The executive director of The American Conservative magazine, John A. Burtka IV explains in The Washington Post that “In the long run, both the conservative movement and Republican Party will be better off for having had Donald Trump shatter the combination of neo-conservatism and Reaganism that held the political right captive and blinded since the end of the Cold War.” Burtka, a friend of mine and a graduate of Hillsdale College, urges Republicans to adopt a Main Street focus, remembering what solidarity and culture mean to American values. He writes (abridged):
Just last week, a group of prominent intellectuals and political figures including Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Bill Kristol and David Frum gathered for a conference at Washington’s Niskanen Center
The underlying assumption of the conference: It’s time for moderate conservatives to regroup and reconsider their relationship to a Republican Party that has been overrun by populists, nationalists and demagogues.
As someone who runs an organization founded at the time of the Iraq War with the aim of changing the direction of American conservatism, I can sympathize with their efforts, but I fundamentally disagree on their diagnosis of the problem.
In the long run, both the conservative movement and Republican Party will be better off for having had Donald Trump shatter the combination of neo-conservatism and Reaganism that held the political right captive and blinded since the end of the Cold War.
Ronald Reagan was the statesman that America needed for his time, but the clock had run out on many of his policy prescriptions and it took a “hurricane,” as the Niskanen Center conference described it, like Trump to wake up conservatism — and America.
It’s time for Republicans to embrace a “Main Street” conservatism that prizes solidarity over individualism and culture over efficiency.
America needs a foreign policy that serves our vital national interests by securing the safety and happiness of the American people.
This means putting an end to the regime-change and nation-building experiments that have devastated Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya; ending U.S. support for the Saudis’ involvement in the Yemeni civil war; reclaiming our national sovereignty; and prioritizing diplomacy over intervention.
On domestic issues, especially when our country is bitterly divided along partisan lines, we must decentralize both political and economic power to bring it closer to the people. This would allow local and state governments greater flexibility to address their unique problems, letting California be California and Texas be Texas.
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