Neocons and Theocons

My new friend Michael recently blogged about “The Ideological Evolution of the Republican Party,” in a post that echoced my own (2005) post, “The Neocon / Theocon Axis: Winning and Losing.” Michael updates the theme, discussing the Party Line in the context of the Tea Party:

With the onset of the Tea Party Movement, a new transformation of Republican Party values has begun to take place.  The transformation is still ongoing.  The Tea Party Movement is nominally non-partisan, but let’s be honest – the tenets of the movement are in alignment with traditionally Republican territory:  lower taxes, smaller government, combating the national debt and opposition to nationalized healthcare and the stimulus package.  The movement is calling itself non-partisan because the Neocon-Theocon Hegemony neglected these values.  Although the movement began with the presidential campaign of Ron Paul – indeed, it is downright shameful to understand the Tea Party without mentioning him – it has expanded beyond his base since the last election.  The movement expanded first in response to Bush’s Big Government policies and accelerated under Obama’s.  Obama made the miscalculation of thinking that a close election victory and disapproval of Bush constituted a mandate for him to push a liberal agenda forward, which was not the case at all.  President Obama’s approval among political independents is now in the low 40s and shows no signs of rising in the near future.  Even though the Tea Party is conservative for the most part, the expansion beyond the Ron Paul base means the more moderate crowd are participating.  When the movement first began it was littered with truthers, birthers, kucinichers, radical global warming deniers, anarchists, neo-nazis, conspiracy theorists and other wackos.  Now the base is more sane and the time has come to take out the trash.  The movement, though no less courageous and outspoken, is coming into the hands of the respectable crowd.  Debra Medina, the Tea Party candidate for Governor of Texas, unfortunately may have made the possibly fatal mistake of hesitating to shun the truthers on Glenn Beck’s program.  But the movement is very spread out and not easily undermined by one missing bolt.  The movement is grassroots bottom-up and there are no real leaders of the charge.  But as the Tea Party opts for reform, there are others who are trying to use it to further themselves.

Thanks for the great blog, Michael!

8 thoughts on “Neocons and Theocons”

  1. FYI: I am really sympathetic to the Tea Parties ideas [1] but the intrusion of the Ron Paul cult into anything is a big turnoff to me.

    [1]The Tea Party core ideas are (I believe) : throw all the bums outs; cleanup the political system rules; get US finances back into shape; and embrace the US Constitution.

    It does not have a national security position or a social conservative.

    I think Big Biz/Big Gov republicans will try to get the Tea Parties to expand their views in to broad GOP which will reduce Tea Party power.

  2. Dan,
    Thanks for the link, that was a very good post.

    I’m confused, you call Ron Paul supporters cultists, then go onto to say you are sympathetic to some of their very core values (since many of the core values of the Tea Party movement and the Paulians are the same.) Of course because of my implicit defense of this political movement you might label me a cultist as well.


  3. Ron Paul has birther and 911 truther sympathizes as do many of his supporters. There is always the hint of great conspiracies with him/them. This all bothers me. These do not seem to be the ideas of well people.

    I am not saying Ron Paul is a cult leader.

    The action of his supporters have made think of cults:

    ++the rabid way they sneak into unrelated NPR/WPR/CSPAN call-in shows
    ++swarming any poll that has “Ron Paul” in it
    ++Bringing up Ron Paul in discussion threads
    ++Swarming social media sites like DIGG and REDDIT

    I also disagree with Ron Paul on his National Security views and his extreme libertarian views. This disagreement doesn’t make me think he is a cult leader. I just think it would be a disaster if he and his fringe ideas were in charge. I do not take him and his supporters seriously.

    I don’t believe most Tea Party people are Ron Paul people. I have no evidence one way or another. I would be highly disappointed to find out it is Ron Paul culty prawn.

  4. Fair enough. Although I am in strong agreement with Paul on many issues (including foreign policy) I think your assessment of some of his most die hard supporters is fairly accurate. I think that this stems from so many relatively “new to politics” types becoming attracted to the arguments that Paul made.

    There is something about the conspiracy element that probably has not been addressed. Since Paul is a student of Murray Rothbard’s economic and historical approach/analysis some of his (their) criticism comes off as conspiratorial. Rothbard wrote extensively on how elites interact/support each other in society, when this analysis is simplified it sounds much like what conspiracy theorists articulate. The difference, Rothbard used historical records to support what he was arguing (so his arguments can actually be refuted if wrong) while the conspiracy theorists often can’t be refuted because they are at best hearsay (and at worst entirely fabricated.)


  5. Its certainly important that the GOP establish Party Discipline — though I think all realize that this can wait until after November 😉

  6. Hey, thanks for linking back to my post! Rothbard did have some out-there ideas, but I think Dr. Paul is at least a little more grounded than that.

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