There is a fight for the soul of the Republican Party. On one side, you have the neoconservatives, originally led to power by Newt Gingrich with advice from strategist Karl Rove; the neoconservatives sought to redefine the United States and achieve permanent majority status. To do this, the neoconservatives took the rhetoric of classic conservatism, and the economic neoliberal policy of economists like Friedrich Hayek to create their own form of conservatism. This brand was easy to sell; they called themselves Conservatives, tying into the more classic conservatism of Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater. The lie was fermented, they got away with it despite the whole charade being only about the naked grab of power, and were no more conservative than Karl Marx.
However, by claiming to be conservative, they gathered followers who were true-blue libertarian conservatives. At first they listened to the rhetoric and firmly believed it. But, as time went on and the rhetoric continued, these neoconservative ideas embedded into the conservative libertarian thought produced a new creature: the neo-libertarian, now firmly established as the Tea Party. Shedding the vestige of responsible government, they became radicals within the Republican establishment. Fueled by anti-government rhetoric by fanatics like Grover Norquist, they firmly established their own identity after the election of Barack Obama in 2008.
Now we have these two sides, the neoconservative establishment, and the neo-libertarian upstarts. The two worked in partnership for awhile, but the fundamentalist mindset of both groups made any such partnership tenuous at best. And now there is no impression, nor claim, of partnership.
Late last week, neoconservative strategist Karl Rove unveiled his plan to eliminate Tea Party candidates. Monday, they responded, with Ben Shapiro of Breitbart.com declaring:
But victory for conservatives isn’t Rove’s goal. He’s a political insider par excellence, and he’s playing for his political life in the aftermath of 2012. If that means declaring war on the Tea Party, so be it.
They declare Rove a failure, who cares nothing about conservatism; only cares about power. In this they are right, but they fail to grasp that they, too, care nothing about conservatism and are power-hungry as well. A conservative is not someone who would create a Friedman-style corporatist economy; the conservative would seek to dismantle corporate power as an affront to personal liberty. A conservative would not fight against taxes, but instead against the abuse of taxes for an overpowered, expensive, and redundant military machine. Neither are conservatives; both are shams claiming the conservative name.
Conservatives would not be fighting to overturn Roe vs. Wade, fighting against marriage equality or against sex education, or attempting to redefine personhood. Could you honestly imagine Barry Goldwater standing next to the signs you find at Tea Party rallies, or believing that the right to bear arms is absolute and supersedes the right to life itself? Absolutely not. These two groups are fighting for control of the Republican Party, but in truth they have sought nothing but to destroy it. It is up to us to make sure that they do not destroy the country, as well, in their naked grab for power.
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