Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
June 12, 2007
POLITICS: "Internationalist Iowa"

Ryan Lizza of The New Republic uncorks a new one on me in the course of a profile of Bill Richardson:

This hunger for a leader who will undo the foreign policy of the Bush years is particularly powerful in internationalist Iowa, a state with a long tradition of peace churches, almost no military industry, and farmers who have always preferred selling to America's foes rather than isolating them.

Iowa is "internationalist"??? Lizza is apparently cribbing from the liberal stylebook in which people who support the active use of American power abroad are "isolationists," people who want to withdraw from the fight and hole up at home are "internationalists," and people who have been active in Republican and/or conservative causes since the Eisenhower Administration are "neoconservatives."

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:46 PM | Politics 2008 | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0)

Does "conservative" have any meaning anymore other than "agrees with a politically popular Republican"?

Posted by: Rob McMillin at June 13, 2007 1:30 AM


Posted by: abe at June 13, 2007 7:53 AM

Rob, I think it depends on which "politically popular Republican" you are referring to. Bush is not a Conservative, he was just the closest thing we could find to one in the last two elections. Hopefully we will do better in "08.

Posted by: maddirishman at June 13, 2007 10:38 AM

I don't count myself in either camp on the Right - the people who say that whatever Bush does is by definition conservative, or the people who say Bush is not a real conservative. Bush is, other than Reagan, our most conservative president since at least Coolidge. He's reliably in the conservative camp on a number of issues - e.g., taxes, social issues - is decidedly unconservative on others (e.g., racial preferences, spending, immigration - though the conservative coalition splits on the latter). Obviously there is vigorous debate about where his foreign policy fits in the conservative spectrum but he is clearly in line with the main doctrines of conservative thought - that the US acts to protect its own national interests, that it intervenes abroad to serve those interests and not merely out of an abstract desire to fix all the world's problems.

Posted by: The Crank at June 13, 2007 10:54 AM

I would add that if you look down the sidebar you will notice that I have been debating Bush's place in conservatism for quite some time.

Posted by: The Crank at June 13, 2007 11:01 AM


Bush does not meet the definition of conservative but he also doesn't qualify completely as a liberal. So, I have to disagree with you assessment that he is the most conservative president since Coolidge (besides Reagan). Bush may be socially conservative and I applaud him for that, but fiscally he is far from a conservative. Gerald Ford was far more conservative if you go by which one was willing to use the power of the veto to control spending.

Posted by: largebill at June 13, 2007 2:11 PM

Bush is conservative on both foreign policy and social policy. He is only "half-liberal" on fiscal matters, being strong on taxes but rotten on spending. Thus GWB is no Rockefeller Republican.

The run-down on Bush:

Free-trader? Yes, on the whole.



Appointer of conservative judges? Yup, again.

Posted by: John Salmon at June 13, 2007 4:45 PM

I didn't see anywhere in her column that she mentioned the word 'isolationist.' She rightfully claims Richardson is an internationalist, but you somehow infer her opinion of Bush as an isolationist. Perhaps a better contrast to Richardson's approach for Bush would be 'unilateralist.'

I like Richardson and want to support him, but I fear he is a tad too much of a lightweight. He certainly dwarfs the foreign policy experience and general curiosity that 'dumbya brought to the White House, but I think after eight years of idiot boy at the helm, we need someone who knows, within ten years, when Roe v. Wade was handed down.

Posted by: Patrick at June 13, 2007 7:02 PM

If Richardson is a "lightweight" I assume you are leaning Joe Biden? Richardson's resume opens a can of woop-ass on the rest of the Dem field.

Posted by: abe at June 13, 2007 9:31 PM

I don't want to speak for Irish (so I apologize ahead of time), but I think his definition of conservative is "small government, but lots of common sense, and read the !@#$% Constitution--meaning if it doesn't say a government can do it, it can't."

I agree that Reagan came closest; Barry Goldwater would have as well. I don't think Bush meets that at all. His outlook is decidedly right wing, but not copnservative in the sense I THINK Irish means. FWIW, I would vote for that kind of conservative any day of the week. They are few and far between.

And I love the "Internationalist Iowa" line. However, since it is the future home of James Kirk, then maybe we could call it, "soon to be interstellarist Iowa."

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at June 13, 2007 10:18 PM

Patrick - Ryan Lizza is a man.

Posted by: The Crank at June 14, 2007 10:22 AM

Oh, and Daryl, that Kirk line almost made me spit out my coffee.

Posted by: The Crank at June 14, 2007 10:24 AM

Daryl, you hit the nail on the head. The world would be a much better place with a lot less politicains and government employees. Especially the ones that really don't understand they they DO work for us.

Posted by: maddirishman at June 14, 2007 12:18 PM

I think "conservative" is pretty much a misnomer for anyone in the Republican party running for national office...just as "liberal" is for any national candidate in the Democratic Party...Libertarians come the closest to true so-called "conservative" viewpoints.

I always find it funny with the term "social conservative"..."social conservative" is about big government. Let's make everything, even consenting stuff, a federal crime and illegal, gambling, prostitution, abortion, physician assisted suicide, etc...And let's enforce it! How do we do that? More men with guns!

Posted by: AstrosFan at June 15, 2007 12:33 PM

AF- It's not a love of "big government" to want to maintain or restore the illegality of what almost everyone, until a decade or two ago, saw as wrong and perfectly within the province of government to ban.

Nothing could be more conservative than to oppose the whims of new found "wisdom" on these questions.

Posted by: John Salmon at June 17, 2007 2:59 PM

This thread is a perfect example of why so many of out problems go unsolved and the challenges we face go unmet. This obsession with ideological purity, this adoption of political philosophy as religion is what's keeping our democracy from working as well as it could. Why isn't it obvious to everyone that as long as we don't abandon the core principles of the Constitution and our democratic principles, different issues and different times will require solutions and approaches which might be characterized as liberal or conservative or a dozen other labels.

Posted by: Rene at June 17, 2007 6:32 PM
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