When Big-Government Conservatives Invite Themselves to a Tea Party


His best Rodney Dangerfield impression

Over at the Atlantic website, Conor Friedersdorf catches Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol playing footsie with the Tea Party movement, collects a greatest-misses package of Kristol's big-government cheerleading, then works to this conclusion:

anyone who cares about limited government, as I do, would be foolish to join Mr. Kristol of all people in a "bold" but conspicuously unspecific GOP effort. Our national greatness lies in Constitutional designs that limit our government's ability to seize ever-greater power during times of crisis, not in the willingness of our citizens to demand that politicians of either party save us from crisis by being sufficiently radical in their response.

I wrote about Kristol's TP enthusiasm back in February. And a reminder–we'll be hashing out Tea Parties and conservatism and libertarianism tonight at 6:30 pm, live from Reason HQ.

NEXT: South Africa's World Cup Hangover

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  1. Caption:

    “I’m thinking about that surprised look on your face when I stick the knife between your shoulderblades and twist it. Again.”

  2. Billy Kristol deserves to have his eyes melted out of their sockets with a blowtorch for his cheer-leading of Bush the lesser era neoconservatism.

    1. . . . Among the other stupid things he has said and supported.

  3. Please define neoconservatism. Thank you in advance.

    1. neoconservatism- warmongering socialist, with a fetish for all things Israel and usually in favor of giving lots of money and military support to Saudi Arabia as well.

      1. Neoconservatives are in some quadrant or other of Walter Russell Mead’s typology, but I can’t remember which is which.

        Basically, back in the 70s, neoconservatives were liberals who had begun to believe that much of the welfare state was counterproductive. After Clinton-Gingrich welfare reform, this were generally accepted as correct, so old line neoconservatism is no longer relevant.

        In the 90s and early 00s, neoconservatives were conservatives who believed that the US was gunshy after Vietnam and that military force could be effectively used in the national interest. After Iraq, this idea is generally accepted as incorrect, so modern neoconservatives are no longer relevant.

        The Weekly Standard still publishes some interesting stuff from time to time, though.

    2. Wilsonian Trotskyites is probably the simplistic description.

      1. frikkin succinct!

  4. The case for Bush’s conservatism is strong. Sure, some conservatives are upset because he has tolerated a surge in federal spending, downplayed swollen deficits, failed to use his veto, created a vast Department of Homeland Security, and fashioned an alliance of sorts with Teddy Kennedy on education and Medicare. But the real gripe is that Bush isn’t their kind of conventional conservative. Rather, he’s a big government conservative. This isn’t a description he or other prominent conservatives willingly embrace. It makes them sound as if they aren’t conservatives at all. But they are. They simply believe in using what would normally be seen as liberal means–activist government–for conservative ends. And they’re willing to spend more and increase the size of government in the process.
    -Fred Barnes (from the fucking link)

    This instills me with an intense urge to go to Fred Barnes’ house and beat him with a sock full of nickels. And then set him on fire.

    1. What if we beat him with Nickelback instead?

      1. I’ve got it: use Nickelback’s guitars to beat Barnes, and then the members of Nickelback over their respective heads. As a bonus, the guitars would probably break at some point, and Nickelback would no longer be able to use them to create their “music”.

      2. …assuming they survive the beating.

        1. Beatings should continue until life functions cease.

          1. Nickelback proves that there are indeed justified exceptions to the non-initiation of force principle and areas where the government should limit freedom of speech.

      3. Who gets set on fire afterwards, though?

  5. (…Looks for jar full of nickels to mail to P. Brooks…)

    1. If we just all send him what nickels we have…

      1. If you donate just 5 cents a week to P. Brooks, children in Haiti won’t have to suffer with the knowledge that Fred Barnes shares the planet with them.

    2. I actually have about $200 worth of nickles. That should do the trick.
      (I refuse to spend money that’s worth more in melt than face value. I’m insane that way.)

      1. Gresham’s Law.

        Gresham died in 1579. It hasnt been insane behavior for at least 450 years.

        1. Huh, Aristophanes first noted it in the 5th century BC, so 2500 years.

  6. American hegemony via US worldwide military domination and US protection of Isreal at any/all costs.

    See Weekly Standard. See Project for a New American Century.

