For weeks after the 2008 election, Republicans argued about what they should believe in, what they do believe in, or what they could agree to believe in for the sake of getting elected again. President Obama has made it easy — conservatives believe in Not Obama.
And that encompasses quite a lot.
In foreign and national security policy, they believe in not equivocating between a despotic regime and citizens peacefully rallying to protest a rigged election and repudiate a repressive regime. They believe in not lying about the history and the relative moral claims of the Israelis and Palestinians. They believe in not lauding “engagement“ with despots as an end unto itself, without regard for how that engagement bestows legitimacy on venal regimes. They believe in not leaving out human rights from the foreign policy agenda because it might give offense. They believe in not sitting through anti-American rants and making light of it afterwards. They believe in not apologizing for dropping the atomic bomb on Japan.
They believe in not curtailing missile defense at a time when rogue states are acquiring their own nuclear arsenals. They believe in not forcing the Defense Department to make “hard choices” while domestic spending goes through the roof. They believe in not moving terrorists out of a safe and secure facility for the sake of making Europeans (who won’t take the terrorists into their countries) think better of us. They believe in not punishing officials of prior administrations for protecting us from terror attacks.
In domestic policy, they believe in not passing a $1 trillion stimulus plan (including interest) only to later fess up that the promised employment is never going to materialize. They believe in not passing an omnibus spending bill with 9,000 earmarks and calling it “old business.” They believe in not taking away the secret ballot from workers and not imposing labor contracts through government arbitrators. They believe in not micromanaging the economy by controlling the emissions of thousands of businesses and not raising $800B in taxes in the name of controlling greenhouse gases, which China and India refuse to limit. They believe in not instituting a “public option” for health care. They believe in not rationing health care. They believe in not spending over a trillion dollars so healthcare can be delivered as poorly as the U.S. mail. They believe in not taking over failing car companies. They believe in not racking up trillions and trillions in debt. They believe in not vilifying business and the investor class which create wealth and jobs.