There was a phenomena beginning in the seventies of democrats who had fiscal conservative (or perhaps libertarian) views voting for Republican candidates. Many were Democrats simply by culture and blood, not by brain power. Their parents held FDR in such high regard that party became part of life, not cognition. This was instilled from the womb, a immutable part of the family, "We're all Democrats..." But things changed, and by Reagan's second term, "Reagan Democrats" were a very large voting block. Reagan reached across the political divide and spread conservative views. His compromises forced liberals to sacrifice socialist ideals.
Jumping forward, there was a revolution in the Congress in '94, where conservative leadership convincingly moved into power. How did they do it? Did they compromise and become more moderate? No, they defined precisely what they stood for, and reached across the political divide to embrace likeminded voters. Conservative political philosophy is able to win politically, and coupled with dynamic personality and leadership (ala Reagan) is guaranteed to succeed.
But in the last ten years, a new force has swelled in the Republican womb. A purely political fetus, a genetic aberration with a seriously ugly head. Born from compromise and the idea that to win, you need the 'moderate' vote, this new movement, the Pseudocons, is sweeping the Republican party. What defines this new core? Populism is its exterior visage, with a murky, shifting interior of muddy values. The values were once clean, clear principals of conservatism. But they have been sullied through expedient arrangements design to "get things done".
By accomplishing objectives the insatiable populist beast is held at bay. But the cost has permanently severed the umbilical cord of this premature movement. Is it old enough to survive? Who can predict the future. Irregardless, for the health and welfare of the mother, it needs to be born now. Will it be a natural birth? Or does it need to be cut out... It appears that major conservative voices are calling for a C-section.
Yes, this 2008 Presidential primary is the context. McCain appears to be gathering support in the Republican primary. He is the de-facto leader of the Pseudocons, the model definition of the philosophy. There is no need to argue about specifics. It's the principal that fits even better than the bad legislation. What principal? That of reaching across the political divide to "work together" and "compromise" on things that are inherently not conservative in the first place.
Notice the difference? Successful conservative movements find ways to look to the future, see positive ways to get others to agree with conservative principals and go in that direction. Pseudocons take conservatism for granted, and move their own philosophy down the moderate road, hoping that the road is wide enough and well paved that the traditional conservative base will travel it by default. But we aren't going up hill. We are not reaching for a higher place. We are descending into the cesspool of populist socialism. There are no true political moderates, just a growing number of popular socialists.
What does this mean for those who are conservative? Should we compromise our principals and choose the "lesser of two evils" by supporting McCain if he is the Republican nominee? I would argue that it is fundamentally wrong in this case. Principal above party must come at some point. Don't sully your own hand, cleaning off the stain might be harder than you think. I realize there are many who will willingly support McCain from conservative ranks. But to those I would ask only one thing, will you re-evaluate you own conservative values? With McCain, you are joining a new movement, you are a Pseudocon voter. Fight against the thought all you want, rant and rail about all the reasons why "we" must win, but realize you have contributed to a illegitimate offspring. A mutant that is unlikely to survive.
cross posted at Red State