    1. This was supposed to be a reply to the Gobbler’s 1:33 post.

  7. (…Looks up definition of “conspiracy” online…)

    1. Fluffy, that definition is what they want you to think!

  8. “Wow, Lindsey and Goldberg are really going at it and…wait…what’s that music? That’s Bill Kristol’s music!”

    *Kristol enters, hits Lindsey with a metal folding chair*

  9. The neocons are slumming because no one outside of fox news takes them seriously anymore. Their power came and went under Bush’s first term (even Bush eventually stopped listening to them). They see the populist as their last chance to latch on to any power under the next power structure.

    1. uhhhh, just saw on CNN’s site where Sarah Palin spoke at FreedomFest and said “We must make sure, however, that we do nothing to undermine the effectiveness of our military.”

      Looks like Kristol has found his new “Big Government conservative” and the base already loves the idiot.

      1. There is an interesting piece on Palin as a ‘tea party’ person over at Foreign Policy:


        I think the trend of Big Government conservatives jumping on the Tea Party bandwagon is inevitable: the neoconservative/Big Government GOP era is out of gas, and a lot of these professional pundits/hacks need a new line to sell to people. The fact that their credentials are in fact in complete opposition to the nominal themes of the Tea Parties seems to be not much of a hindrance: There are no ‘leaders’ out there who are large enough in stature to tell these people to take a hike, so people like Palin, Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, et al, can simply step in and pretend that “they’ve been with it all along!” (with some minor caveats, like we still need Endless Pointless Wars, a Overpowerful Executive, Cultural Conservative Legal Infiltration, etc etc.) Basically, take the preexisting GOP Cultural Conservatism, slap some ‘small government’-lite rhetoric on top, and pretend that’s what the Tea Parties were *always* about anyway!

        Its finding a parade, getting in front of it, and leading it back to the herd. Hijacking, as it were. I expect it will likely work.

    2. Last I heard, Obama appointed Hillary Clinton as Sec of State…Hillary is a warmongering socialist that has a fetich for all things Israel and is in favor of continually giving money/weapons deals to The House of Saud…that makes her a neocon. Therefore, they are still in power .

      1. She did vote for the smarmy AUF in Iraq and never backed off it. 23 Senators had the sense to vote against it.

        Of course, McCain was pitching a war against Russia for their little Georgia fracas. We got the least neo-conny of the bunch in the end.

      2. It’s pretty much manditory for both parties, that if you’re going to hold an office of any significance you must pledge your allegiance to Isreal early and often. Of course the mere mention of this obvious fact gets you labled an anti-semite.

        1. Sadly, the last sentence applies even if the person mentioning the obvious fact is Jewish, and supports Israel more than 3/4 of the time.

  10. Boy, what choices for libertarians: Kristol’s national greatness conservatism or Brink Lindsey’s national nanny liberalism.

    1. Yeah, and now that William Wallace has gone batshit crazy…

  11. Earth to Shriek…

    Oh, never mind.

    1. Let me guess, you were going to pretend Bride to Nowhere Palin is not a Big Government Conservative.

      But you knew I wouldn’t buy that bullshit.

    1. Unfortunately, it was about 25 years too late.

  12. you were going to pretend Bride to Nowhere Palin is not a Big Government Conservative.

    Ooh, you totally saw right through me; of course I was. What else could I have been thinking?

  13. I’m pretty much to the point where someone’s obsession with Sarah Palin exists in inverse proportion to what they have to contribute to society in general.

  14. Ay yi yi. What a bunch of stoopid all condensed in one little place.

    JB: The military is one of the essential functions of govt. Nothing that the Dems do is remotely Constitutional. B–b-b-but TSA Screeners!!!!

    Although not a conservative, Bush is more conservative/libertarian than Gore and Kerry. And McCain was more conservative/libertarian.

    But I hear Pres. Bednarik is doing a bang-up job in Fantasyville.

    I’m sure your libertarian bona fides will come in handy when you’re explaining to the IRS why you don’t have health insurance.

    Let me ape (I said ape! you perverts) RC Dean: I’m pretty much to the point where someone’s use of the word NEOCON exists in inverse proportion to what they know about politics, economics, history, how to properly put on socks.

