The Other Neo Conservatives

Jonah Goldberg has an excellent piece on "neo conservatives." There is one group of neo conservatives he does not discuss, the southern white voter. Most liberals tie this shift to policies on race, but they are way off the mark. The shift occurred after civil rights battles had been won. It did begin at the time the Democrats went off the deep end on Vietnam. The beginning of the decline of the Democratic Party in the South was tied to their disasterous handling of the war in Vietnam and their general weakness on national security issues. That is the issue that defeated George McGovern, not civil rights. If southerns voted for Nixon because of civil rights, they had to be disappointed, since he started affirative action programs and relentlessly pushed busing.

The 1974 class of Democrats that won in the wake of the Watergate scandel help to cement the Democrats' weakness on national security issues, by cutting off military support to the South Vietnamese and refusing to come to their aid when the North Vietnames used a massive invasion to overwhelm the US's former ally. Jimmy Carter was the final straw, not because of civil rights, but because of his weak foreign policy that saw the fall of the Shah in Iran and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, which was responded to with a show of force by not participating in the Moscow Olympics.

By the time Reagan swept the south, the old "New Deal" Democrats of the south made the same switch the "neo conservative" Jews did. They left the Democrats for the same reason--weakness on national security issues. Their support for Reagan was not just on national security. They also supported his tax cuts like the ones they supported when Kennedy was president. There were social issues that also impacted the switch, but the defining issue was national seucrity,

It still is. Southerns are not interested in turning back from civil rights. They will support George Bush because of his national security policy. Democrat attempts to claim Bush is weak on the war on terror just are not credible. For a party that is trying to restore credibility on national defense, the Democrats need to start with a credible argument. One reason it is obviously not credible, is the ridiculous assertion that the "battle of Iraq" as Bush calls it, was a distraction. They act like it was an ADHD moment that prevented focus on al Qaeda. I suppose in World War II Germany was a distraction from the war with Japan, the country that had attacked the US. The Democrats will not gain credibility on national defense by suggesting that this country is not capable of fighting more than one battle at a time.

Korea is another example of the Democrats lack of credibility. Before the "battle of Iraq" the Dems insisted that Korea was more dangerous and should be the focus of policy. Since the successful completion of the campaign in Iraq, where are the Dems when it comes to North Korea. At best, they argue for paying more extortion to a regime whose word is no good. But, they are mostly quiet.

Just what is the Democrats plan for focus on al Qaeda? What would they do with more troops in Afghanistan or Pakistan? On the Homeland defense front, they just want to spend money on their constituence groups and call it Homeland Security. In a real war there is little patience for such nonsense.


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