I don’t envy Barak Obama. Nor do I pity him. The man should have been more careful what he wished for. As a recent report makes clear, the incoming president’s vision of a warmier, fuzzier country where all life’s sharp edges are cushioned by Other People’s Money has vanished like the porn on a crashed computer. We have run out of other people, and they have run out of money. This week, Obama warned of “trillion-dollar deficits for years to come.” That doesn’t leave room for socialized medical insurance, billions more for failing schools, or most of the other items on the liberal wish list. The “change” Obama’s supporters will soon come to believe in will be the spare change they dig from the couch cushions to pay for dinner.
Even before the economy collapsed like an enormous human pyramid, our country’s entitlement programs were headed for bankruptcy—which was hastened by the squalid bribes George Bush handed out to the “senior lobby” in the form of Medicare expansions. “Compassionate conservatism,” a phrase coined by Mongo-Vellian (i.e., retarded, but ruthless) strategist Karl Rove, was always neither. The theory that a secular state governing a nation in an advanced stage of cultural decay could rely on federally-directed programs to foster the “values” treasured by Christian conservatives was always absurd on its very face. Add in a brutal, expensive war based on casual lies; an immigration policy that rewards law-breaking corporations; a truculent foreign policy driven by pressure groups and feckless ideologues—then factor in the cold fact that this program of hubris and screwbris was funded by pawning our children’s future, and the verdict on Bush’s presidency is clear: It was obscene. George Bush is not simply a failed president, but a disgrace to the citizenship he enjoys, to the Faith he pretends to hold. There should be no place in this country where he can retire peacefully. He should be pelted with dung wherever he goes, and hounded into exile like Idi Amin.
And so should the brand of “conservatism” with which he is associated. We must expose the sophists and opportunists who highjacked the Right, and whenever we hear a peep from the likes of David Frumbag, Max JackBoot, or William “Wrong About Everything” Kristol, we must be ready to hurl a shoe. We must stop our friends from buying those people’s shallow books, from watching Fox News because it’s “not as bad” as CNBC, from chuckling at their moronic radio shows. As the neocons spent all their energy starting in 1992 discrediting genuine patriots like Pat Buchanan, we must focus relentlessly on the enemy within—and hound these interlopers and tyrants as the Trotskyites dogged the Stalinists: Turnabout is fair play. If we lose an election (as we did in 1976) because the Right has been divided, we can call it cheap at the price. Had Ford been elected, we’d never have gotten a Reagan.
Perhaps the only positive outcome our country could squeeze from this year’s grapes of wrath is this: We are too poor to pay for our empire. Faced with years of a shrinking economy, debts we can’t even imagine paying down, demands that the government cannot meet, and a populace incapable of self-sacrifice or even postponing gratification, there is only one place where the government can look to impose the kind of painless budget cuts that Americans will endure: Our massive, metastasized military. Of all the things on which the government wastes our money, this one is the most obvious. It’s also, for conservatives, the most politically challenging. I chronicled ten months ago the failing marriage between conservatism and militarism. Well, now it’s time for divorce.
It will be hard to convince your average temperamental conservative, who may have military experience or siblings serving overseas, that a huge cutback in the Pentagon, and a scaling back of our foreign entanglements, is anything other than (at best) an admission of national weakness, or (at worst) an act of surrender. Most of the good people who fight against interventionism and the waste of our blood and treasure on foreign shores are either leftists or libertarians. They are frequently right, but the baggage they carry scares off many solid folks whose support we need and deserve. So in my next few blogs (WARNING: Zmirak is launching a series), I hope to provide a primer of arguments which will help make the case for military cuts to patriotic, pro-life, small-government Christians—the folks who used to be called “conservatives,” before they were displaced by globalist libertine lovers of Leviathan. We needn’t convince anyone else; win over the base, and the “leaders” will scamper right behind them. Stay tuned.