The Conservative Case Against Politicians Who Might Take Cutting Spending Seriously

Alex Knepper at FrumForum is mad at Rand Paul, the Tea Party standard-bearer GOP Senate candidate from Kentucky, for some reasons just not true (he is allegedly being "boosted" by Mises Institute head Lew Rockwell, which he is not), some potentially objectionable but of little relevance to his potential contributions as a senator (he talks to conspiracy-minded Alex Jones).

The real problem with Paul is that, unlike his Democratic opponent Jack Conway who Knepper endorses in the name of conservatism here, Paul "does not believe in the American exceptionalism of Ronald Reagan’s variety... Paul’s America [is] one in which America retains no global military presence." And to conservatives of the Frum/Knepper variety, that is the one unnegotiable demand of politicians: that they spend more and more on more and more war to certify America's mighty exceptionalism. Debt? Small government? Domestic liberty? The Constitution? That all may bring people out to Tea Party rallies, but really...talk about that stuff too much, and you might as well be Alex Jones.

Behind all of Knepper's assertions is something that lots of dedicated fans of Rand's dad, Texas GOP Congressman Ron Paul have come to seriously doubt: that no matter what he says or does on the way to election, Rand agrees with his dad about everything when it comes to government. It's probably not true, alas. But if it was, that is all the more reasons for Tea Partiers--who Knepper accuses Ron Paulites of overrunning or corrupting--to be strongly behind him.

Indeed, Tea Partiers--dedicated, right, to a smaller, leaner, less destructively overspending federal government--really ought to be even more enthusiastic about certain of Rand Paul's allegedly horribly radical and unconservative views (the very views he is soft-pedaling or abandoning as an official GOP candidate) such as ending overseas intervention and at least de-federalizing the drug war.

But remember, conservatives: it doesn't matter what he'd do about spending, debt, or freedom: Rand Paul will "oppose most of the party’s legislation, anyway!" Conservatism is about supporting the Republican Party, except when it requires us to vote for a Democrat, because the Democrats agree with the Republicans more than someone Knepper is afraid might be a serious libertarian. And that is being serious about electoral politics, conservatives.

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  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    One way to read this is the Knepper--like many allegedly "liberal" pundits--believes that the Tea Partiers are just ordinary Republicans in Indian clothes and black face (to stretch the metaphor) and that he can therefor appeal to them using the usual Republican talking points and rallying cries.

    It will be interesting and instructive to see how that works out for him.

  • obi juan||

    Pretty well I'd guess. I see little evidence to dissuade me that the vast majority of the Tea Party are just the boat people of the McCain 2008 campaign.

  • J00||

    Oh, the vast majority of Tea Partiers are ordinary Republicans; it's just that in the years to come, "ordinary" is going to be taking on a somewhat new and different definition which excludes the likes of, for instance, Lisa Murkowski and Mike Castle. Knepper would do well to get out before we throw him out.

    Rand Paul, by contrast, has come up with a position more in line with the new normal, combining his father's generally sensible economics with a more pragmatic foreign policy that involves judicious application of the military to problems perceived to require a military solution--as opposed to his father's batshit insane notions that the rest of the world is just really, really nice, and would surely leave us alone if we withdrew from it. That's why he's a lot more welcome than--to name just a few examples--Brooks and Frum and his father.

  • Tman||

    The "new normal". I like it.

    I can see the first MSNBC/Dateline special already-

    "TONIGHT: The New Normal. More or less racist than the Tea Baggers" ?

  • juris imprudent||

    Statist rim-artist. He really is afraid someone might take that limited govt nonsense seriously.

  • J00||

    Well, Lew Rockwell--or, as I prefer to call him, Loo Crock Shill--is a bad man, but mainly because his "America fighting a war is never acceptable for any reason whatsoever" bullshit has him committing the same sin as Alex Knepper: voting for treasonous commies just because they agree with him on this one point. That bastard is so full of shit I once caught the people on his hate site praising that notorious anti-Semite Jimmy Carter and saying how wonderfully pacifistic he'd been for weakening our nation's military and cozying up to the PLO and Hamas! And people wonder why I think war protesters should all be classified as hate groups and executed for capital high treason.

    May Loo Crock Shill burn in the same Hell that's prepared for other notorious traitors whose articles he's had on his site, including Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, and Cindy Sheehan.

  • The Thinking Man's NASCAR||

    "And people wonder why I think war protesters should all be classified as hate groups and executed for capital high treason."

