The Anti-War Right

There are murmurings afoot - from disgruntled Republican Congressmen to a skeptical defense secretary to a maverick but refreshing Republican candidate, Ron Paul. My column in the Sunday Times is on this strange and perhaps fleeting convergence:

[Ron Paul's] very presence reminded Americans of what the Republicans used to be. They were once the fiscally prudent, freedom-loving isolationists of the United States.

The idea that the party of Eisenhower or Goldwater would have suspended habeas corpus indefinitely, as Bush has done for “enemy combatants”, would be unthinkable. The idea that they would have tried to occupy and rebuild an entire country in the Middle East is unimaginable. They were ferociously anticommunist, but also wary of direct engagement in foreign countries and deeply suspicious of all wars.

This kind of prudence and caution was once the hallmark of the middle of the country and its Midwestern American values. Paul reminded Americans of this past. He told them that the Republicans opposed the second world war, ended the Korean war and ended the Vietnam war. Why not the Iraq war? Why not indeed.