Strange Bedfellows

After twenty-three straight days of precipitation, the sun is finally shining again on East Tennessee. It’s the type of day that demands grilled something-or-other for dinner. And beer. Not a lot of beer, mind you, but definitely some beer. Cold beer.

Mmmmmmmm . . . cold beer . . .

In Armies of the Night, Norman Mailer calls himself a member of the “Conservative Left,” which makes more and more sense to me as I spend more and more time arguing with friends about this unnecessary, but apparently inevitable, war. The cable news networks would like for us to believe that America’s political dialogue can be reduce to a simple dichotomy: conservative versus liberal. That sure would make things easier, wouldn’t it? Right/wrong. Black/white. Good/evil. Problems solved.

In fact, we’re being led by a cabal of neo-conservatives in the White House (who trade in a strange language that melds religious fundamentalism with liberal interventionism), aided by a sad lot of liberal moderates in Congress (both Republicans and Democrats alike), who cower under the political pressures applied so efficiently by the administration. As a result, the only American politicians who are making any sense right now are those at the extreme ends of the spectrum, those who actuallystand for something. I can’t decide which side is making the stronger anti-war argument at the moment, but I applaud them both. John Duncan, my traditionally conservative Representative to the House, gave a great speech earlier this week that had him quoting Robert Byrd of all people.

It is a traditional conservative position to be in favor of a strong national defense, not one that turns our soldiers into international social workers, and to believe in a noninterventionist foreign policy, rather than in globalism or internationalism. We should be friends with all nations, but we will weaken our own Nation, maybe irreversibly, unless we follow the more humble foreign policy the President advocated in his campaign.

Finally, Mr. Speaker, it is very much against every conservative tradition to support preemptive war. Another member of the other body, the Senator from West Virginia, not a conservative but certainly one with great knowledge of and respect for history and tradition, said recently, “This is no simple attempt to defang a villain. No. This upcoming battle, if it materializes, represents a turning point in U.S. foreign policy and possibly a turning point in the recent history of the world.”

If only the anti-war movement could manage to unite those two poles. That would be a fun march.