My Photo
Location: Kansas City, Missouri, United States

Doing my part to irritate Republicans, fundamentalists, bigots and other lower life forms.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Handy guide to telling Republicans apart from neoconservatives

You know you're in trouble trying to define something when the word's entry in the online dictionary Wikipedia runs on and on and on after and introductory paragraph that explains how difficult the word is to define:

"Neoconservatism is a somewhat controversial term referring to the political goals and ideology of the "new conservatives" in the United States. The "newness" refers either to being new to American conservatism (often coming from liberal or socialist backgrounds) or to being part of a "new wave" of conservative thought and political organization." (

Nevertheless, for those whose interest in "news programs" runs largely to what celebrity breakups are featured on "Entertainment Tonight" or those who have suddenly come to the realization that the Republican Party is on the verge of tearing itself apart as the old-style Republicans square off against the new-fangled neocons. Those cracks in the GOP facade began to show around the time Dubya completed his inaugural address in which he pledged the U.S. to standing with oppressed people who sought freedom and liberty. Nice words, but coming out of the Commander-in-Chimp's mouth it sounded a bit like "We're gonna spread freedom and liberty all over the world, even if we have to send in troops to enforce democracy."

Ah, and therein lies the first and major difference between the Republicans and the neocons. Republicans believe in taking a defensive posture and rattling a few sabers when necessary unless we are attacked first. The appropriately acronym'd MAD (for "mutually assured destruction") is a Republican idea. During the Cold War our position was If you don't try to blow us up, we won't wipe you off the map with our nukes. Neocons, on the other hand, believe it's the U.S.'s sacred mission to aggressively impose American democratic values on "rogue" states through covert or pre-emptive military action, regardless of domestic or international law. For an example of that type of mentality, see ... oh, I don't know ... the war in Iraq, maybe.

The differences don't stop there. Just follow these basic guidelines and before long you'll be able to tell a Republican from a neocon within two minutes of the time they open their mouths on "Meet the Press:"

Republicans uphold and revere the Constitution. Neocons feel constrained by the Constitution because it prohibits their desire for world domination. Because the Constitution is just one more obstacle to them, neocons feel entirely justified in using whatever means it takes to circumvent it.

Republicans believe in fiscal responsibility. Neocons want to divert as much money as possible into military spending - even if it adversely affects the nation's economic health.

Republicans believe in a small federal government. Neocons aren't so concerned with this issue. Heck, most of them don't care about any domestic issue as long as they feel they are on the roan to global hegemony.

Many Republicans are religious to some degree or another. Neocons are frequently described as amoral and will only refer to religion if they see it as a way to steer and influence the masses.

Lastly, and perhaps most important in separating the sheep from the goats ... the wheat from the chaff ... the Republicans from the neocons: Most neocons are Republicans only by convenience. They don't share the same ideology that drives true Republicans. However, most Republicans are most assuredly not neocons.

That last point is something Democrats need to drive home now that Bush has scared a sizeable portion of his party with his inaugural address. It's our job to make sure the Republicans know they aren't misunderstanding what they heard, and encourage the true Republicans to rise up and take back their party from these imperial goats in neocon skin!