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Now that you mention it...

... I remember that too, Jonah.

I remember how in the late 1990s and early 2000s "neoconservatism" was the good conservatism. The New York Times and the New Republic went out of their way to praise the Weekly Standard, not just on the merits, but out of a strange admiration of neoconservatism. This was driven partly by ignorance about what "traditional" conservatives believed, part of it had to do with Pat Buchanan's limited success at dividing all of conservatism between "paleo" conservatives and "neo" conservatives, even though neither group amounted to more than a small fraction of the conservative movement. Another factor was that neocons were seen, favorably, as urban and Jewish and therefore not culturally alien and scary to urban and Jewish liberals. I remember talking to a conservative historian friend of mine who told me that in academic journals anything conservative and intelligent was, by definition, "neoconservative" because unprefixed conservativism was racist, sexist and thuggish and hence could not warrant attention from legitimate scholars.
And then, 9/11 and Iraq.

Suddenly, it turned out that the neocons weren't the "conscience" of conservatism they were the warmongers. This struck the left and liberals as a horrible and embarrassing betrayal. So now, almost everything got reversed. Where neocons were good, now they were evil. And, all of a sudden, liberals found a Strange New Respect for the Old Right. Frank Foer started lavishing praise on Albert J. Nock. Pat Buchanan found traction in the lefty blogosophere and among Naderites.


So what are the chances that I can find some people who denounce racism *and* irresponsible spending? And if I do find them, what do I call them?

Tami, I don't know what you'd call them, but I know plenty of people just like you describe, and I count myself among them.

I'm nostalgic for the good old days when "conservative" meant you were nostalgic for the good old days.

I'm nostalgic for the days when the definition of "conservatism" was recursive.

Actually all this proves is that there's little, precious little "scholarship" on the Left, Barry.

And that's not that surprising when you think about it.

In the mid-1990s REAL Conservatives like Newt Gingrich and Pat Buchanan were the real "threat to contemporary Liberalism" because they espoused things like limited government, lower taxes, term limits, etc.

Liberals pretended that they held a "principled opposition" to these Conservatives.

Now that Buchanan has opposed BOTH Gulf War I (1991) AND the current incursions into Afghanistan and Iraq, Buchanan has a new mantle of "respect" from many Liberals.

Now, I could be just as guilty, in reverse, as I never had much use for the neconservatives - a code word, back in the day, for urban, mostly Jewish, former Lefties, who saw the light...or at least some of it.

However, regardless of the fact that I agree with their stance on the current war on terrorism, the neoconservatives ARE NOT "real Conservatives," at least not in my book.

They've never supported less government, merely MORE EFFICIENT government and their penchant for "democratizing the rest of world," is inane hubris.

Rudy Guliani is an almost perfect candidate for the neoconservatives - he supports a very Liberal social agenda, along with a streamlined, more efficient (cost-effective) government, strong on security (law & order), less focused on social programs.

I'd begrudgingly (VERY begrudgingly) take a Guiliani over ANY Liberal Democrat, but to me, that's a lot like saying, "I'd take a pseudo-American over ANY blatant anti-American."

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