Cory Leonard

Archive for December, 2012|Monthly archive page

Farewell to Lieberman

In politics on December 14, 2012 at 2:29 am

Another intriguing moderate reflects on the end of his political career.  Senatore Joseph Lieberman was a Democrat who supported John McCain and then backed the Obama administration on the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

His retirement brings an end to one of the more intriguing political careers on Capitol Hill.Mr. Lieberman, who entered politics in 1970, was known for his unpretentious manner and levelheaded approach to governing. He was perhaps best known for his moderate brand of politics and his emphasis on preserving the ethical standards of a nation whose attitudes and sensibilities seemed at times to move from his own.In 1998, he criticized President Bill Clinton for his affair with Monica Lewinsky, a daring move.

Two years later, he became the first Jewish candidate to appear on the presidential ticket of a major party, when he was Al Gore’s running mate — an achievement he expressed pride over during his floor speech.

via Lieberman, in Senate Farewell Speech, Reflects on His Political Journey – NYTimes.com.

 

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Bring Back Buckley?

In politics on December 7, 2012 at 4:32 am

Is David Welch correct, arguing that a neo-William F. Buckley, Jr. could save the Republican Party from its Tea Party insurgencies?

Buckley’s formula for conservative success rested on “the most right, viable candidate who could win.” He saw the danger the Birchers posed to the party, and in 1962 he wrote a devastating essay in National Review that condemned them for essentially calling on the party to commit political suicide. He dismissed Welch’s outrageous views as “drivel” and “removed from common sense.”

The essay relegated the Birch Society to pariah status. Buckley may have saved the nascent conservative movement from the dustbin of history.

The absence of a Buckley-esque gatekeeper today has allowed extreme, untested candidates to take center stage and then commit predictable gaffes and issue moon-bat pronouncements. Democrats have used those statements to tarnish the Republican Party as anti-woman, anti-poor, anti-gay, anti-immigrant extremists. Buckley’s conservative pragmatism has been lost, along with the presidency and seats in Congress.

via Where Have You Gone, Bill Buckley – NYTimes.com

Not so fast says Jacob Heilbrun in The National Interest.  There is more to this story:

Yes, Christie and Bush could help pull the GOP back to more sensible positions. But invoking the example of Buckley is not the way to do it. The truth is that Buckley launched his own crusade against the Republican establishment, against the middle-of-the-road moderation espoused by Eisenhower. Buckley himself was a pal of Senator Joseph McCarthy’s and on the right of the party. He set out to destroy the traditional Republican party with his own insurgency. He succeeded.

That is the story of modern conservatism. But like many revolutionaries, Buckley saw his own movement lurch out of control.

The Leninists took over in the form of the neocons—endless wars in the Middle East, blind support for Israel, bloated military budgets, extravagant budget deficits, the very policies driving America toward fiscal ruin. Now the right resembles, as Sam Tanenhaus has put it in The Death of Conservatism, “the exhumed figures of Pompeii, trapped in postures of frozen flight, clenched in the rigor mortis of a defunct ideology.”

via Does the GOP Need A New William F. Buckley, Jr.? | The National Interest Blog.

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