Friday, October 31, 2008


Win, lose or draw, I think the blow-up over Rashid Khalidi will end up hurting papers like the National Review more than helping them. What it will show is the kind of bigotry and ignorance that a large portion of the American public has soured on and the intellectual dearth of of the neo-conservative right. The issue of Khalidi is a watershed moment, not just for its presidential politics aspect but for the wider shift in the punditry as to who gets attention by the actual players in foreign policy. If, as the polls tend to indicate, Sen. Obama does win the presidency then writers like Andrew McCarthy will find themselves locked out of any serious discussion on foreign policy. Not because of ideological reasons, but because everyone a President Obama would listen to and take their opinion into consideration would cite McCarthy at exactly the wrong kind of thinking needed to resolve any Middle Eastern crisis. The same goes for people like Rich Lowry and Bill Kristol.
That, perhaps, is the saddest thing about the way this election has been fought. Not only have so many of the rightist literati displayed an amazing inability for independent thought, but after the election is over how many of these gents will keep their cushy pundit jobs? I'm not saying that a win by Sen. Obama should obligate papers like The Weekly Standard or National Review to purge their ranks of blithering idiots, but that such a win will necessitate such a purge if those papers are to retain any credibility within Washington circles. A win by Sen. McCain, while emboldening those same pundits, I think would also embolden those opposed to such moronic ideas to the point that conservative intellectuals make a full and meaningful break with the party to form their own. And I think such a break would pull many members of Congress with them as it casts off the clearly broken ideology of neo-conservativism as well as the even more dogmatic social conservatives.
Perhaps such a third party would pull several members of the Blue Dog Democrats in as well, who find themselves more aligned in attitude with the break-away conservative intellectuals than with the Democratic party, which I actually won't mind. If the result of the actions by and on behalf of the McCain campaign force the creation of a third party with a genuine intellectual backbone and high profile support in both members of Congress and a donor base then American politics will benefit as much, if not more, than an Obama presidency. Leaving the remiants of the Republican party in shambles will force a rethink of their methods, but not their ideology. Instead you'll have a third party more in line with classical liberalism and libertarianism freed from the need to cater to the culture wars. You'll have a Democratic party free to push a more aggressive agenda while the old Republicans will have their own party to push their social and national security agenda.
I think a break-up of the Republican party is finally coming and will leave the social and neo-conservatives at the margins while the new party formed of moderates and intellectual conservatives will do battle and find compromise with the Democrats. It's all a matter of who is willing to take the chance at breaking away from the debunked platform of Republicanism and strike out in a new direction that focuses on business and liberty versus those willing to remain in their hybrid state as an old Republican. Either way, I like the idea of true conservatives returning to their ideological roots while letting the toxic parts of the party try and make it on their own. Not only will I have better blog posts to read, but we might actually get a government able to act and act in the interest of all Americans, not just those who swear fealty to the Republican leadership.