What exactly are we hoping for? I somehow doubt that after Bush the neos, paleos, movementarians, and libertarians are going to just kiss and make up and pretend that opposition means “Happy days are here again! Let’s pick on George Soros as we pick daisies together. ” ~Michael Brendan Dougherty
Michael makes several good points. Of course, the Dems cannot be trusted, and given half a chance they would start bombing Sudan…or Burma (sorry, SLORC, I mean Myanmar!)…or whatever country they happened to see on the latest Children’s Fund ad. They might prefer to target Christian countries under attack from Muslims and get back to the good old days of “crushing Serb skulls,” but there are relatively few conflicts that they can meddle in where this would be possible. But they are not to be trusted for a second, least of all on foreign policy. Nolite confidere in principibus, don’t you know. Or, as our Greek Orthodox friends would say, Mi pepoithate ep’archontas.
This is because most of their foreign policy set, whether currently antiwar, “realist,” “progressive realist,” “really progressive” or DLC hack, have a view of America’s role in the world at least as misguided, if perhaps slightly less bloodthirsty for the moment on the whole, as anything the boys from the Standard have thrown our way. My hopes are fairly modest, and I do not look forward to the new, bad government that will succeed the current, bad government. I have no expectation that Democratic victory in ‘06 or ‘08 will make anything much better at all, but I do think it is essential to have some kind of accountability and punishment for such astounding misrule and abuse of power if any modicum, any particle of even remotely sane representative government is to survive the decade. If there is some price for such reckless adventurism, overspending and contempt for the law this might serve to restrain the future tyrants a little. That, in all its pessimism, is what I’m hoping for. If there are still any conservatives out there, returning for a little chastening in the wilderness might shake them out of their doldrums and make them into a more serious force than they have been. I find it very mildly encouraging that Pat Toomey seems to be shaking things up and has succeeded in pushing one of Bush’s anointed candidates out of the picture; it’s also a nice little bit of payback for Toomey.
Now, on immigration Michael has a very strong point, and this is a pickle. If the Democrats take the House Bush might get the Senate bill he wants and would have a chance to sign it. That is a real problem, but that is the battle that will have to be fought then. When enough lobbyists and interested parties wanted to kill the health care bill in ‘93, the GOP minority managed to scrounge up enough opposition to it to stop it. If put in the same position, perhaps they can kill any amnesty that comes down the line. The idea is immensely unpopular, and if you can decode the jargon about “comprehensive immigration reform,” so that ordinary folks know that this means amnesty, you will see a surge of resistance. A Dem-controlled House is a significant problem on this question, but these are the sorts of problems you are bound to have when the party of Immigration, Imperialism and Insolvency is up against the party of Lots and Lots of Immigration and Insolvency.
The crucial thing this year and next would have to be preventing/countering the WSJ/Standard/FoxNews axis from spinning a GOP loss in the House as a repudiation of an anti-immigration stance, because you know that will be part of the official narrative. “If only we had had more Hispanic voters, we might have been able to hold NM-1!” they will lament. On that score, I believe Heather’s disenchanted Anglo voters are sharpening their figurative knives for Election Day, but that won’t matter to the spinners. Opponents of amnesty have got to be ready in advance for that sort of nonsense–it will be post-Prop. 187 all over again.
Incidentally, this is how the Lieberman enthusiasm fits in–by pretending that this is a fight for the “sensible center” against wacky extremists the neocons are trying to frame the argument against both antiwar folks on the left and anti-immigration people on the right, because they quite rightly see both as serious threats to themselves. It’s more of that unruly populism, and they want to nip that in the bud.