Weekly Standard – Time To Dance On The Grave Of NeoConservatism?

The Weekly Standard is no more. It alienated its conservative customer base by failing to understand the base’s frustration with Establishment politics. It had strayed far from its conservative founding, or at least, it had gone full-tilt Neocon Military-Industrial-Complex, even as its target audience tired of massive government and expensive overseas adventures.

Bill Kristol, founder, former editor in chief, and virulent Never-Trumper since 2016, had stepped aside in favor of marginally less Trump-hating Stephen Hayes two years ago, but was still all over cable TV, especially CNN, spewing disdain for Trump and his voters. Eventually, Clarity Media, who also own the Washington Examiner, decided to cut their losses at the hemorrhaging Standard, and so it closed on December 17th.

Rich Danker, a thankfully rare author at American Thinker, put up this post in favor of the The Weekly Standard and what it had done for “conservatism” (or maybe “compassionate conservatism”), which inspired a veritable storm of contrarian comments, including mine. First, an excerpt:

“…. The Weekly Standard was the undisputed bulletin board for George W. Bush administration’s foreign policy. The response to 9/11 and case for preventive war against Iraq were argued with more persistence and heft on its pages than anywhere else. Even the retry of the botched Iraq takeover – the 2007 surge – was premeditated in the Standard.

“… After a last try at Bush-era conservatism was rejected in Mitt Romney’s presidential defeat, it was adrift among a political party that was careening toward populism.”

In other words, it advocated, not for walking softly and carrying a big stick, but for stomping rudely all over the planet to very little long term effect, while rejecting actual conservatism and small government conservatives.

My Disqus Doodling on the topic:

Let this be an object lesson for National Review, so that they don’t slip into the same spiral – lookin’ at you, Jonah Goldberg!

And, a lesson to the author – it is not “careening towards populism” to want the rule of law, fair trade, and less swampy government.

But in line with the author’s definition of it as the organ of Bush Compassionate Conservatism and ADHD foreign policy, The Weekly Standard ran against genuine conservatism, which desires less government and less foreign adventurism.

It is my hope that the election of Trump over the “usual suspects” and the demise of this neocon mouthpiece signals a serious shift away from “Team America, World Police.” It didn’t work out well in Afghanistan, the idea of democracy didn’t fit the reality of Iraq, there was no good side to pick in Syria, Yemen has been a cesspool since the Brits left…… And then there were the Clinton-Obama adventures like destabilizing Egypt and Libya. Hard to tell a liberal war hawk from a Republican war hawk, isn’t it.

Foreign policy free of “entangling alliances,” The ability to project power and preserve freedom of navigation worldwide, along with a reputation for swift and final retribution for any attacks upon America or Americans will ensure that nobody messes with us.
A modest nuke on the presumed hiding place of Bin Laden right after 9/11, along with a MOAB dropped on Taliban HQ for failing to hand him over, would have made the point and would have caused less destruction and loss of life than the 18 year war.

And stop the damned foreign aid already! It’s one thing to be the biggest and fastest to deliver succor after a natural disaster, but sending unlimited money to corrupt governments does not improve the lives of their subjects.

See, I’m an old fashioned defense hawk – be prepared, and strike hard if wronged, not a neocon adventurist. Somehow, I think the braggadocios Trump is much closer to the Founders’ distaste for “entangling alliances” than the Neocon Establishment, which is why the Military-Industrial Complex hates him.

I won’t miss a bunch of Trump-hating war hawks – will you?