This time it’s The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol. Writes Richard Spencer at Taki’s Magazine:
“The Beltway Right is still venting its collective spleen over Bill Kristol’s latest Times op-ed in which he argues, rather elliptically, that the conservative movement and GOP should get rid of its “small government,” “rugged individualism” talk, which scares people, and instead spend their years in exile developing a governing philosophy for the modern welfare state—not too big, not too small, just right.
Or something like that. The fact is, Kristol’s argument isn’t about the actual size of government, which he takes as immutable, but instead amounts to a kind of semantic game in which the objective is to give the state the most conservative and vigorous-sounding names: “liberalism” is bad, but then government should be big enough to be properly “energetic”; “socialism” is, of course, unthinkable, but “national greatness” is another story.
Michael Tanner of Cato is right to observe that in Kristol’s embrace of Douthat-ization, he’s awfully disconnected from reality and seemingly incapable of understanding why the GOP lost big in the fall. Kristol appears to live an alternative universe in which the House Republicans were defeated due to their devotion to Barry Goldwater and “President Bush’s commitment to bigger, more expensive, and more intrusive government … has brought about his soaring approval ratings.” (Tanner could have mentioned that the GOP floundered in ’08 because of Mr. Kristol’s war, but perhaps this would be a bit too much to ask since his comments appeared at NRO.)
Whatever the case, this certainly wouldn’t be the first time Kristol has advised the GOP and his movement colleagues to tack leftward. Back in ’92, Kristol received kudos from his future employer for trying to remove the “anachronistic” (in his words) pro-life plank from the GOP platform, and throughout the ’90s, he took pains to emphasize that he’s pro-mass immigration and an admirer of LBJ.
Kristol, of course, would never try to make the GOP pro-choice now. After Iraq, the Religious Right remains the most fanatical supporters of expansionist foreign policy in the Middle East—Kristol’s issue numero uno—and he wouldn’t dare question these voters’ fascination with Israel and the End Times and their other bizarre hangups. Kristol has, however, kept up his attacks on the Goldwater-ite wing of the party, and even dedicated pages in The Weekly Standard to the depiction of Ron Paul supporters as crazed hippies. (Well, if Kristol thinks we’re threat, then we must be doing something right!)”
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