Excommunicating Kristol

Steve Bainbridge thinks the Republican Party should kick out Bill Kristol and others like him: “The USA does need at least one Daddy party. It needs at least one party that believes in individual freedom and limited government.”

There is a large contingent that wants to kick out RINOs, with rather widely diverging beliefs as to what constitutes a RINO.   Everything from opposing the Iraq War to opposing Harriet Miers to favoring immigration reform seems to qualify one for excommunication.  While Kristol quite frequently gets on my nerves, it’s going to be a mighty small party, indeed, if we insist on ideological purity on all matters.

N.B. – Kristol is just a pundit.   He’s neither in a position to make public policy nor a candidate for office.  He seems a particularly inapt target for our frustrations.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Randall Flagg says:

    How about just kicking him out for being an idiot?

  2. Bithead says:

    it’s going to be a mighty small party, indeed, if we insist on ideological purity on all matters.

    I doubt it. I recall a time that you may not, when the party was far larger… when people were attracted to it be the strength of it’s conservative positions. It was the day of Reagan, who was about convincing others to join his way of thinking, by demonstrating it and fighting for it, not by becoming ever more like the opposition. It is why so many… alas, Kristol among them, to this day, try and disassociate real conservatism from the Republican party. The success of the effort of such individuals is linked directly to the demise of the party’s influence on government and policy.

  3. Bithead… if I may suggest something… a problem that Republicans have is that Reagan was so successful that many of the issue that attracted people to him are now less important. No one is soft on crime like liberals were in the 1970s, and crime is much less of a problem. Bill Clinton signed massive welfare reform. The top marginal tax rates remains much, much lower now than it was in the 1970s. The Soviet Union is gone.

    Basically, most of the issues that animated broad-based support for Reagan have been resolved by the consensus adoption — even by Democrats — of what were his core issues.

    What is left of the Reagan program are the most controversial measures — abortion, still more reductions in marginal rates for the wealthy.

    At some point, doesn’t the right have to acknowledge the challenge that inherently comes from having won so many of the key debates of the 1980s? And can the party continue to be successful focusing on an ever-shrinking number of controversial issues that remain unresolved from that time while trying to ignore current issues such as income inequality, climate change, etc?

    Is it possible, in short, that Reagan though a great and transformation President, is no longer relevant in a way? A victim of his own successes?

  4. Dave Schuler says:

    The USA does need at least one Daddy party. It needs at least one party that believes in individual freedom and limited government.

    Why start now?

    The idea that the Republican Party has ever been in favor of limited government other than rhetorically is a fiction.

  5. ggjr says:

    The idea that the Republican Party has ever been in favor of limited government other than rhetorically is a fiction.

    Certainly true if one of the hallmarks of a limited government is a small federal budget. The only disagreement between the parties is in which areas the government should be bigger, neither has shown much interest in reducing overall spending.

  6. Alexander Klingman says:

    It was the day of Reagan, who was about convincing others to join his way of thinking, by demonstrating it and fighting for it, not by becoming ever more like the opposition.

    That’s right! Reagan wasn’t going to negotiate for hostages with Iran like that pansy Carter. He sold them weapons for hostages, instead! That’s the conservative way!

  7. Bithead says:

    a problem that Republicans have is that Reagan was so successful that many of the issue that attracted people to him are now less important.. No one is soft on crime like liberals were in the 1970s, and crime is much less of a problem. Bill Clinton signed massive welfare reform. The top marginal tax rates remains much, much lower now than it was in the 1970s. The Soviet Union is gone.

    That would have been a reasonable statement a decade ago. The last several elections however, and particularly the most recent, give lie to that statement now.

    I submit crime is now more of a problem than it was… and would urge you to visit the monument area in DC after dark, or 30th street in Philly.. or perhaps East St Louis, just about anywhere, for confirmation of this point.

    Bill Clinton signed massive welfare reform.

    What got signed was way too much a compromise to fully render the problem solved.

    The top marginal tax rates remains much, much lower now than it was in the 1970s

    Wait a few months.

    At some point, doesn’t the right have to acknowledge the challenge that inherently comes from having won so many of the key debates of the 1980s? And can the party continue to be successful focusing on an ever-shrinking number of controversial issues that remain unresolved from that time while trying to ignore current issues such as income inequality, climate change, etc?

    What you seem to miss is not just the issues themselves but an underlying philosophy which drove those resolutions, which in the end are always relevant. And certainly, the left thinks so too, or they’d not spend all their time trying to run against Reaganism.

    Certainly true if one of the hallmarks of a limited government is a small federal budget. The only disagreement between the parties is in which areas the government should be bigger, neither has shown much interest in reducing overall spending.

    Well, there in fact is the pont I’m making when I say;

    It was the day of Reagan, who was about convincing others to join his way of thinking, by demonstrating it and fighting for it, not by becoming ever more like the opposition.

    Spending and taxes are certainly one area where we need to go back to the path we were shown.

  8. charles johnson says:

    “The USA does need at least one Daddy party. It needs at least one party that believes in individual freedom and limited government.”

    There’s no evidence linking the GOP with limited government or individual freedom.

  9. Eric says:

    I doubt it. I recall a time that you may not, when the party was far larger… when people were attracted to it be the strength of it’s conservative positions. It was the day of Reagan, who was about convincing others to join his way of thinking, by demonstrating it and fighting for it, not by becoming ever more like the opposition.

    And then Bithead woke up in a wet spot, and the dream was over.

    Gimme a break, Bitsy. The strength of it’s conservative positions? You mean like fiscal responsibility? Oops, looks like every conservative president since Ford increased spending, while the Dem presidents lowered it. Well, you’re finally right about something, Bitsy: you conservatives didn’t become like the opposition.

    Guess those conservative halcyon days were not so conservative, or halcyon.

  10. Bithead says:

    Conservative Presdient?

    Ummmm.. forgive me, but I was of the idea that Congress has the power of the purse, not the White House.

    Who was running Congress?

    Oops, indeed.

  11. Eric says:

    Ummmm.. forgive me, but I was of the idea that Congress has the power of the purse, not the White House.

    Yes, that’s correct. But the President submits the budget. Are you seriously suggesting that Reagan is not in any way responsible for expanding the government just because the Congress obliged him and passed the budgets he submitted? If you righties are such fiscal conservatives, why would you even submit a budget with significant spending increases?

    Wait, lemme guess: liberal conspiracy, right? That excuse always seems to come in handy when you have no more excuses.

  12. charles johnson says:

    If you guys want to kick him out of your party, I don’t have an opinion on that. But I very much want to kick him out of my beloved NYT, because he’s so painfully wrong all the time. 9 out of every 10 things he says are obviously, headache-inducingly stupid.

    “Barack Obama is not going to win a single primary.”

    “Palin Reminds me of FDR.”

    “I think the American people are going to have great tolerance for the war taking longer, and they are going to have great tolerance for more casualties.”

    Fortunately Kristol recently said he’s ‘ambivalent’ about staying at the NYT. Hopefully that means “I already heard they were gonna fire my dumb ass so I’m gonna start trying to act like it was my idea to leave.”

  13. charles johnson says:

    Who was running Congress?

    The Dems. But in 2000-2006, it was the GOP who signed off on the GOP’s huge increases in spending.

    Take a look at the last 50 years of economic data. It’s very clear. The GOP grows the federal deficit, while the Dems grow the GDP.