There has been alot of debate recently about the direction that the Republican Party is heading in. On one side of this chasm, we have the Republican intellectuals; David Brooks, David Frum, Peggy Noonan and George Will to name a few lining up against the conservatives; Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity etc.
TO set it up in a far simpler fashion, we have the Old Guard Republicans vs. the New Media Conservatives. Also, what is lot in the cacophony of noise between the two camps is each sides interactions with everyday modern Americans, you and I. Now, David Brooks, who for me is always a must read, published a piece in the New York Times, decrying how talk radio is really aimed at a niche audience.
It is the story of media mavens who claim to represent a hidden majority but who in fact represent a mere niche — even in the Republican Party. It is a story as old as “The Wizard of Oz,” of grand illusions and small men behind the curtain.
What is most interesting in all actuality is that the niche audience that is being "preached" to by the small men behind the curtain is reaching more people than David Brooks column each week in the New York Times. What Brooks and the conservative intellectuals of today's day and age seem to think from their ivory tower is that the audience for Rush or Mark Levin are not free-thinking individuals who make their own decisions. Following Brooks logic, if Mark Levin was really all that influential, what he would say for his audience to do would be done lickety split, no questions asked by the stupid silent majority. It didn't happen, so they have no say within the conservative movement and should just let us handle the policy issues...mmm-kay.
This is childish thinking for someone as intelligent as David Brooks and goes to show that he is no longer in touch with conservative principals. If he was a conservative, Brooks would understand that we are all free-thinking individuals and are not happy to just hop onto the bandwagon of the first nice candidate with perfectly creased pants and a worn out copy of Reinhold Neibhur which he uses to Pied Piper proto-statists who are looking for a savior.
Conservatives are free-thinking individuals who understand the fallen nature of man and the ability of power to corrupt individuals and would thus like to keep as much centralized power away from the government as possible. This is why we prefer to allow the free-market to sort out our economic differences. Sure, we get walloped on the chin when we make mistakes, but we learn from them and begin to realize over the course of our lives that no one individual person is infallible. This is why the conservatives in the Republican Party were able to peg President Obama so accurately.
The conservative "intellectuals" are not the ones who are bringing forward the good ideas anymore, or trying to find ways to apply conservative principals to the issues of the day. Certainly, there are instances where the "intellectuals" position a plan for an issue of the day, such as George Will's column in the WPost last week.
So, instead, forces should be substantially reduced to serve a comprehensively revised policy: America should do only what can be done from offshore, using intelligence, drones, cruise missiles, airstrikes and small, potent Special Forces units, concentrating on the porous 1,500-mile border with Pakistan, a nation that actually matters.
This is similar to the thinking of Joe "I hope people take me seriously" Biden. Conduct a counter-terrorism operation from out of the country to reduce military casulties. Now, this is simply a re-tread of a democratic idea. Get out and take care of it without boots on the ground, it is politically tenuous. This is could be considered a conservative idea in the 1930's when we were isolationists, but one thing George W. Bush did tie to conservatism was the neo-conservative idea of nation building. Wouldn't it be better to try and give the Afghani's some true stake in the world economy. How about a pilot program to get some of our Opium for medical usage from the Afghans. Give them a stake in the world at large. That is was in conservative.
The idea that conservatives are no longer offering the types of policy and popular books that brought conservatism into vogue, Free to Choose, The Road to Serfdom, Conscience of a Conservative is a complete joke. Mark Levin's Liberty and Tyranny is one the best conservative policy cases that has been made in this generation. Also, JOnah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism is quite possibly the best history of the American Left, who make no mistake are in charge right now, that I have read.
What we are really seeing in this country now is a backlash against big government conservatism and liberalism. We are moving more in the direction of a Libertarian style conservatism. What will be interesting to watch is whether the movement we see now, Tea Parties etc, continue. I believe they will as the audience for talk radio and Fox News as well as anything attached to Andrew Breitbart and Glenn Beck continues to grow and the influence of the Ivory Tower Conservatives wane.
Big government conservatives had their man in George W. Bush(voted for him twice) and now the party wants to go in a new direction.