I have written previously that the current mainstream of modern American conservatism lies with the religious, anti-science, fanatically pro-Bush folks. More evidence of that is provided by a recent spat between the National Review‘s Ramesh Ponnuru and Time‘s Andrew Sullivan. Writing at NR’s blog, Ponnuru said:
Since another panelist had quoted one of [Sullivan's] sermons as evidence of intra-conservative strife, I also observed that I know no serious conservative who considers him a conservative. I am prepared to believe that there are a few misguided conservatives, unbeknownst to me, who do consider him a fellow conservative. But even if that’s true, it would not change the fundamental accuracy of my statement that Sullivan’s pronouncements are not good evidence of intra-conservative strife.
Sullivan replied as follows:
I’m for balanced budgets, low taxes, cuts in entitlements, welfare reform, more military manpower, privately run healthcare, free speech, religious liberty, a stronger commitment to Iraq, and gun rights. I’m against affirmative action, federally-funded abortion and embryonic stem-cell research, protectionism, hate crime laws, the Medicare prescription drug program, pork barrel spending, torture, an untrammeled executive, and censoring anyone anywhere to appease Islamist extremists. And, according to Ponnuru, no “serious” conservative regards me as a conservative any more. What does that tell you?
Why do no serious conservatives regard Sullivan as a fellow traveller? Because he has been very critical of the Bush administration’s handling of the war in Iraq and has consistently opposed the attempts by religious extremists to turn this country into a theocracy. But sadly, pandering to religious conservatives and expressing fanatical loyalty to Bush represent the sum total of Republican politics these days.
I frequently disagree with Sullivan, but I usually find him thoughtful and interesting. It’s unsurprising that people like him are no longer welcome on the American political Right.