The Corner

re: Guns, Babies, Taxes

Sure, I’ll bite. Conservatives have universally coalesced around anti-Communism and the concept of “Peace Through Strength.” Beyond that, there is little agreement on what is the “conservative” view of national defense.

Texas Gov. George W. Bush ran on a platform of (1) no nation-building, and (2) less foreign military involvement. This was after the embassy bombings and the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. It was days before the U.S.S. Cole incident, but Bush did not announce a change of platform after it happened. His campaign advisor, Condi Rice, famously accused Al Gore of wanting to get America involved in other nations’ civil wars. I didn’t think that made Bush a liberal in 2000, any more than his decision to invade Iraq makes him conservative.

What we have — or at least had at one point — is a post-9/11 pragmatism on national defense. Every reasonable person wants to stop the terrorists, yet there is increasing disagreement as to how it should be done. Many liberals (including Hillary Clinton and the pro-war John Kerry of 2002) have found consensus with pro-war conservatives in this pragmatism, and I don’t think they are or were less liberal for it — just more hawkish. (Of course, many of them have proven themselves political opportunists who only supported the war because of the upcoming election, but that’s another matter.)

The contemporary question of pre-emptive war, as Mark Hemingway pointed out here recently and I think correctly, has no univocal conservative answer. You might call Ron Paul “wrong” or even “crazy” for any number of reasons (I do so wish he’d stop talking about the gold standard and appearing on the Alex Jones Show), but I wouldn’t say that he or Walter Jones (R-N.C.) or Jim Duncan (R-Tenn.) are less conservative for opposing the Iraq War.

Keynesian economics, on the other hand — that’s an easy tax issue, at least to the extent that it is ever discussed by politicians and not hard-core economists. Supply-side conservatives believe in marginal-rate tax cuts that spur private-sector investment and job growth. Keynesians want to manage the economy by using infusions of government spending to spur growth, which effectively increases the tax burden on the national economy. At best, Keynesians offer piddling tax rebates (not at the margins) so that consumers will go out and spend the money.

So anyway — Guns, Babies, Taxes — I’d never heard it either before I came here, but that’s often the first question to be asked when a congressional candidate comes to town looking for conservative groups’ support.

Most Popular

World

On Trade, No One Is Waiting for Washington

President Donald Trump’s flips and flops on trade are now as ubiquitous as his 5:00 a.m. tweets. Many predicted that trade-expansion efforts would come to a standstill and world commerce would suffer amidst all the uncertainty. Instead, the precise opposite has happened. In the last few months, it’s become ... Read More
National Security & Defense

Trump’s Syria Quandary

President Trump raised eyebrows recently when he ended a tweet lauding the airstrikes he’d ordered against chemical-weapons facilities in Syria with the words “mission accomplished.” The phrase, of course, became infamous in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq, when President Bush used it in a speech ... Read More
U.S.

Confirm Pompeo

What on earth are the Democrats doing? President Trump has nominated CIA director Mike Pompeo, eminently qualified by any reasonable standard, to be America’s 70th secretary of state. And yet the Senate Democrats, led by Chuck Schumer, have perverted the advice and consent clause of the Constitution into a ... Read More
PC Culture

People Are Losing Their Minds Over Starbucks

We can all easily imagine circumstances in which a manager of a coffee shop or restaurant might properly call the police to ask them to remove loiterers. These are places of business. There’s nothing wrong in principle with calling the cops on non-customers who are taking up space. And there’s nothing wrong ... Read More
PC Culture

The Dark Side of the Starbucks Stand-Down

By now the story is all over America. Earlier this month, two black men entered a Starbucks store in Philadelphia. They were apparently waiting for a friend before ordering — the kind of thing people do every day — and one of the men asked to use the restroom. A Starbucks employee refused, saying the restroom ... Read More