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First Day at CPAC
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On the first day at CPAC there were some surprises. Many people stopped at the table shared by TAC and the American Conservative Defense Alliance to pick up copies of the magazine and talk politics. The magazine is generating considerable buzz because it is seen as one of the few genuinely conservative voices seeking a way out of the failed policies of the Bush years. Most of those who stopped by read it on the internet. Nearly everyone who lingered long enough to talk agreed that Iraq and Afghanistan have been disasters and I don’t think that they were just being nice. Many agreed that it might be necessary to leave Afghanistan without further ado.

And interestingly a much larger percentage of the crowd was young, a dramatic change from the gerontocracy prevailing in previous years. Many Ron Paul supporters were in evidence, so much so that they were the most visible group. Ron Paul speaks tomorrow and there was considerable anticipation of that event. On the down side there were a number of Sarah Palinites floating around and handing out material. Few neocons in sight. Bolton spoke and signed a book and the hideous David Horowitz was present and also flogging a book demonstrating how American universities have become hotbeds of terrorism. Also the chinless wonder Mathew Continetti will be performing on a panel. Parking was a bitch. They really should change the venue.

(Republished from The American Conservative by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Conservative Movement 
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  1. I have been thinking for a while that CPAC would be a sort of measuring rod for where the right is at on interventionism vs. non-intervention. I am not necessarily inclined to optimism generally, but I do think the tide is turning decidedly non-interventionist. It is obvious from our increased presence on conservative blogs and websites as well.

    What I am debating is whether the two sides are totally irreconcilable, or if some middle ground can be reached that will allow the interventionists to save face and us to work together. Maybe a “realism” that allows tough talk but is functionally non-interventionist. But it is hard to imagine such. It is not just a matter of facts. For example, does Russia represent a threat to us as Bolton thinks are do they not? But also a matter of premise. If Russia represents a threat to something (status quo stability for example) is it America’s responsibility to “do something” about it.

    I really see very little room for middle ground.

  2. TomB says:

    Dan Phillips wrote:

    “What I am debating is whether the two sides are totally irreconcilable, or if some middle ground can be reached that will allow the interventionists to save face and us to work together.”

    Seems to me to depend on how you define “the two sides.” That is … there’s us who are generally non-interventionists (or at least I hope we are just “generally” so since I don’t think you can ever totally rule out the smartness of some intervention somewhere), and then the “other” side.

    So who is “the other side”? If you mean *thoughtful* people of a *genuinely* conservative/libertarian bent who aren’t corrupt, then I suspect there is indeed a good deal of room for reconciliation. Esp. given that I think such people would have to admit that the Iraq invasion and the continued occupation of Afghanistan isn’t exactly going all that well.

    If you mean to include the *thoughtless* people however, such what can seem the robots who listen to Limbaugh and Company, well that’s more difficult. If the butcher shop of Iraq didn’t convince ’em of the error of their ways though, maybe Afghanistan will.

    Same theoretical possibility with the corrupt hacks who shill for this or that industry in, say, arguing for immigration amnesties and etc. While such hacks seem to me to mean almost all elected Republicans in Congress right now, that’s a problem, but of course the nature of being a hack means they are pliable. They just have to be scared out of continuing their hackdom.

    But you definitely aren’t going to find common ground with the neo-cons I don’t think. Their “genuiness” wasn’t there in the first place. Latching on to Republicans seems to have just been opportunistic. Or, as Justin Raimondo over at called them in what I think is a terribly nasty but still simply brilliant metaphor: the “cowbirds” of American politics.


  3. Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    What “conservatism” now means: the Spite Right.

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