Radical social conservatives (such as Rick Santorum and Jay Sekulow) and pro-war-neocons (such as John McCain and Lindsey Graham) have mistaken the Republican takeover of the House to be a license for them to resume their business as usual.
For radical Christians, it means they think that Republicans’ 2010 electoral victory means they can resume demanding radical social policies (even when they’re hugely unpopular), voting for candidates exclusively on the basis of their social issues stance, and ignoring their stances on other issues, thus giving the GOP socially conservative RINOs as nominees for various offices. Currently, they’re trying to do exactly that by supporting a RINO (Rick Santorum) who is socially conservative to boot but liberal on fiscal, economic, and limited government issues.
But, as much as it pains me to say this as a believing, practicing Evangelical, the American electorate is liberal on social issues and, in the coming years and decades, will become even more so as older, traditionalist voters die and are replaced by young, fiscally-conservative-but-socially-liberal voters (the Millenials and younger people). If Republicans continue to nominate radical Christians like Santorum for public office, and to offer radical social policies, the Millenials will continue to vote against George W. Bush well into the 2060s. For more on that subject, please read Margaret Hoover’s excellent book, American Individualism: How a New Generation of Republicans can Save the Republican Party.
Those too young to remember would not recognize the American electorate of 10-12 years ago. Back then, only a minority supported gay marriage and repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. The Defense of Marriage Act had been passed 4 years earlier, in 1996, by overwhelming majorities in both houses of Congress and was signed by a Democratic President. And in 2004, Pres. Bush rallied Evangelicals and Catholics around him by endorsing the Federal Marriage Amendment.
But by 2010, 75% of Americans supported the repeal of DADT, and today, a large majority of Americans supports gay marriage and Roe v. Wade. Yet, social conservatives still push for radical policies.
But if social conservatives are harmful, neocons are downright destructive. In 2003, they took the nation to Iraq, to strip that country of weapons it did not possess. The result? A secular, anti-Iranian dictator was replaced by a pro-Iranian, Islamist, Shia government that is no better in terms of human rights that Saddam was (in terms of women’s rights, Iraq is now one of the most repressive countries on Earth, with spousal rape and honor killings being tolerated, if not sanctioned by law). The country is engulfed in a civil war. Over 4,400 American troops were wounded and $800 bn was spent on this war. The GOP’s political reward for marching into Baghdad was the loss of both houses of Congress in 2006 and of the White House in 2008, when Obama crushed McCain, as an anti-Iraqi-war fervor swept the nation.
And yet, the same McCain who got crushed in 2008, along with his fellow neocon hawk buddies like Lindsey Graham and Rich Lowry, is now pushing for two more wars: with Syria and with Iran.
In Syria’s case, he’s pushing for the US to help Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood depose a secular socialist dictator, Bashar al-Assad, with whom the US has lived for almost 12 years, and with his father for 27 years (in fact, the elder President Bush even enlisted his father, Hafez al-Assad, as an ally in Desert Storm), so that the US can help rebels whose behavior has been no better than Assad’s and whose early slogan was “Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the wall.” Those are the Sunni Islamist terrorists that McCain and his fellow neocons want America to aid.
Yet, when CENTCOM commander Gen. James Mattis, a seasoned Marine with 40 years of experience under his belt, cautioned McCain during a recent SASC hearing against aiding the rebels because “we don’t know who they are”, McCain showed his nasty temper, got very angry, and loudly lectured the General about Libya (another neocon failure), Syria, and how supposedly the rebels in Libya and Syria are not Al-Qaeda or Muslim Brotherhood terrorists, but rather decent, freedom-yearning people.
In Iran’s case, they’re trying to start a war that would engulf the entire region in war, again to strip a country of weapons it does not have, even though it is STILL the consensus of both the US intel community and the US military that Iran has not yet decided to build a nuclear warhead. Attacking it would likely be the step that would prod Iran to do so.
In any case, any strike on Iran would merely delay its nuclear program by a few years at most, while causing Iran to pursue it in a more decentralized and clandestine fashion, as Saddam Hussein did with his nuclear weapon program after the 1981 Israeli strike on Osirak. That event reinforced the Iraqi regime’s belief that Iraq needed a nuclear deterrent, and caused it to decentralize it and hide it underground. In 1991, when UN inspectors visited Iraq, they were shocked at how advanced the Iraqi nuclear program was at the time. If Saddam had not attacked Kuwait, he would’ve obtained a nuclear weapon by the end of the 1990s.
There is no reason to believe that Iran is irrational, despite Lowry’s arrogant claims to the contrary, nor to believe that deterrence doesn’t work or that Iran could not be deterred if it obtained a nuclear weapon. But the neocons are deluded by their ideology. They wrongly believe deterrence doesn’t work and that the only way to handle rogue states like Iran is to bomb them regardless of the consequences. (In the process, they are doing a huge damage to America’s defense, by attempting to discredit the US nuclear deterrent and the principle of nuclear deterrence that underpins it – at a time when Barack Obama is deeply slashing the US nuclear arsenal.)
And they, together with three GOP presidential candidates (Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich), are pushing for war with Iran, even though it is highly unpopular with the American people.
Radical social conservatives and neocons are two of a kind. Like the Bourbons of the Restoration Era, they have forgotten nothing and learned nothing.