    Hey, didn't we have a post that got like 500 comments about an environmental campaign video, and how you need to be really, really stupid to not realize joking about killing people you disagree with isn't cool, funny, or acceptable? Or did you miss that one, fella?

  • J00||

    Who says I'm joking? If that eco-fascist hate video had been made by jihadis, you spineless hypocrites would have been falling over yourselves to proclaim it was all America's fault that they hate us so much they want to kill us. A nation that can't recognize when it has to exterminate its enemies to keep them from exterminating that nation is too dumb to live. We had every right and reason to execute the Rosenbergs for their treasonous activity, and these seditious shitbags you're trying to defend with that lame comparison of yours have done plenty to warrant a death sentence.

  • a||

    Moynihan?

  • ||

    Nahh...it's evil Tony....you know, the one with a goatee.

  • prolefeed||

    I've always envisioned Tony as having a really gay looking goatee.

  • ||

    Which one is Tony?

  • ||

    You are quite the armchair warrior, aren't you. Shouldn't you just go play Modern Warfare?

  • J00||

    What's really going to grill your pansy ass in the near future is how some of those video games are going to start shading into reality soon.

  • ||

    Is there a game shading into reality called Internet Tuff Gai? One that you play? A lot?

  • ||

    LOL +1

  • ||

    Awesome, when can I get my Portal gun?

  • Lord Ballsac||

    What a JOOB.

  • a||

    "And people wonder why I think war protesters should all be classified as hate groups and executed for capital high treason."

    Which Reason editor is this?

  • ||

    You use the word "traitor" pretty loosely.

  • Enyap||

    Dondero is that you?

  • cynical||

    "That bastard is so full of shit I once caught the people on his hate site praising that notorious anti-Semite Jimmy Carter and saying how wonderfully pacifistic he'd been for weakening our nation's military and cozying up to the PLO and Hamas! And people wonder why I think war protesters should all be classified as hate groups and executed for capital high treason."

    But how can he be guilty of treason against Israel if he isn't a citizen of Israel?

  • J00||

    As if the "Great Satan" (America) isn't next on their priority list after the "Little Satan" (Israel) is eliminated, and as if we two couldn't switch rankings with each other on that list at any time. Jimmy Carter likes cuddling up to terrorists just as much as all the other treasonous blame-America-first shitbags on Loo Crock Shill's hate site do.

  • ||

    Is this supposed to be satirical?

  • Jesse Walker||

    That bastard is so full of shit I once caught the people on his hate site praising that notorious anti-Semite Jimmy Carter

    Thank goodness you caught them red-handed! Question: Should Carter be executed too, or merely those who express praise for him?

  • J00||

    Everyone caught cuddling up to known terrorists as he and those shitbags praising him on that hate site have been should be executed.

  • prolefeed||

    I'm gonna call this as some obvious trolling. Not many real people hold such cartoonishly riled-up opinions.

  • ||

    You were doing so well, dude. Then you had to go too far and overtroll.

  • West Texas Boy||

    Yeah, if he had just stuck to 1-2 posts he would have gotten away with it.

    After the 4th I was going, "ah, new troll"

    It's kind a creative direction, though, for H&R - Heritage Foundation Rambo. I'll give him credit for that.

  • alan||

    And people wonder why I think war protesters should all be classified as hate groups and executed for capital high treason.

    Actually, I'm pretty sure you have never been so much as a bleep on my radar screen. Are you like one of those cruise missiles that fly low and sneak up on my ass while I rattle my saber at the Great Satan while screaming out 'Ya! Ya! Ya!s' like I have seen it done in Hollywood movies, and blow my treasonous shit up? You are just like that, right? Underzog, is that you?

  • Colin||

    Alex who?

  • ||

    You really can't call anything coming out of that Canuck Red Tory moron's site (Frum) as
    really representative of conservatives and/or libertarians.

    Hell, FrumForum makes WeeklyStandard look like Mises.org.

    I remember Frum up here in Canada in the 90's. He was peddling the same David Brooks "national greatness" dogshit that he's still pushing now south of the border.

    He was ignored out of Canada then, and I'm sure he'll be ignored out of the U.S. soon enough.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Unfortunately, a lot of the shit coming out of the Con government here in Canada resembles that.

  • ||

    Well, Frum *was* a central part of the Republican establishment under W.

    That the Tea Partiers and various Republicans are revolting against his ideas is one of the stronger things in their favor.

