everyone is saying, "He means being in Iraq for 100 years with a presence similar to the one we’ve had in Germany for 60 years and the one in Korea for over 55. Okay, but that brings up the point of why we’ve been in those places for all this time. In our time in Germany the Soviet Union only receded and after the Korean War were never a threat to Central Europe. But what if there is an attack? some ask. There could be an attack anytime! But that does not mean we have a right to have bases and thousands of military personnel across the planet because we have a flawed belief that extremists around the world hate us because we are rich and free. We incite hatred and anti-Americanism because of our actions in the internal affairs of other nations with Iraq being the worst example and war with Iran fast approaching.

Continued military presence around the world is not the solution but the cause for many of our woes. National Review Online writer Clifford May, in a discussion of General Petraeus’s recent trip to Washington , says Iraq is the "heart and soul" of the War on Terror and calls Afghanistan a "strategic backwater." This is an astonishing statement to say the least. Afghanistan was the place that harbored the terrorists who attacked us that Tuesday morning. Iraq no did no such thing. But they could have, some say, but in fact they didn’t and had only gotten weaker and poorer since the Gulf War. Immediately after 9/11 we knew that our enemy was al Qaeda because they inflicted the wound. By essentially skipping over Afghanistan and taking out Saddam Hussein, we made new enemies for ourselves by engaging in an imperialistic war. And if we had not gone to Iraq we would probably not be in this proxy war with Iran. By biting off much more than we could chew, we opened a barrel full of worms. So, our government chose to ignore the counsel of our sixth president and needed to go abroad in search of monsters to destroy who are right now not only bleeding us to death but slowly destroying at the very least our prestige in the process.

And McCain has already promised more war! With what army and what unity of country? And what do conservatives see in McCain that makes his candidacy such a necessity? Well, we always hear, "But he's right on the war."

No. He is the most wrong, but Republicans seem more content to retain power than have any semblance of principles. Republicans used to be opposed to interventionist war. Hannity’s capitulation on McCain demonstrates this perfectly. Either Hannity (and many other "mainstream conservatives" for that matter) is ignorant or is loyal to party first and conservative values second. McCain throws out promises to cut taxes and nominate conservative justices despite a record that screams otherwise but promises more war. Now he gets the support of someone who despite his adulation to the contrary is not a conservative but simply a devoted party man. Libertarian Bob Barr could be the Ralph Nader to John McCain. With Ron Paul staying with the Republican Party Barr represents the greatest threat to McCain’s lust of power. A vote for McCain is a repudiation of conservative values whose strongest credentials are that he is for war and he is the prevention of an Obama presidency or a Clinton restoration.

That’s the best you have? He’s not the worst? It’s a tie if you ask me.

And in the worst irony of all, it is from Barry Goldwater’s old seat that McCain has orchestrated this dissolution of conservative values.

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