Arnie's Party - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Arnie’s Party
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The media can’t take yes for an answer. Journalists grumble about the “moderate façade” of the GOP convention in New York City, yet that moderation is exactly what they have long lobbied the Republican Party to embrace. At the Democratic convention, journalists wanted the true believers to speak so that they could build them up. At the Republican convention they want the true believers to speak so that they can tear them down.

And is it a moderate GOP façade? Would that it were merely a facade. Unfortunately, the PC moderation is real. Would that George Bush was as conservative as the media’s hyperventilations. It is no wonder the Democrats have become so radical: As Bush moved to the middle, they had to move farther and farther to the left in order to sustain their critique of him as a radical conservative. Only a party that gravitates to socialism, for example, would regard Bush’s prescription drug benefit as dangerously conservative. If they had any perspective, the Democrats would claim victory, having pulled the debate so far to the left that the conservative position on prescription drugs became the liberal position of a few years ago.

Maria Shriver is one of the few journalists to realize that the GOP’s “moderate façade” isn’t one. She can sit comfortably at a Republican convention now that the party’s philosophy on domestic issues is so pallid. Rigorous conservatism is of little interest to the Republicans at this point. A hodgepodge of pragmatism — as illustrated by Arnold Schwarzenegger saying that he learned free-market economics from Richard Nixon, the president who gave us price controls — has replaced any sort of philosophical coherence. John McCain says the “platform” is something you “stand on” during the convention and run away from during the campaign. Even that cynicism is passé: Republicans don’t even bother to stand on it during the convention anymore.

On domestic issues, the difference between the two parties amounts to the Democrats’ liberalism versus the Republicans’ liberalism in slow motion. On foreign policy matters, the difference amounts to no common sense (the Democrats) versus some common sense. Schwarzenegger’s speech was about a foreigner who dreamed of running America; the Democratic convention speeches were about Americans who dreamed of foreigners running America.

Judging from Tuesday’s speeches, the Republicans will, to their credit, fight the war on terrorism but they won’t fight the cultural one. Could America win the war on terrorism and then collapse from within, having ignored festering cultural problems in the name of tolerance? Here again the Democrats, if they weren’t such power addicts and had some perspective, could claim victory. The Republicans have internalized most of their liberal attitudes on social issues. The Sex and the City culture they have worked hard to mainstream has become the cultural air both parties breathe. The president’s daughter, with her Sex and the City crack, managed to progress even beyond the media progressives, some of whom commented on her lack of taste and dignity.

The mixture of conservative and liberal currents at the convention was conveyed by Schwarzenegger laughing about “girlie men,” then Laura Bush extolling them. She spoke of a “dad whose wife is deployed in Iraq recently” and his “struggles to rear his three children alone,” one of which is that he is turning his childrens’ clothing pink through laundering mishaps. Shouldn’t this story warm the hearts of Democrats? Or is an anecdote about a father who struggles at laundry too retrograde for their ears?

George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a senior editor at The American Spectator, is author most recently of The Biden Deception: Moderate, Opportunist, or the Democrats' Crypto-Socialist?
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