Monday, May 12, 2008

The Future of American Conservatism

A nice David Brooks piece on the fortunes of the British Tories. Can lessons be learned?

I think Douthat is pretty spot on here, in that modern American conservatives are much more socially conservative (intolerant) than their Tory counterparts. Furthermore, the likes of Norquist and others would love to take the sledgehammer to modern government. Tories seek to decentralize gov't, not destroy it.

Can these elements of US conservatism be tempered into moderation? Well, McCain is trying. See this too:

Very Cameron-esque. But does the base constituency want to follow? Signs point to NO.

Sullivan and a reader suggest that the GOP is beginning the path of "detoxification" in terms of the zealots. For the sake of our country, I hope they are right, but two problems emerge, one short-term, one long-term.

Short-term, look, would John McCain be the GOP nominee without the jumbled race we had from Jan. until March 3? Doubtful. McCain's important victories (NH, SC, and FL) were won with, oh, 35% of the vote. Had there been one clear Movement Conservative candidate v. McCain, the AZ Sen. would have been routed. In short, they STILL don't like them.

Longer term, even if Sully's right, then what? Having experienced high political involvement since the '70's, are the socons just going to abandon the system, or just be quiet? Even if they think the country has fallen to Satan? Doubtful. So, what do they do?

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