    1. Bush sanctioned the torture of innocent people (at least people not proved guilty) based on executive fiat.

      However, he did cut taxes for the rich (though he didn’t offset the cost).

      Do you wonder why more people don’t buy into the tradeoff you guys make in the name of “freedom”?

      1. He cut taxes for the poor too. 700 percent if I’m not mistaken.

      2. Thanks to extremely progressive taxation, cutting taxes will result in only the taxes of “the rich” going down by any meaningful amount. The rest of population pays little or no taxes making tax cuts to them basically worthless.

      3. However, he did cut taxes for the rich (though he didn’t offset the cost).

        Government taking less money from people is not a “cost,” just as a company ending a product line and no longer receiving revenue from it is not a “cost.”

        1. Why not? It’s a simple equation: Revenue – expenses. If you’re not for decreasing spending to pay for $600+ billion in tax cuts but require it to pay $10 billion in unemployment benefits, then you’re just a big fat hypocrite. Looking at you, Sen. Kyl (R-Ariz).

    2. Some of us have actually read some of Leo Strauss’s bullshit. I can’t say that those currently described as neoconservative (Cheney et al) have read his stuff, but I’m willing to bet that Kristol and Yoo have.

      Also, I don’t think it is coincidence that Strauss was hatched in Prussia.

      1. Yeah Corduroy, Kristol and his dad, the so called father of neo-conservatism both big fans of Strauss. I’ve seen articles on Strauss from the younger before. I had read once that “Natural Right and History” was passed around the white house via Wolfowitz who was a strong Strauss guy. I would bet Cheney read it. Yeah, I’ve read some of his stuff as well. Same weakness as other moral philosophies. I don’t think he added anything to that arena.

    3. “The military is one of the essential functions of govt. ”

      Agreed. Perhaps the federal government’s only constitutional function. It has, however, never been the constitutional function of the US government to be the policeman of the world, or to offer up US boys as cannon fodder for some Utopian spread of democracy that’s probably not a good idea even if it was possible, or to make the world safe for Israel.

      “Nothing that the Dems do is remotely Constitutional”

      As much as I hate the democrats, that statement is moronic.

      As far as the rest of your BS goes: Bush, Gore, Kerry, and McCain all suck. And while I’m sure I voted the same way as you (if you’re old enough to vote) that doesn’t stop me from pointing out the glaring idiocy of all of them. You’re so caught up with your Red/Blue bullshit, you can’t even make a rational argument. Dems sucking in no way makes Repubs ok. It just makes them the lesser of two evils sometimes.

      Start making sense or go trolling elsewhere. We have enough people to ignore.

  15. Bush sanctioned the torture of innocent people (at least people not proved guilty) based on executive fiat.

    Name one innocent person that Bush said: “Innocent? Well fuck yeah, torture him!”

    Hey, Tony, what’s your favorite FDR internment camp?

    1. Note to Tony: here’s the guy you’re always calling us.

      1. lol


  16. Josey: How do you carry around all that self-righteousness? I hear Kipling makes some decent luggage.

    Anywho, care to refute anything I’ve written or answer any questions?

    Or maybe write an anti-torture poem. Your call….

    1. Project much? Because, that’s quite alot of mileage you got out of a ten-word sentence.

      That aside, so far, I don’t really see where you’ve written anything which contains a substantial position. You asked one outlandishly rhetorical question, somehow managed to use the term libertarian in reference to McCain, and made a few pat pro-government statements.

      So, what am I supposed to refute?

      You say: The military is one of the essential functions of govt.

      This statement is missing a crucial because. How can one engage you in debate when you provide no clue as to your reasoning? The best you can expect to receive here is, not necessarily.

      Similarly, you say: Nothing that the Dems do is remotely Constitutional.

      But you do not indicate any of the reasons why you apparently expect me to regard that document as sacrosanct. Personally, I do not; perhaps you might care to enlighten me.

  17. Tony,
    Like you, I’m so happy we have a president who closed down Guantanamo, got us out of Iraq and Afghanistan, voted against immunity for civil rights violators, etc. That’s why all libertarians love Obama the same way we loved Bush for enacting Social Security and immigration reform.

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