McCain as Imperialist Dog - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
McCain as Imperialist Dog

Colleague Matt Welch of Reason gives me a reason (finally) to watch Bill Moyers’s show. He sheds light on McCain’s faith in government as the tool for greatness, and has a fascinating historical take on when conservatives became Republicans first:

I think it was in the Richard Nixon presidency. Up until that moment, conservatives had been the biggest critics of the imperial presidency. They were the biggest critics of the way executive power was abuse by John F. Kennedy, by Lyndon Johnson, by FDR before them … But when Richard Nixon was abusing that power and he was attacked by the press, who conservatives have always hated, and Democrats, who the conservatives have always hated, they rallied around him.

…one of the only philosophies that [McCain] elucidates in his book, his five books that he’s written, is to restore executive power at the expense of Congress, especially when it comes to foreign policy and the making of war. It is basically the only interest that he shows in political philosophy in his books.

I’m not certain if I agree, re: the movement’s concern about imperialism. Conservatives were certainly interested in fighting the Soviet Union where necessary, and Johnson’s escalation of Vietnam was seen as a scary mutation of what was originally an outsourced. fight. They didn’t come to Nixon’s defense because they were discarding their own philosophy, but instead because Nixon was being attacked for his lifelong anti-Communist stances, including the discovery of Alger Hiss. The fight was about what to do about Communism, and at its head stood a flawed man that conservatives had to nonetheless support.

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