Conservatives For Obama

Andy Bacevich joins a growing, if still fledgling, throng. Money quote:

The Iraq War represents the ultimate manifestation of the American expectation that the exercise of power abroad offers a corrective to whatever ailments afflict us at home. Rather than setting our own house in order, we insist on the world accommodating itself to our requirements. The problem is not that we are profligate or self-absorbed; it is that others are obstinate and bigoted. Therefore, they must change so that our own habits will remain beyond scrutiny.

Of all the obstacles to a revival of genuine conservatism, this absence of self-awareness constitutes the greatest. As long as we refuse to see ourselves as we really are, the status quo will persist, and conservative values will continue to be marginalized. Here, too, recognition that the Iraq War has been a fool’s errandthat cheap oil, the essential lubricant of the American way of life, is gone for goodmay have a salutary effect. Acknowledging failure just might open the door to self-reflection.

Conservatism, at its core, is about the frailty of human goodness, the limits of human knowledge, the virtue of self-doubt when that is required, restraint on government executive power, and the correction Tcs2 and admission of error when necessary. What has happened to conservatism under Bush is that it has become a messianic, ruthless, totally certain imposition of ideology (fused even more lethally with theology). Obama is not the answer to this conservative predicament. He is a "progressive" liberal - but his liberalism contains more conservative elements of reason and prudence and restraint than the current Republican party. And although I admire John McCain immensely, and he is far and away one of the more principled and decent conservatives around, I fear that doubt, complexity, restraint and an understanding of the need for government to do less rather than more at times are not the strongest impulses in his make-up. To put it mildly.

Supporting Obama may well empower liberalism for a generation. I've said that for almost a year now. But it might also help defeat the corruption and degeneracy of "conservatism" that now dominates the Republican Party. That I once gave this faux conservatism too much benefit of the doubt and enabled it in part myself does not lessen the fact that I now believe it's the obligation for many thinking conservatives to repudiate it. That was the core of my book, "The Conservative Soul." Other conservatives have seen this and will continue to see this - and do the right thing by putting the long-term interests of a more responsible Burkean conservatism before the narrow short-term interest of their party.