Conservative Crackup Continues

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The American Conservative Union is launching an online magazine aimed at "revitalizing limited government conservatism." ACU Vice Chairman Donald Devine, who will edit Conservative Battleline, explains:

The $7 trillion unfunded liability of the new Medicare prescription drug bill created by a Republican Congress and signed by President George Bush this week is the straw that breaks the camel's back, as it is the largest expansion of non-defense discretionary spending since the Great Society….I had written a memo to conservative leaders six months ago explaining the drift of the GOP and the need for an independent voice but hesitated to make the break. But we are forced to act or see limited government conservatism become irrelevant.

The first crop of articles includes several dissections of the Medicare debacle, critiques of National Review and The Weekly Standard, and Bob Barr's congressional testimony on the threat that the War on Terror poses to civil liberties.

NEXT: Union Blues

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  1. Bab Barr worried about the Patriot Act? Surely you are joking.

    The biggest supporter of government domestic terrorism (aka the Drug War) is worried about the Patriot Act.

    This is a joke right?

    Limited Government? Uh sure.

    If it was me I’d give the Patriot Act in exchange for the drug war ending.

  2. “too bad (conservatives) can’t have solidarity and lead the vanguard like we leftists”

    Stop it! You’re killing me! I’m gonna pee my pants!

  3. Mr. Simon, if you live in the U.S., you get the worst of both. 😉

  4. The ‘limited government conservative’ is a breed of dinosaur. The paleo-con has long since been driven to extinction. It always irks me when someone speaks of the critter as though it still walked the earth. All surviving conservatives believe the government must possess totalitarian powers in order to combat evil. Surviving conservatives possess no sense of irony.

  5. The need for “small government” conservative, as a clarifying adjective, says a lot.

  6. Apparently, The American Prospect hasn’t gotten the memo that there are different kinds of conservatives. They have an article about how neocons can’t claim credit for defeating the Soviet Union, because Wall Street/Kissingerian realists pursued detente.

    This crackup is multifaceted.

  7. The Medicare extension is worrisome because of the additional liability, certainly. On the other hand, surely if one concedes the existence of Medicare in the first place, it wouldn’t really make sense for it to exclude prescription drugs completely. Given a fixed amount of government subisidy towards medicine, surely some of it would be rationally directed towards medicine.

    Of course, we’re not talking about increasing the allowable ways that a fixed pot of money can go. We’re increasing the size of the pot, and that’s where the real objection comes to. Either that, or it’s a case of merely fighting hard to preserve the existing situation and law from being expanded, even though the current situation is far from perfect, and many of the new things covered under the new law might be better than certain things covered under the current law.

    Strangely, I’m reminded of the gay marriage debate. Or efforts to fight against hate crime laws from also covering sexual orientation.

  8. The Medicare extension is worrisome because of the additional liability, certainly. On the other hand, surely if one concedes the existence of Medicare in the first place, it wouldn’t really make sense for it to exclude prescription drugs completely. Given a fixed amount of government subisidy towards medicine, surely some of it would be rationally directed towards medicine.

    Of course, we’re not talking about increasing the allowable ways that a fixed pot of money can go. We’re increasing the size of the pot, and that’s where the real objection comes to. Either that, or it’s a case of merely fighting hard to preserve the existing situation and law from being expanded, even though the current situation is far from perfect, and many

    I have heard some suggest that the new Medicare legislation introduced some competitive mechanisms into the programs which the sponsors are hoping would reduce the program?s long-term costs. I have not seen any analysis which confirms this though and IMNHO this was simply a case of Republicans conceding that this was going to happen and they may as well get credit for passing a prescription drug bill (one less thing for Democrats to run on) while not passing one as large as the Democrats wanted.

    I?m a bit more hopeful though on Social Security since Bush has stayed consistent in his support of Personal Retirement Accounts even during the mid-term elections when any sort of market-based reform was linked to ?Enron? and many Republicans downplayed their support. It?s a clear line of demarcation between Bush and any of the Democratic candidates. Also Bush did say in 2000 that he would not rule out raising the retirement age (and I?ve never heard him back away from this) and I have not heard him rule out means-testing or reducing the COLA?s (which over-state inflation) either. So there is hope for reform yet.

  9. Obligatory Bush supporter response:

    How dare they criticize our president! American Communist Union is more like it.

  10. conservatives disagree? how terrible. just like anti-collective wingnut to have individual opinions!

    too bad they can’t have solidarity and lead the vanguard like we leftists.

  11. If limited government conservatism becomes irrelevant, then the neocons have won. Go get ’em Bobby Barr.

  12. oh, the irony:

    “I’m grateful to David Keene and the members of the ACU from coast-to-coast for all of their help this year. The ACU has been an invaluable partner in advancing our compassionate, conservative agenda”-President George W. Bush
    -the first image on ACU’s website http://www.conservative.org. You have to wonder how long that will last.

  13. Oops, I forgot to close my post with the traditional:

    In Solidarity!

    I feel so much better.

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