Monday, January 03, 2005

What about the future?

One of my main predictions for the coming year is the intensification of intra-ideological squabbling. I expect each party to do quite a bit of soul searching as it tries to determine in which direction it should head. So far, there already have been a number of articles and blog posts that have alluded to differences of opinion on policy, ideological definitions, and other matters related to this point. I wanted to link to a few of those right now, though I unfortunately don't have the time to offer extensive analysis - but don't worry, that is coming down the line.

First off, evidently Christine Todd Whitman is set to release a memoir that, as the Washington Post puts it, "touts the importance of moderates to the future of the Republican Party and flays Bush and his team for ignoring the country's middle." We have also heard in recent weeks remarks from Gov. Schwarzenegger calling for the GOP to move left. Technically this is an intra-party and not intra-ideological debate as neither Whitman nor Schwarzenegger can be characterized as anything like conservatives. But this will certainly become more of a theme as moderates whine, err urge the party to move further in their direction.

David Frum analyzes what he believes will be the most contentious issue for Republicans in the coming years: immigration. This is the lead article in the most recent edition of National Review, so unfortunately there is no link, but the long and short of it is that the party is divided between several camps. On one side there are those, such as President Bush, who seek to make the laws more lenient and who do not wish to crack down on illegal immigration. In another are those who essentially want to shut down our borders. In between are those who want to curtail illegal immigration, but who do not hold any animosity towards legal immigrants. Frum suggests that a smart Democrat coughHillarycough could use this as a wedge issue to peel off Republican voters angered by the President's soft policies.

Of seminal importance of course will be policy differences on the war. There has been well-documented debate between so-called neo-conservatives and paleo-conservatives, with traditional conservatives stuck in betwen, variously arguing pro- and con. There already has been some suggestion made that neoconservatives are waning in influence, many seeing them as being at fault for whatever went wrong in Iraq. There were two articles posted on yesterday's Real Clear Politics on this subject. the first was written by Joseph Galloway in The Miami Herold. He states that the neocons have jumped on the anti-Rumsfeld bandwagon because they want someone else to blame for failures in our Iraq policy. There is also this article from the American (Paleo) Conservative which outlines William Polk's plans for withdrawing from Iraq. It also contains this oh so insightful comment
Hatred of the enemy appeared in a film made by NBC News inside a mosque in Fallujah showing a Marine shooting a wounded Iraqi.

Then there is the more technical debate over terminology taking place between libertarian Timothy Sandefur and Southern Appeal's feddie. Sandefur took exception to some comments made by Robert Bork to criticize the conservative approach to individual rights. Feddie made what I thought was a rather well-thought out reply here, to which Sandefur replied here. Sandefur then offers up his very own definition of conservatism.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. Scan the blogosphere and you will find much more internal squabbling and efforts made to set terms. This is just a taste of things to come.

I will have more to follow on these topics, particularly on Sandefur, in the days and weeks ahead.


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