by Charles Lemos, Wed Dec 17, 2008 at 06:44:58 PM EST
It is perhaps premature to pronounce American conservatism dead though well it should be. The conservative movement is, however, rather moribund, bereft of any new ideas on anything of consequence from health care to energy to climate change to the economy. What does conservatism stand for in 2008 that they didn't stand for it in 1980? Maybe I am missing something for all I hear is a tired catechism of "lower taxes,""limited government,""free markets,""balanced budgets,""family values," and a "strong military" which really means "empire" in their parlance.
But this conservative agenda has run its course even if a large swath of the American public still recite its ethos for by any objective measure, American conservatism has failed. Lower taxes brought us an ever widening social gulf such that a country like Uzbekistan has more equal distribution of income than the United States. Limited government is such a laughable part of the conservative creed for at no time in American history is government as large, as pervasive or as intrusive. Free markets brought us the collapse of global financial markets drunk on derivatives with estimated liabilities of over $50 trillion dollars. In pursuit of the Conservative dream, we have run up $9 trillion in debt since 1981. The only balanced budgets during this period came under a Democrat. Republican family values is a bizarre combination of rights for the unborn, the brain dead and nuclear families. The rest of us need not apply. And the conservative version of empire is nothing more than American exceptionalism and unilateralism that we can neither afford financially nor morally.