CONSERVATIVE CASE FOR REPUBLICAN DEFEAT. The new issue of the Washington Monthly has a truly inspired collection of conservative arguments for a Republican defeat this November. The highlight is surely Christopher Buckley's piece, which expresses the libertarian scorn for George W. Bush's "compassionate" conservatism. Buckley coins a new term for it, "incontinent conservatism," which seems particularly apt given his list of grievances ("bigger government, unrestricted government spending, government intrusion in personal matters, government ineptitude, and cronyism in disaster relief.")

Perhaps the reason that Buckley's disappointment seems so genuine, while one may suspect David Frum of crying crocodile tears, is that Buckley concedes that Republicans betrayal of conservatism is nothing new. He acknowledges a laundry list of instances where Richard Nixon and even conservative savior Ronald Reagan (gasp!) sold out to the big-government beast. But he adds, reasonably enough:

Despite the failures, one had the sense that the party at least knew in its heart of hearts that these were failures, either of principle or execution. Today one has no sense, aside from a slight lowering of the swagger-mometer, that the president or the Republican Congress is in the least bit chastened by their debacles.

It would be nice to think that the country is filled with principled conservatives who will stay at home this November, but I'm sure instead they'll just go for option B and figure out a way to win on good old-fashioned fear-mongering.

--Ben Adler

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