  • ||

    And of course Brink Lindsey tried to argue that sacking one of the few conservatives to actually call people unpatriotic was a bad sign for libertarians.

  • Jerry||

  • ||

    That may well be true, but douchebags like Frum had nothing to do with it.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Correction: Cuntbags like Frum had nothing to do with the win side of that ratio.

  • Ron L||

    Of all people, Tony Judt makes the point quite clearly in "Post War" that Europe has been free-riding on the US defense budget since the end of WWII. It seems they have allies on the congressional right; those who are just in love with the latest and greatest in weaponry.
    Cutting the defense budget to zero won't stop the bleeding, but I'm tired of supporting Euro Lefties' vote-buying antics. If we cut enough to let them defend themselves, I'd be pleased. And maybe we'd stop hearing the sanctimonious twaddle from the Euro-trash and their US congregations.

  • J00||

    Yeah, well, a lot of us on the right are into cutting that kind of thing too. See, if you guys ever had the sense to target proposed military budget cuts to things we also despise, such as military welfare for Europe, those proposals would be a lot better received.

    "Hey, how would you like to cut off funding for a lot of ill-conceived foreign aid to a bunch of whiny, ungrateful European welfare addicts?" sounds a lot better than "We hate having a strong military! Cut it all back and to hell with national defense and being able to deal from a position of strength!"

  • Ron L||

    J00|10.4.10 @ 9:15PM|#
    "you guys"
    Uh, you talkin' to me?

    "military budget cuts to things we also despise, such as military welfare for Europe, those proposals would be a lot better received."
    In case you missed it, that's *exactly* what I posted about.

  • J00||

    Uh, you did notice there are more posters than just you and me hanging around here, didn't you?

  • ||

    How about "we hate having what is essentially a huge welfare program for military members" and "prior to WWII, when we weren't at war, our military was incredibly small and we were just fine".

    Why you think we need a colossal military, with all the graft, waste, pork, and bullshit that goes along with it is beyond me.

  • J00||

    Some strength is in numbers, some in technology. The reason we were fine with a smaller military back when we weren't at war is because we WEREN'T AT WAR. Duh. The world's gotten smaller, and our enemies have gotten a lot more deviously deadly and trickier to single out and destroy, which is why we need a strong military, but this is not necessarily the same thing as a big one. Those unmanned drones the military is increasingly employing against our foes are likely to be the wave of the future, while downsizing the human staffing of the military might actually come to be a way of strengthening it if we start getting enough robotic replacements.

  • ||

    If our enemies are more devious and trickier, wouldn't we need a more precise military? What does strong have to do with it?

    Face it; you like that tough guy feeling of being able to say shit like "hurr hurr the frogs have tanks with three speeds for reverse hurr durr" while simultaneously being proud of having a huge, bloated military. What's "conservative" about that (you claim to be on the right)?

  • J00||

    Precision isn't strength? The last time I checked, it was. I'm proud of having a strong military. As for some of the bloated, top-heavy top brass and bureaucracies with their damned "one-hand-behind-your-back" rules of engagement bullshit, I'd be more than happy to see huge numbers of them downsized and out on the streets, especially if that makes the military stronger.

  • The Real Story||

    Face it; you like that tough guy feeling of being able to say shit like "hurr hurr the frogs have tanks with three speeds for reverse hurr durr" while simultaneously being proud of having a huge, bloated military. What's "conservative" about that (you claim to be on the right)?

    Reminds me, Reagan's one real strategic advantage in Washington was he made life long acquaintances with members inside French intelligence who he could rely on to tell him what was for real and what was twaddle in Washington. They were exactly the kind of low cost, small footprint, and efficient operation that makes our bloated system look ridiculous like the last decadent period of a great empire in comparison.

  • Dello||

    And if we leave Iraq and our second Vietnam, then WE WOULDN'T BE AT WAR either.

    We're already using drones to blow everything to hell, what do we warm bodies in 100+ countries for?

  • J00||

    We weren't at war on 9/11 either... or so we thought. The Islamofascists seem to have had other ideas, though, and they still do.

    Why the warm bodies in 100+ countries? Good question. If we've no compelling strategic interest there, let's close those bases and let those losers build their own damn armies.

  • J00||

    "We weren't at war on 9/11 either... or so we thought. The Islamofascists seem to have had other ideas, though, and they still do."

    Compared to you, I'll take those Islamofascists. Their death-toll for innocent civilians is smaller.

  • ||

    Talking to yourself again? I think someone forgot to take his medication...

  • M. Simon||

    Well not counting that they cause 90% of the casualties to Iraqis in the war.

  • Andrew S.||

    The greatest thing on the internet is when a troll and his alt are talking to each other, and the troll forgets to change the name when responding to himself.

  • Ron L||

    Episiarch|10.4.10 @ 9:24PM|#
    "How about "we hate having what is essentially a huge welfare program for military members" and "prior to WWII, when we weren't at war, our military was incredibly small and we were just fine"."

    Problem here: Prior to WWII, long-range death was delivered by planes that might cause, oh, 1,000 deaths in a major raid and take hours to do so.
    Now, it's caused by 'hittles' that take zero time and can level several hundred square miles.
    I'm not arguing that we need what we have; I'm arguing that what we need isn't settled and it's current far more than *we* need as a result of the Euros' free-riding.

  • M. Simon||

    In the case of a military it is better to have too much insurance than not enough.

    The trouble is that it is hard to tell when not enough is reached until you reach not enough. And that particular condition really hurts.

  • TMLutas||

    The last time we had a small military, the British empire was keeping piracy in check. The UK and/or EU isn't likely to step up to the plate anytime soon on this one so it's unrealistic to think we can cut back to 1930s inflation-adjusted level funding in a responsible way. Like it or not, in the heyday of our small military, we were free riders to a certain extent. We can't do that anymore.

    We also have the problem that sub-national groups are capable of doing a lot more damage than before. That's a problem that's real and only going to get worse.

    Finally, we've got so many nations infantalized and functionally disarmed that it would be irresponsible to cut them all off cold turkey. Putting the globe on a defense shield cold turkey regimen is likely to lead to a lot of violence, a good chunk of it to US citizens. That doesn't mean we can't do some pull back (and we already have) but that sort of thing really ought to be done with an eye to minimizing casualties and warfare.

  • jtuf||

    I would be happy to close the base in Germany if we can find a better way to run a military hospital in friendly territory close to our current battle fields.

  • Ron L||

    How 'bout we decide on a battle field closer to home?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Our enemies are far away.

  • Ron L||

    Cite please.

  • Zero||

    Not to agree, but the answer is at least an ocean.

  • Ron L||

    Zero|10.4.10 @ 10:14PM|#
    "Not to agree, but the answer is at least an ocean."

    What enemies which can cause us harm an ocean away?

  • J00||

    BIN LADEN HAS ICBMs!!!11!!

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Man, he must be saving them for one hell of a party or something.

  • ||

    You might have missed it, there was so little media coverage, but on September eleventh in 2001, some enemies whose leaders were an ocean away sent some people over here who managed a sucessful attack on New York City. Believe it or not, they managed to take down the World Trade Center, smash part of the Pentagon--and--if not for the actions of a group of passengers on a plane, might have added the White House or the Capitol building to their list of successfully hit targets.

    It's true--google it, the WTC is gone.

  • KGB Man||

    That's what you fucks get for siding with them against us. We just wanted their piece of shit country. It's not like our economic model was so unstable we wouldn't have died of starvation by 2000. Nope, our uncorruptible system with no cracks in it was completely destroyed by you funding crazy medieval opium farmers.

  • M. Simon||

    I vote for New York. Again.

    But San Francisco would be good too.

  • jtuf||

    Sure, invading NYC would be easy, but occupying it would be a nightmare. No smoking tobacco, no transfats, limits on the number of porn shops in a given neighborhood, no food carts in vast sections of the city, getting arrested for giving a cop the middle finger, ... Would we really want to subject our troops to that type of life?

  • J00||

    If that's of strategic value to us, then we have reason to keep it open. Otherwise, the Germans can try building their own damn hospital. What, do we gotta do everything for those bloody Euro-trash?

  • jtuf||

    I'm open to plans to pull out of the region. Closing the military hospital in Germany should be the last part of the plan, because as long as we have military personal in the area, we have to provide a safe hospital for them.

    Let's consider the steps we need to take to bring all our military personal out of the region.

    1) Withdraw from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

    2) Close the navy bases along the Arabian Gulf and let the GCC protect their own export routes.

    3) Give up plans to occupy Israel with a multinational force (http://www.indynewsisrael.com)

    3. Pull our military personal out of Kuwait, Egypt, Djibouti, Turkey, Greece, Serbia, Spain, Italy, the UK, Belgium, and the Netherlands. There are over a dozen other countries in the area with smaller deployments, but I think we can keep them without much trouble. (www.motherjoines.com, 2007)

    After we do all that, I think we can pull out of Germany.

  • jtuf||

    Libertarianism considers running the military to be one of the few justifiable functions of government. I wouldn't lump the military in the pile of things to cut just for the sake of cutting. It's possible that we should cut military expenditures on the grounds that they are unnecessary. To debate that, we'll have to go into the specifics of which bases should be closed and why.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Anything in South/Central America should go. Also, anything in Europe. Relocate all those troops to Iran for a few rather intense months and then relocate home to be mostly decommissioned.

  • jtuf||

    Cytotoxic, I like your plan with one small amendment. We should keep the military hospital in Germany open until all our deployments in the region are done.

  • prolefeed||

    Libertarianism considers running the military to be one of the few justifiable functions of government.

    Not all libertarians are minarchists.

  • ||

    The only way a libertarians society could have a military is if enough people wanted to pay for it.

  • Ron L||

    jtuf|10.4.10 @ 9:14PM|#
    "Libertarianism considers running the military to be one of the few justifiable functions of government. I wouldn't lump the military in the pile of things to cut just for the sake of cutting."

    Right there in the first sentence: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense,..."
    And while the government does it poorly, we really have no choice but to accept the mis-management.
    But that sure doesn't mean that those charged with it are pure of motives; they need scrutiny as does any government program.

  • SIV||

    Jeeze Doherty, your trolling is worse than " Max". FrumForum is conservative like Bill Maher is libertarian.

  • The Thinking Man's NASCAR||

    Zing!

  • ||

    Rand Paul wants to slash spending and decrease the size of gov't but the fact that he doesn't want to continue our expensive (in terms of life and money) adventures overseas makes him unworthy of conservative support? The world needs more Rand Pauls.

  • Ron L||

    Yep.

  • M. Simon||

    We had a country full of Rand Pauls in the 20s and 30s. You want to give it another go?

  • ||

    Keep pushing that bullshit around, someone will buy it.

  • jtuf||

    M. Simon, you make a valid point. Ignoring threats when they are small leads to larger wars in the future. The challenge is differentiating between a small growing threat and a small shrinking threat. It reminds me of the serenity prayer.

  • ||

    I'm not sure that I've even heard about this Alex Knepper until last week. But I did find that the only thing that Knepper found worth discussing in the aftermath of the tragic death of Tyler Clementi was a fight with gay rights organizations. And now Knepper favors a Democrat against one of the few Tea Party candidates who doesn't flaunt his social conservatism. What a douchbag this Knepper.

  • M. Simon||

    I know Libertarians believe we should vastly scale back out military forces around the globe.

    Question: who will fill the power vacuum? Will you like it if it is China? Or Russia perhaps?

    Don't play you say? Well it was tried in the 1920s and 30s. The calculation today is that the final costs exceeded the benefits. Can we be sure this time will be different?

  • ||

    The fact is that our global military presence is not what is keeping Russia or China from invading us. There are these little things called globalization and trade that make Russia and China peaceful. Military power has been replaced by economic power. So why are you still in the Cold War mindset?

  • dtmack||

    Many people have made the mistake of thinking that economics would preclude military action. A good example is the CW in Europe just prior to the outbreak of WWI.

    Many at the time thought the countries were so linked economically that a long war was impossible, since it would be runious to the powers that be in all countries.

    They were wrong then, and are wrong now. Our potential enemies are much different and more elusive, as well. They don't necessarily have a stake in the status quo, or at least they don't realize they do.

    That said, our Military presence in the world is going to shrink, whether you think it's a good thing or not. We can no longer afford it. I just hope somehow we get leadership with the wisdom to do this without precipitating a global crisis.

  • jtuf||

    Power vacuums are a problem. We should retract our military presence gradually so that we avoid a major collapse. Sooner or later, every nation has to pull back. It's better to do it while we are strong enough to do it properly. The hasty retreat of European colonial powers after WWII was not a pleasant situation.

  • ||

    Why is it that all the neo-con fags come over here when war is mentioned? Shouldn't you guys be writing up excuses for not serving your country you goddamned unpatriotic terrorist lovers?

  • ||

    "Conservatism is about supporting the Republican Party..."

    The Hell it is!!!

  • ||

    Didn't anyone tell you: Frum Forum isn't conservatism?

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